How International SOS is keeping up with the pulse of change

In just under three years, tech veteran Ramesh Munamarty has accomplished what some of his peers can only dream of – building an agile culture, shoring up the IT infrastructure and delivering impact for the business.

The group CIO of International SOS, which provides medical and travel security services, joined the company in October 2016 to drive three strategic imperatives: enterprise IT, digital transformation and business process optimisation.

Munamarty got down to work quickly, starting with the development of a digital platform that provides common services for different business units, in areas such as identity and access management, customer relationship management and application programming interfaces.

Serving as the foundation of International SOS’s digital transformation across the globe, the common platform also provides access to no-code productivity tools for automating workflows as well as a mobile development framework.

The mobile development framework, says Munamarty, has enabled country teams to develop mobile apps designed to serve their own markets. “This level of centralisation allowed a lot of progressive thinking in terms of the need to ensure we have enterprise-grade architecture,” he told Computer Weekly on the sidelines of the ConnectGov Leaders Summit 2019 in Edinburgh.

The other change that Munamarty spearheaded at International SOS was business process optimisation. “It’s not just the technology that’s important to drive the transformation – the processes had to be changed, along with having the mindset and culture of change.”

Munamarty started a separate team for business process innovation, comprising people who are well-versed in the Six Sigma methodology. The team conducted “value stream mapping” across different processes to identify inefficiencies before streamlining processes. This was important to avoid automating a bad process, he adds

“Disciplines such as enterprise architecture and business process innovation, as well as using data analytics to drive engineering teams into having a DevOps mentality and having a common engineering platform, were some of the key fundamentals,” Munamarty says.

But that was not all. As it was just as critical to secure buy-in from different lines of business on the company’s digital transformation efforts, representatives from the business units were engaged to serve as the liaison between business and IT.

These “business partners”, says Munamarty, report to him as well as to the CEO, helping the IT organisation to prioritise demand and navigate a complex organisational structure.

Munamarty also restructured infrastructure operations, transformed service desk functions, and has started to embark on hybrid cloud and software-defined networking strategies.

The transformation efforts are bearing fruit. International SOS is already seeing a double-digit growth in its revenues from digital products while the stability of its infrastructure has improved significantly.

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