Moreover, when meeting with stakeholders, it's important to meet them individually and informally, as opposed to formal settings, because, as Chaturvedi puts it, they tend to "guard themselves," at formal meetings and might not be too amenable to accepting ideas.
Once in an informal setting, Chaturvedi suggests letting the other person talk and provide their ideas. The CIO's role here, he says, is to be a good listener and to fill in certain blanks that stakeholders might not have touched upon.
Having followed this consultative approach, Chaturvedi was able to get over the management's initial opposition and have the dispatch automation project up and running. With the new automated system in place, Perfetti has been able to reduce the time required to generate dispatch plans, and maximize space utilization within each truck.
Chaturvedi also took the important step of making sure he—and his team—were aware of how other teams in the organization worked. He did this by sending IT team members to go and observe the work of other teams for about a week. It's a practice they carry out at least once a year, he says.
During this time, IT team members are considered a part of that target team, whether it's finance, sales, supply chain, etcetera. They spend their time understanding how a target team works and what challenges they face and how technology can help them. This reinforces the perception that the IT team is part of the overall organization and builds a sense of unity among various teams. More importantly, a sense of reciprocity is established. Now if the CIO were to requisition resources from those other team, leaders would be much more willing to help.
"By binding with the function itself, we are showing that the IT team is not anything different. We are here to do what that (target) team is doing and we are doing it with them," he says. He adds that this will help CIOs get a holistic view of all the teams within an organization and be aware of the interdependencies of every team. This is a vital skill to have especially when CIOs are trying to suggest ideas to other teams or attempting to fill in gaps in ideas proposed by others.
Another IT leader who found himself in a similar position is Farhan Khan, AVP-IT at Radico Khaitan.
The alcoholic beverage manufacturer has a business committee that meets at least once a month to talk about various projects. At one such meeting, one of Khan's business peers spoke about how hard it was getting to manage the company's logistics costs given the rising price of diesel. Others business leaders suggested that they hire consultants to advise them on this issue. Khan suggested that IT could handle the problem and run a proof-of-concept; if then the business wasn't happy with the results they could do things their way.
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