CIOs Steering Their Enterprises Through The Storm

CIO Vendor The past two years have been extremely arduous for businesses across the world. This has put a strain on CIOs who have been working with limited resources and time to meet business objectives. To felicitate the CIOs who have managed to steer their respective enterprises through the storm, CIO Information and Technology Awards 2021 was organized by CIO Connect in collaboration with Avaya, an industry leader in Cloud Communications and Workstream Collaboration & Productivity Solutions. It was a unique opportunity to recognize and reward the thought leaders so that their stories could inspire the next generation of IT leaders. "We understand the challenges of unpredictable work from any culture which is gradually developing over the last few years. It has been our relentless endeavor to collaborate with industry leaders in IT across the world, and help their team drive innovation, irrespective of industry vertical," said Vaibhav Kshatriya, Vice-President - Channel Services, Avaya India & SAARC.

The jury members for the award consisted of prominent industry experts including Rahul Singh, VP & Head Marketing at SAP India, Kuntal Shah, Director - Sales Engineering at Avaya India & SAARC, Chander Khanduja, CIO at Luminous Technologies, Jaydeep Khanduja, Editor-in-Chief at CIO Connect, and Sudhakar Singh, Editor at CIOReviewIndia.

Stephen Dantas, COO at Carrier Direct (US) was the keynote speaker who shared his thoughts on the future business scenario and the role of the CIOs in it. He said that digital transformation is not a buzzword now as everyone is adopting technology in some or the other way. With this, the roles and responsibilities of CIOs and technology leaders are rapidly changing as technology and business continue to intertwine. He further said that as a visionary, one must possess a strategic mindset, strong relationship-building skills and be responsible for the strategic decisions of organizations across departments.

Here is the list of Awards & Recognitions received by the various technology leaders:
Analytics Project of the Year: Siddalingaiah, PhonePe PhonePe is a leading mobile payment company in India in terms of UPI transactions. In the month of Jan 2021, PhonePe processed more than 970 million UPI transactions which summed up to 192 thousand crores. With myriads of payment transactions to process, PhonePe invested in Avaya's state-of-the-art Contact Center which enabled it to operate seamlessly and offer hassle free, better and prompt customer-centric services.

Best Enterprise Tech Project of the Year: KLV Krishna Prasad, General Manager IT GMR Airport Developers LTD.
This award was given for the exceptional project carried out by KLV Krishna Prasad for the Hyderabad International Airport. The airport was using multiple legacy systems which made it difficult to communicate, operate and manage customers' queries. Understanding this, the obsolete systems were replaced with Avaya's state-of-the-art Unified Communication System. This advanced system supported various modes of communication with features which would solve customer's issues instantly.

Best Public Sector Project of the Year: Manoj Kumar Mishra, Secretary Electronics & IT, Odisha Computer Application Center
Manoj Kumar Mishra was felicitated with this award for the 'Mo Sarkar' initiative of Govt. of Odisha. It is a flagship program by which the Government of Odisha takes randomized feedback from all the beneficiaries and citizens to be directly processed centrally in order to achieve robust institutional building. It is an approach towards creating responsive governance by empowering fellow citizens.

Cloud Innovator of the Year: RS Reddy, Global CTO, Startek BPO
RS Reddy was recognized for this award for his excellent work in transitioning 55 percent of employees to work from home culture, leveraging cloud technology including AWS and Azure. This was the needed initiative to ensure continuity of operations and serving clients even during the times of pandemic.

Digital Transformation of the Year: Audhithan T, Assistant Director, Cognizant Technology Solutions Private Limited
As one of the world's leading professional services companies, Cognizant has been utilizing Avaya's Omni- channel Contact Center platform for transforming its business traits for more than a decade now. With a sole goal to transform the customer experience, Audhithan T and his team came with an innovative thought last year on bringing in AI/ML based automations in the company's existing contact center infra. This Conversational IVR was integrated with multiple levels of security, authentication systems of clients' preference, which was a perfect fit for the clients.

Exceptional Customer Experience Award: Ratan Kesh, EVP & Head Retail Operations & Services, Axis Bank
Ratan Kesh was awarded for his courageous steps in bringing technology and people together to deliver best-in-class customer experience. Ratan said that 'Axis Bank Dil Se Open,' meaning, they are always striving towards meeting the customer's expectations to the fullest. The bank has been utilizing cutting edge technology, digitization, and intelligent automation in the form of RPA and AI to deliver instant service across multiple areas of banking.

Mobile Innovator Project of the Year: Anmol Pie, CTO, State Bank of India
Owing to its flexibility, mobile has become a preferred mode for not just regular use but for critical business operations or service offerings as well. Understanding this, Anmol has been instrumental in driving digital adaptation of the mobile application and aiding customers towards better and easier mobile banking experience.

SAARC Emerging Enterprise Award: Sandra De Zoysa, Chief Customer Officer, Dialog Axiata PLC
Dialog Axiata PLC is Sri Lanka's largest telecom service provider and the country's largest mobile network operator with 16.27 million subscribers, accounting to almost 60 percent of the Sri Lankan market. Sandra has been constantly taking steps in accelerating the company's digital transformation journey with Avaya Communication platform.

