CIO learning: How Bajaj Allianz successfully moved core policy admin system to public cloud
Sourabh Chatterjee, President and Head – IT, Web Sales, Travel, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance shares a story of him rallying the support of key stakeholders for a large program which involved moving the core policy admin system from a legacy on-premise platform to the public cloud and his learnings along the way
As businesses across the board are getting heavily digitalised and digitized, the month of March is crucial for CIOs to provide BAU support for the month end and year end. In addition, they need to demonstrate that the returns on IT spend are directly attributable to the efforts and resources allocated for digitisation through the financial year.Success will be determined based on their review with top management where they prove the ROI of technology projects and share/get approvalfor their plans for the next FY. This is also the time when CIOs conduct performance evaluation of their team. This performance evaluation is often not a one-off affair, but a continuous monitoring, guiding and evaluating through the entire year.
In an exclusive conversation with EC, Sourabh Chatterjee, President and Head – IT, Web Sales, Travel, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance reflected on the essentials of doing successful reviews.
For performance reviews of his team, Sourabh follows the Management By Objectives method (MBO), wherein the objectives are set and reviewed periodically. Considered one of the best performance evaluation methods, a monthly follow up is done to check on the hits and misses of the goals set and the delivery done.
The KPIs are reviewed for programs, projects and activities on the critical path. “I ask the team members about roadblocks that are stalling the progress of the projects and where I can intervene to sort out the issue,” says Sourabh. He asks where his individual contribution is required – whether it’s a technical issue, requirement of management or stakeholder support, etc. He trusts his team completely with the delivery of the project and doesn’t believe in wasting time by either micromanaging or discussing about reasons behind non-completion of a task.His approach is straight forward and practical – forget what happened. Let’s ensure this gets done now and learn from delays, mistakes, if any.
Inspired by the book –“Atomic Habits”by James Clear- An easy and proven way to build good habits and break bad ones, Sourabh encourages employees to develop their own atomic habits and work on making small productive changes to their routine tasks every day. For e.g. an email response should progressively take lesser time every day and if its routine, it either should not come to you as it’s a waste of your time or you are not thinking of how to eliminate the root cause for eliminating the origination of that email itself.
The mechanism set has thus far worked well for him. Teams have stepped up to deliver on Business as Usual and Transformation programs at the same time. On top of it, attrition has been extremely low. Clarity on handling of the performance management is such that there is no disagreement or surprise for the team members. It is based on the KPI matching done regularly and every employee knows where they stand at the end of each year.
A prime example of the successful leadership strategy for Sourabh has been the journey of re-platforming of the company’s core policy administration system to the public cloud. “Taking the core policy admin to the public cloud with multiple new ecosystem partners was a massive leap of faith for us and for that matter will be for any organisation”, opines Sourabh.
While there are many tracks being run for this programme, there is one very interesting and critical track called organization change management, communication and training. It’s a critical track as it involves communicating in a subtle manner, the transformative potential of the project to cross functional teams and convince them about the need to make the necessary changes, which will be of a permanent nature. Thus, Sourabh and his team, with the approval from the CEO, decided to appoint a senior person from the CEO’s Project Management Office (PMO), who could directly report to a neutral program manager for the program and address the various facets of inter departmental communication. “The idea of appointing the person from the CEO’s office was from one of Sourabh’s colleagues and it worked beautifully,” concludes Sourabh. This decision was the key to rolling out the first product on the platform in a smooth way. While this is a good start, we have miles to go on this program. But the learning is simple, “No matter how good the IT implementation is, it will not gain acceptance unless there is adoption and acceptance by the end users, and they need to be made aware, trained, incentivised and feedback sought for active participation,”
The core policy admin move and the public cloud adoption impacted the entire organization in a massive way and it worked due to continuous dialogue and feedback with employees across the organization, “The journey is not done yet and there are still miles to go, but we feel confident of our ability to deliver together as team …..” said Sourabh.
The complex journey was made successful due to the rigorous monthly reviews at the highest level in the organization and resolving issues and conflicts in an open and transparent way. “Rather than having reviews every quarter and leaving the progress of the feedback received to the next quarter, I feel rigorous and regular weekly, monthly reviews and a defined governance model keep you focused.”
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