The path to CTO success: A holistic vision

CTOs need to have a holistic vision of their business to succeed in their role.

This ranges from planning to execution and beyond, on all technological and business-related matters, according Kalyan Kumar, CTO, HCL Technologies.

CTOs are expected to be involved and well-versed on every aspect that may impact on both technology and the business, because of the changing techno-commercial landscape: from the both a products and services perspective.

“I believe a single or limited focus will not help sustain organisational goals and objectives,” says Kumar. “A multifield focus and approach is something all CTOs need to adopt and follow for organisational success. I try to instil the same mantra for organisational success during all of my engagements with HCL’s customers.”

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A “holistic vision”

A ‘holistic vision’ is the key phrase that CTOs looking to succeed with AI must bear in mind, believes Kumar.

“This ‘holistic vision’ should have elements of both inside-out and outside-in thinking on the factors that are impacting on the organisation. Needless to say, any “holistic vision” needs to consider all stakeholders and establish a working and growth harmony to ensure the wider success of all stakeholders. Any skewed approach or thinking will only lead to downfall, rather than moving along the path to success,” he continues.

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“Besides addressing technology and business concerns, this needs to go beyond harder aspects and take softer aspects like employees, partnerships and society into account to ensure inclusive growth.”

A customer-centric approach is a key element of success in this industry. Customer-centric — what does that mean? It means being truthful and transparent with your customers, to ensure you deliver value from every penny they spend and that you become a true partner in the customer’s journey.

Creating opportunities

In his position as CTO, Kumar explains his role provides him with great opportunities — “at every step” — to bring the change that he envisages and plans for.

He believes that the CTO role is about creating opportunities to drive breakthrough and innovative transformations, which require a considerable amount of risk and foresight.

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It is inevitable, Kumar explains, that any such role brings regular problems in areas such as resourcing and enablement.

“However, on the positive side,” he says, “it also ensures and enables resources and courage to overcome minor challenges and reach for higher goals by overcoming unvarying obstacles. I would, therefore, say it’s better to focus on the positive side of what the role can enable, rather than brooding on the challenges associated with it.”

A changing role

As more and more organisations become technology-driven, and as readers will be familiar with, the role of the CTO continues to change.

The CTO role takes centre-stage with various other roles encircling and contributing to the overall function, but it is also expected to drive various needs ranging from innovation to execution.

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“I believe there are some key aspects that will impact and drive the role of the CTO going forward,” says Kumar. “The CTO role will continue to be more focused on innovation, while driving new business wins for line of business.”

“The expectation from line of business will continue to grow, requiring the CTO to become a key driver of business growth.”

“The expectations on the CTO’s role as a technology enabler is also moving thick and fast, with organisation’s looking to CTOs to carve out business growth plans and be a key participant in that. This requires a major change in thought process to ensure technology is aligned to the business and drives it forward.”

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Another aspect that Kumar sees changing, is the risk-taking attitude of CTOs to change and increase. CTOs, he believes, will not be afraid of experimenting and trying new things, which may sometimes result in failure.

“The objective will be to have business growth led by technological innovation. Overall, the role of the CTO will continue to change, while becoming more challenging and defining new heights for organisational success.”

The AI industry

Kumar comments: “Being agile and lean, at the same time, is one of the key drivers of the modern digital enterprise. Technology, more than ever, is taking precedence over human intervention in almost all areas of operations.”

“Organisations are striving hard, not just to be on par with, but rise beyond their competitors and are looking for the means to that end. HCL believes that AI-driven platforms that leverage market innovation and foster collaboration between IT and the business through an agile and iterative approach to solution development will pave the way towards success.”

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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