CIO & Head of Digital & Operation
A chief information officer (CIO) is the company executive responsible for the management, implementation, and usability of information and computer technologies. Because technology is increasing and reshaping industries globally, the role of the CIO has increased in popularity and importance. Technology is the glue that connects programs and people, and helps information flow in the public sector, making it an essential component of everyday public sector operations. That puts the CIO in a unique position to take on the important job of integrating decision-makers and stakeholders. CIO Insider engages an exclusive chat with Anubhav Rajput, who over the years has been an exemplary technology leader, manifesting excellent team grooming & management and execution skills.
In conversation with Anubhav Rajput, CIO & Head of Digital and Operations, Cholamandalam MS General Insurance
The role of a CIO has changed in multifarious ways over the last decade. As a CIO with a great wealth of experience over the past two decades, what inspired you to onboard this journey in the financial services domain?
In any sector today without a technology underlined force or empowerment, the survival of the business is jeopardy. Technology has become a direct topic out of the board room among the entire stakeholder ecosystem. Now the organizations have realized that the IT world is significantly beyond internal automation and the complete growth comes from integration and partnership. The entire distribution model is related to an
ecosystem and to establish that ecosystem in technology, you need a very simple mechanism called the API.
For several years I have been keen on the financial sector and my interest lies in the interplay of technology and financial services. Right from the college days, I was amazed at how banking was evolving on certain maturing markets and then to see the amount of excellence that happened in the last 10 years. The entire excellence has happened due to the massive advancement in the banking & financial sector and the telecom sector. I have been very bullish on financial services and telecom, these two have been my passion for a long time.
Now the organizations have realized that the IT world is significantly beyond internal automation and the complete growth comes from integration and partnership
Firstly, insurance for a very long time was largely classified by all customers in the traditional category products. The customer would rather attach a significant emotional buying concept when trying to buy insurance. Buying insurance was not a very passionate purchase that a customer would do, but what COVID has brought is a feeling of protection to be forefront, it has brought a pure-play concept of insurance. Risk protection has been at the forefront in the mind of the customers. We have done consumer research which validates that the customers are asking the insurance to work at the moment of truth when needed, in a scenario when they need to claim the insurance and should work in a very comfortable manner. The whole transaction experience of buying, service, and claiming should be very comfortable and frictionless. Also, due to the COVID the buying pattern, mode of payment, and the claims experience have
changed which is long term. The positive change makes the insurance industry much more transparent and customer friendly.
In your journey over the past two decades as a technology leader, what are the milestones that bestowed you utmost satisfaction?
Going from the latest to the oldest side, in an organization like Chola, which has been very traditional in its way of working, I remember interacting with the management team and the board members trying to pitch the ideas which were extremely forward-looking from a technology perspective. Getting the confidence, and support from them to go forward to execute those ideas have been a very exhilarating experience for me. Taking everyone along while embarking on the journey and building some of the milestones is the most thrilling experience. About six years back when people were not very comfortable with the cloud, I took the entire front-end customer facing application from lead to the core to sale to service, completely on a cloud based platform. It happened seamlessly as per the plan without any glitches. These are the experiences that give me utmost satisfaction and thrive as a professional leader.
In the light of your strong experience, what advice would you give to the budding CIOs?
I have a couple of suggestion to all my budding technology heads and leaders to never take an initiative without a business champion; I always say that it is okay to fail sometimes especially in today's world of digital transformation. You can’t be doing 10 initiatives and be successful in all of them. There will be one or two where you will not meet the result. If you recognize that it is not giving the result as per your expectation, you should not keep on wasting the time and resources of the organization; rather than burning resources, you should look for something else. Also, there is no option but to be well aware of the technology advancement happening around you, so that you are the only stakeholder who has the best ability to assist the technological innovation and understand what will apply to your business and bring back that knowledge to your business stakeholder.