Security Innovator of the Year: Subramanya C, President & Global CTO, Hinduja Global Solutions
With the onset of the pandemic, complete operations had to shift from office enrollment to work from home. There was an immediate call to adjust to this through integration of technology. However, some of the customers were very skeptical of the security and data privacy and expressed their concerns to various officials. As a Chief Technology Officer,
Subramanya immediately explored the technical possibilities to mitigate the concerns for their end clients by developing robust security solutions to fight off any breach of data security.

Workplace Transformation of the Year: Najmus Sakeb Jamil, Senior Vice-President & Head Technology Infrastructure, BRAC Bank Limited
BRAC Bank Limited is one of the largest banks in Bangladesh providing banking services to entrepreneurs in the Small/Medium Business segment. Even before the pandemic, BRAC emphasized the importance of having a connected and digitized workforce. Considering the health and safety of its workforce as well as the customers, Najmus and his team immediately implemented work-from-anywhere policies. This included collaboration over unified communication, and cloud based meeting platforms.

Innovation of the Year: Raghubir Singh, Assistant Vice-President IT, Relaxo Footwears Ltd.
Raghubir Singh played a pivotal role in developing an innovative project in bringing automated scanning across the company's facilities. Agile methodology was adopted to drive the needed efficiency and productivity. A pilot project was installed at one of the plants and then post successful implementation, it got replicated to the other units and plants that resulted into a big success.

Social Impact of the Year: Anant Rubella, Head Information Technology, Sikkim Manipal University
Anant Rubella has been awarded for a socially-driven project in the Telemedicine field which consists of a cloud/mobile platform, wherein, all the stakeholders - doctors, specialists, HODs, and patients can come together. This is an important approach in bridging the gap, especially between doctors and patients.

Productivity Optimization Project of the Year, Mukesh Mehta, CTO, Batlivala & Karani Securities India Pvt. Ltd.
When the world is moving towards outsourcing its operations, Mukesh tried something which was completely against the current flow. He brought in advanced technologies, which helped to optimize various processes, enhance internal customer experience and bring value to the organization. The decision was made to make the organization a more digital native enterprise that supports innovation and digital disruption, right from business processes/models, and cultural environment.

Business Automation Project of the Year: Raj K Rajpoot, CIO, Shree Baidyanath Ayurveda Bhawan Pvt. Ltd.
Raj K Rajpoot is an experienced Head-IT with a demonstrated history of working in the IT, consumer goods, and Ayurveda industry. Raj has been able to successfully bring sales staff and retailers into a single platform through mobile and web applications. Processes were thoroughly optimized to improve the sales coverage, and supply chain on a basis of factual market scenario.

Smart Devices Project of the Year: Vivek Digumarti, Head IT, Laurus Labs Ltd.
During the times of pandemic, the physical visits by customers to various regulatory agencies were not possible, which created impact on existing business, delayed approval process and hampered future business growth as well. To work on this issue, Vivek and his technically-adept team implemented technologies to develop advanced tools that facilitate compliance and regulators services. By using the tool, the company could also troubleshoot equipment remotely without physical presence, which improved efficiency and productivity with lesser turnaround time.

IT Security Project of the Year: Dr. JS Sodhi, Senior VP & Group CIO, Amity Education Group
Security Operations Centers (SOC) integrated with artificial intelligence was the theme of the project developed by Dr. Joshi. The aim of this project was to build a self learning machine that could make decisions through self-learning. This is completely different from rule based systems which are generally built in organizations. This has also significantly aided the group to mitigate security threats effectively.

Business Value Enhancement Project of the Year: Manish Kishore, Head IT, AMTZ
This project was carried out to democratize technology in healthcare. It enabled healthcare delivery to the places where it was needed the most. In accordance with Airbnb's Open Home Program, Manish and his team developed repositories across India. It is available in more than 100 cities today. AMTZ has created the world's first integrated medical device manufacturing ecosystem and has developed a digital service chain to increase its service reach to common man.

Data Optimization Project of the Year: Anand Sinha, CIO & Director IT, OCS Group India
This initiative taken by Anand was all about creating a new revenue stream and improving visibility and bringing efficiency in business operations by building IoT based tech enabled solutions. This has significantly aided in managing operations and driving productivity at the customer's end.

Asset Management Project of the Year: Anand Agarwal, Head IT, Assets Care & Reconstruction Enterprises
The aim of the project was to move from a paper based to paperless operational approach. NBFCs typically have to collect multiple documents before they are able to disperse loans. There were a lot of constraints which needed to be addressed. As COVID had completely changed the way businesses operate, Anand and his team worked relentlessly to bring in the needed innovation that could ensure seamless business continuity and customer satisfaction.

CIO Connect Jury Choice Award: Sharad Kumar Agarwal CDIO at JK Tyre
Sharad Kumar Agarwal brought to life a machine learning based claims settlement solution for JK Tyre's customers across various segments. It is a combination of applications and technologies to address end customer complaints within minutes using the company's JK Connect application, where a machine learning algorithm helps them identify and root out any issues in a personalized manner, within minutes.