Group Chief Information Officer (GCIO)
Sanjay Kotha, as a Group Chief Information Officer (GCIO) for Adani Group, has been driving strategies to bulk up digital capabilities and undertakes technology initiatives to drive growth across the conglomerate that has businesses in resources, logistics, energy, agro, real estate, financial services, defense, and aerospace sectors. In a career spanning over 24 years, Sanjay has held multiple IT leadership positions and has been an integral part of the growth stories for companies like Spice Telecom, Thomas Cook, Bharti Airtel, Bharti Retail, Walmart India and Bharti Airtel Africa. In a rendezvous with the CIO Insider team, Sanjay elucidates his experience and the measures he implemented to streamline Adani’s overall growth.
Organization: Adani Group
More product-oriented responsibility and keeping a close relationship with customers can be a part of some challenges faced by the CIO of the organization. Tell us about the challenges faced in the organization which helped you enhance your decision making.
In today’s day & age, customer expectation has been completely reshaped by digital businesses like Netflix, Uber & Amazons of the world. Organizations operating in B2C or B2B2C segments often feel the pressure of stepping up their game to match these global tech giants. I often find myself having to assume a more
strategic role and participate in joint decision making with CXOs to define programs for customer relationship management, workforce management, business growth, strategic supplier management, and so on.
During your tenure in Adani Group, how have you uplifted and reinforced the service and productivity in the organization?
One of my goals has been to build a ‘single version of the truth’ of IT assets and improve our security posture along with the faster resolution of IT incidents. By automating IT assets discovery, monitoring and performing preventive maintenance, we have been able to move up the value curve in terms of IT service delivery.
I have invested a lot of my personal time to inculcate the discipline of documentation within my team and create a more sustainable IT operating model
Due to the large number and challenging nature of CIO roles and responsibilities such as the provision of finance, recruitment of professionals and development of policy and strategy, the risk of errors or failures is also consequently high. What are the measures taken to control the risks?
I am a believer in automation, which can be simple user-id creation or complex provisioning of a new server in the cloud. Automation can help us avoid a
number of problems, including a reduction in system outages through preventive monitoring or self-healing solutions or quicker cyber-threat management and eliminating human errors from routine business tasks. In our organization, we have already invested in building automation around monitoring, real-time performance tracking of key assets, robotic process automation and more. I have invested a lot of my personal time to inculcate the discipline of documentation within my team and create a more sustainable IT operating model.
How have you seen the company grow and what future do you perceive for the organization and how are you prepared for the same?
During my tenure in the Adani Group, I have seen organic growth, international expansions, and diversification into newer businesses. There is a growing demand for digital dexterity to exploit existing & emerging technology skills like cloud, mobility, RPA, IoT, along with more agile IT delivery models for both development and operations. I have driven the creation of standard guidelines and SOPs, which will be essential to support our hybrid IT ecosystem containing a mix of solutions from both nimble startups and mega ISVs, the mix of cloud-native and on-premise applications, point-solutions and horizontal technology platforms. While I personally invest in keeping myself updated about emerging IT trends, I encourage my team to spend time acquiring relevant technical skills and right behavioral competencies. Also, I along with a consulting partner have designed a customized training plan for skill up-gradation.
Given your 24 years of experience in the IT Industry, what advice or opinion would you like to give to the employees in the industry to help them better drive their firm?
I think IT is now an integral part of business transformation, where it creates new market leaders by dislodging incumbents who are not focused on identifying technological disruptions. As such the only advice I would like to give to my industry colleagues is to “Learn – Unlearn - Relearn” rapidly to stay relevant.