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Identifying a sustainable business case aligned with organisational objectives is crucial for new technology implementation: Milind Khamkar, Group CIO, Supermax

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In this exclusive interview with Milind Khamkar, Group CIO of Supermax, Express Computer explores the strategic incorporation of AI into organisational IT roadmaps. The discussion delves into the challenges and priorities associated with this integration, providing insights into navigating the evolving landscape of AI adoption and cybersecurity in contemporary business environments from an industry expert.

Milind Khamkar

Khamkar underscores the undeniable influence of AI, emphasising the critical importance of quality data governance and stakeholder engagement in AI initiatives’ success. Additionally, the conversation touches upon the traction for GenAI within the manufacturing and consumer packaged goods (CPG) sectors, highlighting AI’s transformative potential in driving innovation and growth. Furthermore, the discussion extends to cybersecurity measures, stressing the imperative of continuous vigilance and employee education to safeguard IT systems and sensitive data.

Here are the edited excerpts:

How do you plan to integrate AI strategically into the organisation’s IT roadmap, and what challenges do you foresee in this implementation?

AI has emerged as one of the most coveted and talked-about technologies in recent times. Its pervasive influence is undeniable, as no business or organisation can afford to overlook its acquisition and impact. With its widespread adoption and integration into various aspects of daily life and work, the pressure on enterprises to embrace AI continues to mount steadily. However, the crux of AI lies in the abundance of quality data and sophisticated algorithms.

Therefore, my primary focus would be on establishing robust data governance practices. Concurrently, leveraging existing AI frameworks across the organisation, particularly for content management and facilitating external inquiries, will be prioritised. One of the major hurdles in implementing any new technology is the identification of a sustainable business case aligned with organisational objectives.

Additionally, garnering support from all stakeholders and effectively managing the ensuing changes will be paramount to the success of our AI initiatives.

How do you see the traction for GenAI in the industry? Is your company leveraging it?

A significant momentum for AI adoption within the manufacturing and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries has been observed in recent times, both of which I represent. The nuanced demands of the CPG consumer necessitate frequent product replacements or replenishments, driving a perpetual need for innovation to attract and retain consumers.

Whether through the introduction of new products, modifications to existing ones, or innovative packaging solutions, maintaining a continuous stream of novelty poses a challenge where human intelligence alone may reach its limits. This is where AI steps in, offering unparalleled capabilities to drive creativity and efficiency in such endeavors.

I firmly believe that to propel India into the ranks of the world’s top economies, heightened attention to the manufacturing sector is imperative. The current decade is poised to be a manufacturing renaissance for India, where the convergence of information, operational, and digital technologies presents abundant opportunities. By embracing AI, the manufacturing industry stands to experience transformative leaps forward, unlocking immense potential for growth and innovation.

With the increasing importance of cybersecurity, what measures are you taking to ensure the security and integrity of IT systems and sensitive data?

Cybersecurity must always be ingrained in the fabric of any new technology adoption. While emerging technologies offer tremendous business benefits, their misuse can pose significant threats. Therefore, we must exercise extreme caution and maintain perpetual vigilance regarding cybersecurity. It’s an ongoing process that can never be deemed complete. Initiating with the acquisition of robust cybersecurity technologies is crucial, followed by continuous monitoring and timely updates.

In addition to technical measures, fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness is essential. Continuous education remains paramount to ensure that every employee, regardless of their role, is well-versed in cybersecurity best practices. After all, the first line of defense against security breaches is our workforce. Training programs, workshops, and simulated phishing exercises can significantly enhance employee readiness to detect and respond to potential threats.

Moreover, recent laws and regulations extend cybersecurity responsibilities beyond the purview of IT alone, emphasising the collective responsibility of all stakeholders within an organisation. This underscores the importance of collaboration between IT, legal, compliance, and other relevant departments to ensure comprehensive cybersecurity governance.

Furthermore, proactive threat intelligence gathering and sharing within industry networks can strengthen defenses against evolving cyber threats. Collaborating with peers, industry associations, and cybersecurity experts can provide valuable insights and strategies to stay ahead of potential risks.

Lastly, implementing robust incident response plans and conducting regular drills to simulate cyberattack scenarios is critical. These measures help organisations to effectively mitigate the impact of security incidents and minimise downtime.

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