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Inside India’s best CIO Conference: 13th Express Technology Senate

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From panel discussions to technology presentations, from expo to awards―the 13th Express Technology Senate had it all. The event, presented by Vodafone, attracted over 100 dynamic CIOs, technology analysts, and representatives from leading technology companies to Jaipur’s luxurious Fairmont Hotel.

The keynote address was delivered by Romi Mahajan, noted author, marketer, investor and board member for multiple start-ups. Speaking on the subject of “The Responsible Executive: CIOs in the Digital Transformation Age,” Romi said, “The CIO is the most important executive in the company because technology and business have converged.”

The inaugural power packed panel discussion on “Driving Digital Transformation in the Enterprise―Evolving the IT Department” was moderated by Sunil Chandiramani, CEO, Nyka Advisory Services. The panelists were: Suneel Aradhye, Group CIO, RPG Enterprises; Vinay Nigudkar, Head – Technology Projects, Reliance Capital Ltd; Harnath Babu, CIO, Aviva Life Insurance Company India Ltd, and Satish Mittal, Senior Vice-President & CTO, Vodafone Business Services. This brainstorming session highlighted the issues and challenges that businesses face while driving digital transformation.

Romi Mahajan moderated the panel discussion on “Reinvention of the Consumer Experience”. The panelists were: Goutam Datta, Vice President-Technology, ICICI Lombard GIC Ltd; Manish Godha, CEO, Founder, Advaiya Solutions, and Parna Ghosh, Head ICT – India, Far East & Japan, CNH Industrial Group. The idea that every business must focus on improving the consumer experience came to the fore during the discussion. The panel discussions were interspersed with interesting technology presentations, which touched upon the new technology solutions developed by various companies for meeting the needs of different businesses.

In the evening, a three-hour tour of Jaipur was organised. CIOs and other guests availed this opportunity to visit famous landmarks in the city. The much-awaited Express Uptime Champion Awards 2015 function was held in the evening. The objective of the awards is to recognise companies for having the best network uptime records for the year. The session began with Jyotindra Thacker of Reliance Jio receiving the Technology Senator of the Year award from Anant Goenka, Wholetime Director and Head-New Media, The Indian Express Group.

During their on-stage conversation, Goenka asked Thacker to advise the CIOs in the audience on what they must do to ensure faster technology implementation in their organisation. Thacker said, “The CIOs have to keep the management out of all the technology decisions. If you want to execute a technology project on time, take complete charge of the project and implement it on your own.” He added, “Generally the CIOs working in different organisations lack the freedom to implement their technology ideas, but Mukesh Ambani has given me full independence for researching new technologies and having them quickly implemented.”

The Express Uptime Champion Awards 2015, sponsored by Amaron Quanta, were given under four categories ― BFSI; Manufacturing; Media & Entertainment; Travel & Hospitality; Retail. The award ceremony was invigorated by the live performance of folk dancers of Rajasthan.

The second day of Express Technology Senate began on a high note with the Founder and CEO of ESDS announcing the filing of patent in United States of ESDS’ proprietary cloud storage technology, which is known as Auto-Scalable eNlight Cloud Hosting Platform. A presentation from Subramanian N, Technical Director, Risk Consulting, KPMG India followed, on the topic of Risks Associated with IoT. Subramanian stated that while it is imperative for businesses to make endeavours for taking advantage of IoT, the security concerns must not be ignored.

Speaking further on the subject of IoT, Suphal Mehrotra, SVP, National Corporate, Vodafone Business Services said IoT is already being deployed for greater efficiency and productivity. He said the sheeps and cows in New Zealand are embedded with Vodafone SIMs that enable farmers to efficiently track and manage their livestock.

The panel discussion on “The Cloud as a Building Block of the Digital Transformation” was moderated by Kunal Pande, Partner, KPMG, India. It was attended by Anjani Kumar, CIO, Safexpress Pvt Ltd; Satish Pendse, President, Highbar Technologies Ltd; Ravikiran Mankikar, Chief General Manager, Shyamrao Vitthal Co-operative Bank; Bhushan Akerkar, CIO, Hindalco Industries Ltd, and Piyush Somani, MD and CEO, ESDS Software Solutions Pvt Ltd. The panelists touched upon many areas of concern in cloud deployment. They discussed how flexibility and scalability could be achieved in the cloud without compromising on security.

Lt Gen Arun Kumar Sahni, Chief of the Indian Army’s South Western Command inaugurated the cyber security track of the event. He gave a detailed view on the ways by which new information technology systems are getting implemented by the Indian Army and other armed forces. His presentation was met with a standing ovation.

The last power panel discussion of the day was on “Security in a Digital Enterprise – Inspiring Digital Innovation in the Organisation”. The session was moderated by Vishal Salvi, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt Ltd. The panelists were Samir Dhaga, Vice-President (IT) and CIO, Videocon d2h; Manish Pal, Deputy Vice-President, Information Security Group, HDFC Bank; Prashant Maldikar, Head- IT Security, IndusInd Bank, and Navin Mehra, Regional Business Head, West, Central & East India, Bangladesh & Bhutan, Fortinet.

A ceremony for the distribution of Express Security Strategist Awards 2015 was held in the evening, which was sponsored by Fortinet, besides the Express Intelligent Enterprise Awards 2015, which was sponsored by Datamatics Global Services Ltd.

Indeed, the CIOs have been talking about being a true partner to the business for many years, but only a few have broken out of their comfort zones to actually become one. Keeping this in mind, the third day provided tips to the CIOs for mastering changes, challenges and expectations that they might face in their line of work. The first session of the day was a conversation between Satish Pendse, President – Highbar Technologies Limited and Dr Raghu Pillai of The Indian Express Group. The second session of the day was a presentation by Mukund Prasad, former director and Group CIO of the Welspun Group. Mukund Prasad shared interesting insights on how the CIOs can emerge as business leaders.

 

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