Pallavi Katiyar started her profession as an IT marketing consultant, and right this moment is main a wider portfolio because the CIO of Cyient. All through her skilled journey, she has had alternatives to play completely different roles: “There has by no means been a boring second,” she says.
Over the previous 22 years, Katiyar has labored in numerous domains, applied sciences, and industries, and that has opened up quite a lot of avenues for her, from coding and product design to working giant RFPs and SAP implementations. She’s additionally been concerned in provide chain consulting, vendor administration, and, most not too long ago, driving giant infrastructure and cybersecurity transformation initiatives.
On this interview with CIO India, Katiyar talks about her administration philosophy, and the way she has directed her profession.
CIO India: What has been your best profession achievement?
Pallavi Katiyar: I’ve been very experimental and haven’t hesitated to tackle new challenges. This risk-taking functionality and keenness for fixing issues opened up a chance — an M&A initiative by a $21 billion firm in one in all my earlier organizations. I led the IT integration for 2 international enterprise items that got here collectively by way of this M&A route.
The 2 had very completely different enterprise and infrastructure portfolios with just a few synergies. This made it complicated as a result of each companies claimed to be extra superior. Even earlier than you can begin trying into the technical integration, you’re attempting to get the groups aligned on the longer term panorama — what’s retained and what’s changed. The mixing was taking place throughout international locations, so the execution needs to be efficient because it impacts tons of of areas throughout the globe. The entire chain of administration side and communication grew to become essential.
It was a three-year challenge and required the mixing of all the IT software infrastructure and safety portfolios. It was the hardest and essentially the most complicated program that I’ve ever taken up in my life. I’m very happy with that achievement as a result of it pushed me far past my consolation zone.
CIO India: What’s the hardest resolution you’ve had to absorb your IT profession, and the way did you make it?
Katiyar: Becoming a member of DuPont was most likely the hardest resolution for me. Previous to that, I labored in IT providers and the brand new function required me to maneuver in the direction of the enterprise facet. It was uncharted territory for me. I used to be doing extraordinarily nicely on the IT providers facet and issues have been trying promising from a profession standpoint. At DuPont, I used to be anticipated to arrange a supply centre for them in India, rebuild the potential in-house, and drive giant vendor consolidation. Shifting to the enterprise facet once I actually didn’t have any prior expertise in that space was robust.
I don’t hesitate to take up new challenges, however after I spoke to the CIO of DuPont, I felt extra assured to take up the brand new function. He had a really clear imaginative and prescient of what he needed and was very keen about it. That made the decision-making simpler for me.
CIO India: What’s the very best profession recommendation you ever obtained?
Katiyar: I discovered the significance of taking a wager on individuals. I credit score quite a lot of the place I’m right this moment to my CIO from a earlier group. He trusted me and empowered me to ship sure initiatives and roles which was a turning level in my profession.
From one other CIO I labored for I discovered the significance of person expertise. She was very specific about constructing person expertise in each challenge. Many occasions, IT features are inward-focused, bringing within the best-in-class expertise however not essentially trying from a person perspective.
I’ve discovered quite a bit from the CEO of Cyient too. He believes in investing sooner or later and by no means hesitates to do this. The extra I work with him, the extra I see the trajectory of expertise development. Among the investments he made appeared slightly far-fetched on the time, however these investments are giving us ROI right this moment.
CIO India: What are the prospects for profession mobility for a CIO? What roles would you aspire to?
Katiyar: At present, CIOs are working in shut collaboration with enterprise leaders, and they’re fixing actual enterprise issues. That makes it a lot simpler for CIOs to take up completely different roles as a result of we now have an excellent understanding of enterprise priorities, challenges, buyer expectations, the aggressive panorama, and the industrial and governance features.
For me, it’s extra in regards to the ardour to resolve enterprise issues, enabling higher collaboration, larger productiveness, and efficiency. It doesn’t matter a lot if that is available in a business-facing function or whether or not it comes as one other function inside one of many enabling features like HR or operations. It’s extra about the issue and the character of the problem that I’ve to resolve that may outline the longer term function I will likely be taking on.
CIO India: How do you groom the following stage of management for the CIO function?
Katiyar: Nothing is fixed, not even our positions. Someone took a wager on me and it’s necessary that I do the identical. I’ve a four-point mantra on the subject of individuals: problem, belief, empower and allow.
The secret’s to determine promising people and take educated dangers. You need to have the ability to assess the developments and the event wants of that particular person and begin serving to her or him to achieve success within the new function. And it’s important to belief them with extra duties and push them out of their consolation zone.
CIO India: Have you ever confronted any uncommon challenges throughout any challenge implementation?
Katiyar: After I joined Cyient we have been going by way of an SAP implementation. We have been SAP customers for a really lengthy, however we have been implementing new functionalities for challenge managers to get extra real-time reporting round initiatives, useful resource utilization, and invoicing. This required a big change in the best way a challenge supervisor would historically run a few of these processes.
Nonetheless, the groups have been combating the brand new processes and instruments. I spotted that it was hampering our potential, and the preliminary goal of turning into extra productive and efficient was defeated. That’s once I determined to pause the challenge and went again to the drafting board — the place is it that we’re seeing gaps, and what must be accomplished to deal with these gaps? We listed all the problems and the necessities yet again and put a roadmap towards them. We walked managers by way of varied features of the options, what to anticipate and what to not anticipate, after which we labored in the direction of implementing them to make them extra aligned with the enterprise necessities.
It took us an excellent six to eight months extra, however the good factor is that by the top of this challenge, whole reporting associated to initiatives began coming instantly from the system.
CIO India: What myths about expertise, IT/IS administration, digital transformation, and the CIO function would you wish to debunk?
Katiyar: Digital transformation requires an entire ecosystem change — an entire transformation of the way you do issues finish to finish, and it typically wants a cultural and mindset change. As CIOs, we have to do a greater job of explaining to our stakeholders what it actually entails.
Suppose you usher in RPA for finance features. The expertise is meant to automate repetitive duties which the associates within the finance perform is probably not used to. They’re used to engaged on Excel sheets and wish to essentially begin considering in a different way in any other case RPA will fail. It needs to be a steadiness of what’s automated and the way that particular person whose work is probably getting remodeled needs to be rescaled.
CIO India: What’s your key studying from the final 20 years?
Katiyar: Don’t blindly chase others. It’s not essential to all the time go for the very best in school or essentially the most superior resolution. In case your group will not be prepared for it then the chance of failure is way larger than what you anticipated.
I’ve been half of some initiatives the place I used to be an lively participant and my intestine feeling mentioned that the answer will not be proper for the corporate, however I used to be not very vocal about it, or perhaps I used to be not able to be vocal about it at that cut-off date. I want I had trusted my instincts and perhaps created some consciousness about it. However right this moment, I’m very diligent on the subject of figuring out and deciding on the options for my group.
CIO India: Should you weren’t a CIO, what would you be?
Katiyar: I’m keen about making schooling accessible to the not-so-privileged a part of society. I might have been engaged on constructing some options or leveraging expertise to make it occur. There’s a excessive chance that I would nonetheless find yourself doing that a couple of years down the road!