[CIO Interview] Mr. Ashwini Yadav, SVP and Head — IT at Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd.

Note: This interview is re-produced from Dell CIO Club — Supported by CIO Association of India. Dell CIO Club retains the rights on this exclusive content. For more information write to: amarinder@cioindia.org

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Q1. What are the unique aspects of being a CIO in the BFSI space?
Post elections, with economy opening up it has been exciting to work in the BFSI domain. As direct monetary transactions are involved Information Security is of paramount importance. The workforce is turning younger & savvier, the end customer is well informed & demanding, the regulators are becoming more vigilant — to bring all of them on the same platform and achieve the business objective is very challenging. The competition is tough; a new product is ‘new’ only for a few days, before someone launches a similar or a better product. The timing of marketing of an idea is most important. Mobile apps & new website designs have raised the bar on UI/UX; the product with a better appealing UI/UX wins. Getting the right combination of functionality, UI/UX, and speed to market is the key. Mining transactional data for meaningful business insights to gain more business is important too. Public Cloud has made a big impact on the non-BFSI businesses but regulators are also not very forthcoming on this for us. Thus how to gain the advantage from cloud yet stay within the regulatory framework needs evaluation. Digital transformation is disrupting the businesses. The challenge is to keep the current business model running and find newer ways of generating more business cost effectively at the same time. Leading large development teams on both these sides to achieve the objectives is crucial to our success. Well, it’s not as grim as it sounds; what’s a job without challenges?

Q2. How can a CIO influence C-Suite on a strategic IT initiative?
What essentially matters to the C-Suite is — “how is it going to benefit the end customer and the business”? If its value is proven both in tangible and intangible terms, consider job done. Explaining technology in simple terms and showing the big picture with the pros and cons clearly highlighted helps the process. A crisp presentation explaining the business value and speaking the business language instead of a technologist really works. Thorough homework and the ability to answer difficult questions serves well.

Q3. How do you apply the core principles of Six Sigma in a CIO’s office?
Six Sigma as applicable to technology can be interpreted as ‘getting it right the first time’, right from the time a business requirement is given to development, testing, and the final roll out. If the end objective is clear, then the final product is right the first time. The method which you adopt to achieve this varies from project to project, and from organization to organization. A core application where stability is more important will follow the classical release management cycle methodology, while a website or a mobile application is more likely to follow an agile method of development. Irrespective of the product development methodology, it is imperative that the requirements are clear and all stakeholders involved are equally geared up towards the end objective of ‘getting it right the first time’.

Q4. Who among sports personalities has inspired you the most?
It has to be Jonty Rhodes. He represented his country in multiple sports viz. cricket, hockey and rugby. Considering his childhood and the medical condition he has (http://www.joymag.co.za/article.php?id=149) it is quite commendable what he did. His picture of running out Inzamam-ul-Haq, diving full length to break the stumps in the 1992 cricket world cup is still etched in my memory. His sheer brilliance in the field gave fielders some credibility in an otherwise batsman dominated game. With him, fielders could win matches too. For sheer tenacity, determination to overcome odds, an ever-smiling attitude, he is the one to look up to.

Q5. How has been your experience with Dell?
Dell has been a partner of choice of end-user computing for a while now. We get great support and there is a continuous exchange of thoughts on products and services that Dell has to offer.