IBM Global Financing

The formula for success? Adapt or fail.

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The recent GST (Goods and Services Tax) implementation across India has certainly caused its share of challenges. As I see businesses, large and small, struggle to deal with the teething issues inherent in such a complex transformation, I am reminded of the importance of thinking outside the box.

Looking back at 28 years in the industry, one piece of advice stands out: ‘understand and adapt to playing conditions’. If you know cricket, then you know why adjusting your game to the circumstances is so important. Making decisions on the fly, based on fast-changing facts, is always better than going in with a rigid formula that may not work when faced with an unexpected situation.

Prior to arriving at IBM, I handled finance and accounts for a financial services provider and then a boutique software development and services company. Upon joining IBM, I fully expected to continue working the same way I was in my previous positions.

But the rules had changed. The on-the-ground reality was that my role and scope had evolved – I was no longer simply there to manage the money, reporting or accounting. I was now expected to help drive the business.

Faced with this reality, I literally re-booted myself. I started to look at how the business was operating from a different angle. Once I understood and accepted a different approach, things immediately changed for the better. I was able to contribute to the three fold growth of the business I was supporting. My confidence and capabilities grew as well.

At IBM, we foresaw the challenges that GST implementation would pose for our company as well as our clients. Working with a cross-functional team, we came up with a plan that followed the playbook, but also could change according to shifting circumstances.

We immediately got the best people on board. I personally chaired a weekly review to determine where we were and what the next steps should be. We reached out to the global IBM CIO and support came from around the globe.

A project of this scale to succeed in such a tight timeframe requires a great deal of agility. Out-of-the-box thinking was not just necessary, but fundamental. Problems were addressed before they happened, with team members given authority – with the knowledge they would be backed up from above. Our ground game was second to none.

On July 1, 2017, when GST implementation occurred across the nation, IBM was ready. We issued our first GST compliant sales invoice on July 7th, our first GST compliant purchase order on July 10th and haven’t looked back since. I am aware of companies that were still struggling long after the go-live date – but there is absolutely no disruption to IBM India’s business.

The success of our GST rollout highlights the ‘can do’ attitude that IBM fosters at every level within the organization. It proves that the only winning formula is the one that adapts to changing circumstances. And that when teams are empowered and highly motivated, they can achieve anything.

Are you empowering your teams with technology and practices? Are you considering purchasing any software, hardware or services? Our team is well versed with the requirements of our customers, and with the new GST regime. We can help and support you with technology financing.

Chandrasekar Thyagarajan,

Finance & CFO, India / South Asia at IBM

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