Align the IT Environment with Company's Business Model

By TilakSengupta, CIO, Carrier Midea India Pvt. Ltd.

TilakSengupta, CIO, Carrier Midea India Pvt. Ltd.

Carrier Midea India is a joint venture set up between Carrier and Midea in 2012. Carrier is the world leader in high technology HVACR solutions with operations in more than 170 countries and Midea is a multi-billion dollar home appliance and AC conglomerate with presence in more than 190 countries.

With the rapid changes in technology over the last two decades, expectations from a Corporate IT function are high. A reasonably savvy IT user expects work IT environment to be just like what is available outside office at a fairly low cost or absolutely free. Some explicit key requirements are 'intuitive & easy-to-use', 'mobility & work anywhere', 'connect to anyone & anything' and 'service & capacity on demand'. Also, there are some implicit demands that are often taken for granted - for example, ability to access and analyze Big Data (think eBay, which has a 40PB data warehouse and Hadoop clusters that power search, recommendations, and merchandising), and a secure environment where personal and financial data is safe.

A Corporate IT environment has to be aligned to the company's business model and priorities, and with Corporate Security guidelines. Security often means that the company may not use 'public' services or software or store data outside the Corporate WAN.

Even with these restrictions, we have aligned our corporate IT environment with some of the latest IT trends. Just to set the context, I work for a consumer durables company that is focused on providing the best products and services to our customers. Our focus is to offer value for money, advanced technology and best in class service experience to our consumers.

So, how do we translate the above context to IT initiatives, while aligning with cutting-edge IT trends, in a short while, and within the cost model of a new organization? We prioritized the implementation of transaction-processing, service, and quality management applications. While doing that, we focused on how to make these available to employees and business partners, wherever they may be located. Most of our employees use laptops and mobile devices, and we have leveraged excellent ISPs and mobile data networks. Our field staff therefore has access to applications and data from almost anywhere. Applications that are mostly used by business partners are hosted outside our network, thereby reducing risks and costs of a large number of external accesses into our corporate network.We have outsourced services wherever possible to provide scalability at short notice. We have started Social Media marketing.

Some priorities and next steps for us at this point are enabling collaboration and ease-of-doing-business for our customers and partners, analytics, supply chain, and mobile technology devices and applications. Let me emphasize once again that a corporate IT environment is very specific to every company, and you will need to choose the 'right' areas to focus on for an optimum user experience. Good luck!

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