CIO Interview Series - Mr. Prabhakar Posam, Head - Information Systems & Business Process PAE Ltd.
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Mr. Prabhakar Posam is a commerce graduate with a PGDCA degree and also PMP certified. He has 17 years of experience in IT, having started his career as a software developer. He joined PAE in 1995, where he built the IT infrastructure from scratch, deployed ERPs, Portal/s and many other systems in the organization. Currently working as the Head - Information Systems & Business Process, he reports to the Managing director of the company.
As a finalist in The Great Mind Challenge for Business 2011 Program from IBM, Mr, Posam talks to developerWorks about PAE and how it is now foraying into new businesses thereby posing challenges and opportunities in the IT space.
1. What are the major business
challenges your organization faces?
2. What to you are the next big waves in IT over the next few years? Where is your company vis a vis these?
I see cloud services as the next big wave over the next few years, especially in the SMB segment where major IT investments are always a challenge because of the heavy capital expenditure. Cloud services work on an opex model which will help organizations rapidly scale their infrastructure resource line with shifting work patterns because the services are billed on a usage basis at a very low cost.
We have already started using cloud services for our backup & data recovery systems, we see most of our IT services moving on cloud within next few years.
Some interesting IT initiatives that you have adopted at PAE Ltd.
has 40 branches that are spread across the country and a mobile sales force of
over 250 people. Since our branches are all over India, managing processes is always
a challenge. To have control over expenses & important business
transactions, recently we have decided to centralize our operations where major
business transactions & internal process approvals are to be taken by our
corporate office. It was my responsibility to ensure that the business
objectives are achieved; expenses are controlled and processes are executed,
faster. To achieve this we have used the IBM portal technology and automated
all important process like HR, Travel plan & travel expense, customer
registration & credit management, centralized printing, customers claim, order
& payment process etc. Our internal IT team, which is very small had
designed, developed & implemented this intranet portal for employees by
designing the workflow systems.
How would you define the success of any IT initiative at PAE?
IT and business go hand in hand, we all know that. Having been around in PAE for so long I understand much earlier the requirements from an IT perspective, of any new business initiatives the company undertakes. IT here is a business enabler and it is our role to be proactive and help with requirements, solutions. Some of the earlier initiatives we have undertaken as mentioned previously, has been extremely successful have given immense benefits to our organization – operation efficiencies, cost efficiencies, reduced cycle time, more visibility of information, accurate data. Finally all have resulted in improving our bottom line.
Any advice to those looking to pursue a career in IT?
IT provides the opportunity to learn various aspects of business allowing you to transform business problems into technology solutions. Most software deployed in the world today are the solution to one or more business problems, so my sincere advice is get into this field with the objective of building world class systems. In today’s dynamic times, technology keeps changing – question is how do you keep pace? My answer would be – if you understand your business & clear about IT requirements, you can help them with best technology solutions. Technology cannot stand on its own, with your innovative ideas technology can bring revolution the way business is done. Understanding business and technology is essential if you want to maximize your potential, so that you have a more rounded view of how and what you are doing is making a difference.
6. Can you elaborate on your personal
journey to where you are today?
I started my career as a software developer in a small software development company. My journey in PAE started in the year 1995 as an IT executive. I enjoyed every aspect of my IT career and took major challenges whether it is designing infrastructure, implementing ERPs or integrating and automating processes using Portal technologies. Most part of my career I spent in end user companies which gave me immense domain knowledge of all our businesses. Having a strong understanding of the business has helped me in heading IT & the business process division today. I have managed several projects and every project implementation was a different challenge. I always believed that more than technical skills ability to solve complex business problems into simple IT solutions is a real challenge. I have genuinely enjoyed each and every moment of my work. Creating unique systems is my passion and I do it because I love my work.
7. Do you know of the IBM Smarter
Planet? What according to you is Smarter Planet?
Yes I know about it. To me a smarter planet is to make difficult things available to the world in a simple form using technology, skills & resources, which will help our next generations to live better.