Bidding adieu to an outstanding and remarkable CIO career at the public sector oil company Indian Oil, Swaranjit Soni retired on June 30, 2010. Soni has had one of the brightest phases of his career as Indian Oil Corporation's CIO, and retired on June 30, 2010, after 35 years of dedicated service.
Soni began his career in finance, and went on to dabble in areas as varied as marketing before plunging into IT operations. He attributes the long tenure of his career as a CIO (and various other positions), to the stimulating environment and multi-faceted challenges of his job. Soni explains, "The wide exposure I received in the company and the experience that I gained in the various portfolios has been the glue that has bound me to Indian Oil."
During his successful CIO career, Soni took up the responsibility of several important projects and fulfilled it to the smallest detail. One of the most recent projects for this IT veteran has been the implementation of SAP for three oil companies in Sri Lanka. These companies had invited the IT team from Indian Oil to implement SAP. This milestone in Soni's career as a CIO could also be considered as a matter of pride for India, as the team was invited by a foreign country seeking its expertise.
Listing other milestones attained by Soni in his CIO career leads to examples such as implementing project of business integration with Bharat Petroleum, spearheading several important mergers, heading LPG operations and being the director of two companies. Being part of the corporate office during his career at Indian Oil enabled the CIO to also handle the company's entire logistics team. Another great achievement in Soni's career as a CIO was the success of optimizing 10 refineries as well as the rollout of a common software for LPG customer management (called Indsoft).
Elaborating on the CIO's role in business, Soni says, "A CIO cannot afford to be only technically inclined. Technical expertise is no doubt a must, but he has to be proactive about the business. Business goals should take front seat to technological development. The IT strategies are subsidiary to business needs." In fact, looking back at his CIO career, Soni emphasizes the need to run IT as a business. "A CIO has to become the CEO of his operations. HR is also a trick that the CIO needs to pocket."
After his grueling stint as a CIO, Soni plans to now take some time off. In the meanwhile, the CIO's hat will now be worn by P Ramaswamy, the current executive director of IT at Indian Oil.