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Interview

Boss is out, leadership and mentorship is in

Nikhil Kumar Nigam, Associate Director Technologies at Amity Education Group talks about the pandemic and its impact on the role of the CIO.

Do you agree that the pandemic may have created the opportunity for alternative managerial and leadership styles, with dispersed and remote teams requiring a different set of skills to get work done? What are the changes that we can expect at the top levels in 2021? Will this impact the position of the CIO in the organisation?

Yes, I do agree, CIOs need to adopt more dynamic and democratic leadership to have their juniors authorise the powers and produce results. This pandemic has taught is to think differently, upgrade ourselves professionally and personally and most importantly made us learn unpredictability of everything. Professionally, personally and socially, where you cannot think what’s going to come next. Leadership is going to be a different ball game, believe that the word Boss is out of the talk now and leadership and mentorship is the need of the new normal. We need to get into the era of emerging technologies like AI, ML, Robotics, Blockchain etc, wherein CIO’s need to come out of fear, accept challenges and deliver by moving on to open architecture, more collaboration and driving operational excellence.

Do you feel that the pandemic has changed the pattern of decision making inside organisations? Is the approach for strategic planning and operational decision making likely to change in 2021? Will there be more emphasis on analytics and forecasting and business models, to manage the impact of external market volatility? Will the CIO’s office be under more pressure to deliver in 2021?

I don’t think CIOs actually need to be under pressure to deliver results, because honestly speaking technology companies and support partners are moving in sync with the current pace. Earlier it was technology adoption but now the best part is everyone is on technology, online, machine and the market is huge for everyone. Let us accept it. CIOs have the opportunity to present the technology to the wider audience and trust me the people have to adapt to the technology and deliver it making it a success. Definitely analytics, deeper insights and a comprehensive dashboard with predictive analysis is the need of the hour to define the roadmap of success.

We all know that the pandemic has accelerated transformation projects and online business models. Going forward into 2021, what are the changes that we can expect in IT decision making and IT spending? Does the CIO need to start preparing for this?

Talking about business models first thing CIOs need to bring in is the Business Continuity Plan and think about strategic planning. Being in cloud, online model looks nice and comfortable but the challenge is being in different time zones and geographies to align with.  It’s time to review previous SLAs, MoUs and agreements and change them with new policies and technologies and where needed might be a reconsideration to be given to new companies, vendors, entrepreneurs who have evolved during this pandemic and can give a new direction to your business and planning strategies to reach new heights.

In your opinion which technology platforms have an exciting future in 2021, based on the current successful business adoption and momentum around cloud computing, artificial intelligence, autonomous, automation, face recognition, drones, image and video archiving? Who would be the new and unknown technology winners in 2021 and where would you lay your bets? 

Talking about technologies, betting on one technology would be unfair as all these emerging technologies are going to play their vital role depending upon the industries, let it be education, defence, manufacturing, hospitality, aviation and so on. The focus will be on having the right skillset deployed at the right time to gain the desired results. Nevertheless, being in an environment wherein you are dealing with people in an open and unknown environment with BYOD concept and cybersecurity is going to lead from the front.

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