In an interview with Shantheri Mallaya, Vijay Sethi, VP and CIO, Hero MotoCorp, gives refreshing and blunt insights into the widening gap between CIO and SI engagements.
Do you feel SIs need to engage more effectively with CIOs and that they ought to arrive at better engagement and delivery models? What, in your opinion, is going wrong?
Sethi: Transactions and relationships between the two parties are becoming difficult in many cases. What is going wrong is a combination of processes and also the structure of many SI organizations. There are silos and verticals within SIs. Each of these silos (groups or verticals) carry their revenue targets. It turns murky when a CIO gets embroiled in the internal silos between vendors, their partners, and then gets conflicting advice by teams within the same vendors or SI. Meeting individual revenue targets often takes precedence over customer interests. This leads to CIOs losing trust not just in individuals, but the SI itself. Till they reach out to the customer as one entity, nothing much can be achieved.
As a customer, I do not claim that I know everything. It's the duty of the SI to give a neutral and fair opinion keeping my business processes in mind. However, the level of technical know-how among SI teams vary. Often, SIs just come up with a standard line, "We will get back to you." Some SIs do not have the bandwidth to deliver services--so they put rookies on the job. The customer organization is a guinea pig for the learn-on-the-fly approach. It is not a happy situation for us. There is huge attrition in the SI space which further compounds the issue, as that impacts both engagement and delivery.
Do you recall of any instance of an effort or a proactive approach taken by an SI in understanding your business process?
Sethi: To answer your question, I must narrate an incident. Three months ago, a top SI came all the way from another city to our office. The classic ice-breaker that the SI chose to ask us was "What ERP and CRM system do you use?" Then, we were asked by many senior people about the structure of our organization and the health of our industry. With homework and preparation levels so fundamentally flawed, and that too from an SI of repute, I needn't say more.
Sometimes, a large team comes in, which is entirely the SI's call, but the bottomline is, I have to see a tangible outcome. The quality of inputs during a case study presentation isn't always great. All that is given to us in the name of a business case is a run-of-the-mill presentation of a ROI, which is possibly not relevant to the Indian scenario.
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