2010 has been a year of new IT leadership for Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) Ltd. After the retirement of Arvind Tawde—who served as the senior vice president and CIO for M&M—VS Parthasarathy has taken over as the organization's group CIO with effect from April 1, 2010. He also has the dual responsibility of serving as the executive vice president of finance, mergers and acquisitions. In his IT leadership role, Parthasarathy envisages an all new IT roadmap for 2010, with plans to focus on technologies like virtualization, cloud computing and business intelligence.
Parthasarathy has also been appointed on the Mahindra group executive board. As the Group CIO, Parthasarathy has restructured the IT organization to cater to the evolving business needs. The new IT organization comprises teams like project management, business consulting, centre of excellence (COE), business process management and vendor management.
While talking about the challenges facing the IT industry he feels that his biggest challenge will be to revive old initiatives post the recession. "You need to push harder in such scenario. The concept of new normal is being adopted across the businesses where volatility is becoming more stable, and this will be applicable to IT as well. This paradigm shift to uncertainty is a big challenge," says Parthasarathy. With market opening up, the problem of attrition may also cause concerns for M&M's 2010-'11 IT roadmap. "The demand and supply in the job market is increasing. Retaining talent will definitely be a challenge," he says.
According to Parthasarathy, M&M did not stop investing in IT despite the recession. "When other companies were conserving cash, we did our biggest project in the history of M&M. Project Harmony—one of our ambitious projects—was rolled out as part of last year's IT roadmap, wherein 44 companies under M&M were brought together on a single platform and process. We made IT investments to the tune of few hundred crores", says Parthasarathy.
Parthasarathy and his team are planning phase two of Project harmony as part of the 2010-'11 IT roadmap. This phase will cover in all 100 (including the 44 companies covered in Phase one) M&M companies, with the project theme's focus on convergence and collaboration. "Phase two will also focus on business intelligence and analytics," informs Parthasarathy. "Apart from this, we also plan to experiment with new technologies like cloud computing and server virtualization as part of the IT roadmap. Desktop virtualization is also in the agenda. As far as cloud computing is concerned, we are looking at private cloud models for non-critical applications," says Parthasarathy.