CIO Spotlight: Vikas Vijaywargiya, Zensar

What business or technology initiatives will be more significant in driving IT investments in your organisation in the coming year? “Creating a seamless, secure Digital Workplace, both for our business and for our clients.”

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Zensar

Name: Vikas Vijaywargiya

Company: Zensar

Job title: Chief Information Officer

Date started current role: March 2017

Location: Pune, India

Vikas Vijaywargiya has several years of experience specialising in the charter of harnessing various leading technologies to accomplish core business transformation goals. At Zensar, Vijaywargiya focuses on encouraging his team to thrive at the higher levels of performance through technology transformation on the course of digital journey - launching and managing key platforms (on SaaS as well as on-premise) focusing on the user experience by enabling associates / leaders for bringing greater efficiency in decision making.

What was your first job? I started my career as a Software Engineer in Tata Infotech Limited, now part of TCS.

Did you always want to work in IT? Yes, I graduated in Computer Science so was always sure I was going to have a career in IT.

What was your education? Do you hold any certifications? What are they? I am a graduate in Computer Science Engineering. I also pursued certification in Business and hold an ISB Certification in Business and Finance Strategy.

Explain your career path. Did you take any detours? If so, discuss. I started my career in Unisys Mainframe Development project at Tata Infotech and followed the path of mainframe development and support until 2006. This is when I joined Tech Mahindra and moved into a new business service line – Infrastructure Support for clients.

This was a big detour and a complete risk and reward scenario because this was a total new service line for the organisation. I took on this challenge without hesitation and that business grew to 170-million-dollar business in 8 years for US geography alone (including business from acquired entity Satyam).

I joined Zensar Technologies in 2014, once again taking a detour in early 2017 with the responsibility of CIO to embark on the Digital Transformation journey of the entire organisation.

What business or technology initiatives will be more significant in driving IT investments in your organisation in the coming year?

  1. IT should always be a strong enabler for any organisation and alignment of IT to the business strategy is one of the top priorities of a CIO.
  2. Investments in Cyber Security will be a significant focus for any business.
  3. User Experience – this aspect is very critical for our clients and our own business internally. My team will be heavily involved in helping us realise the customer experience goals of our clients. The expectations continue to evolve as we keep producing world class solutions.
  4. We will be organising ourselves to have more flexibility and agility in delivering digital experiences at both speed and scale for our clients.
  5. Creating a seamless, secure Digital Workplace, both for our business and for our clients.
  1. What are the CEO’s top priorities for you in the coming year? How do you plan to support the business with IT?
  1. Employee Connect / Engagement – AI powered employee engagement platform which will help the CEO for sensing the happiness index of the organisation.
  2. Accelerate Digital – Through AI powered digital platforms, we will support the CEO with more effective and faster decision-making processes which will positively impact Sales, Delivery and Corporate Functions.
  3. Digital Transformation and Modernisation of the Organisation – we will be organising ourselves differently, so that we work even more flexibly and nimbly with multi-disciplinary squads, enabling us to connect our capabilities with our clients better in order to address their digital transformation needs and help them deliver better experiences to their own customers.

Does the conventional CIO role include responsibilities it should not hold? Should the role have additional responsibilities it does not currently include? CIO responsibilities should be more for enabling the various functions of the organisation. Responsibilities should be aligned with the business. In many organisations the role of CIO can be seen purely as a cost reducing and risk eliminating role, but at Zensar we believe that whilst those two aspects are important, the CIO role should also be value-generating for the organisation. It is our role to modernise and innovate our product and services utilising tools - AI and Machine Learning powered by Analytics and giving our customers an enhanced experience.

Are you leading a digital transformation? If so, does it emphasise customer experience and revenue growth or operational efficiency? If both, how do you balance the two? Zensar has been on a digital transformation journey and this is an ongoing pursuit as there is no end-state. Customer / User Experience is one key pillar of our Living AI journey. We definitely take our transformation journey to our customers highlighting how this has brought greater efficiencies and transparency in the system which has made the organisation scalable and profitable

Describe the maturity of your digital business. For example, do you have KPIs to quantify the value of IT? Digital Maturity is on a scale of 1 to 5. I would say Zensar is at 4.5 as there is always room for going beyond. All of the IT KPI’s are aligned with the business outcome hence this has helped us in our transformation journey.

During the entire Digital Transformation journey, it is very important to bring the adopters early in the game for them to see the benefits so they become the promoters of the big change.

What does good culture fit look like in your organisation? How do you cultivate it? Good culture includes offering transparency in processes such as Performance Management, Rewards & Recognition, Job enrichment, Skills upgradation and so forth.

Cultivation is possible through Transformation of the organisation powered by tools like AI and Machine Learning.

What roles or skills are you finding (or anticipate to be) the most difficult to fill? Technical Skills like Analytics, Machine Learning, Full Stack Development which are key to the digital transformation and legacy modernisation are by far more important, yet I anticipate will be difficult in sourcing so Zensar will have to continue to invest in the same.

What's the best career advice you ever received? Whatever we do in your career always think of it from a perspective that we are bringing an impact in people’s lives and then once we understand that we will give our best shot.

Do you have a succession plan? If so, discuss the importance of and challenges with training up high-performing staff. As part of our talent management process, all key and critical roles do have succession plans which are duly notified to the associates as well. This process does bring transparency in the value chain of the organisation.

What advice would you give to aspiring IT leaders? My advice to aspiring IT leaders will be – 'Be the leader for the Change and never hesitate in taking bold steps.'

What has been your greatest career achievement? When Living Digital Story of Zensar got published in HBR and LBS as case studies

Looking back with 20:20 hindsight, what would you have done differently? Should have started digital adoption earlier than when we started.

What are you reading now? I am actually reading it again – Grit – The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth.

Most people don't know that I… am a keen Wildlife Photography and a Marathon runner.

In my spare time, I like to…engage in Bird Photography.

Ask me to do anything but… Cook.