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CIO Profiles: Aseem Gupta, CIO Of Sogeti

The first step in building efficiency is to understand priorities, Gupta advises aspiring CIOs.
Career Track

Aseem Gupta, CIO Of Sogeti

Aseem Gupta
CIO Of Sogeti
How long at current company: Seven years

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: The commitment and dedication I get from my team at Sogeti.

Most important career influencer: One of my classmates at IIT in Delhi. Back in school, he and I did a project in which we mathematically modeled emission of gases from pressurized storage tanks. We spent a good number of evenings and weekends working on this project for over two years, and his aptitude and passion around programming inspired me to completely switch to an IT career.

Decision I wish I could do over: I'm not sure I'd change anything major. There are a lot of little things I'd like to change, though, mostly around building better relationships and getting user buy-in. The world's greatest systems are no good if nobody wants to use them.

Vision
Advice for future CIOs: An efficiently run IT organization can be a significant source of competitive advantage for companies, and the first step in building the efficiency is to understand priorities. Once priorities are understood, managers can focus on high-priority projects and push back on projects that have high costs and little benefit.

Best way for CIOs to cope with the economic downturn: For most firms, a CIO's job doesn't change with the conditions of economy. It's amazing to analyze how much money companies can save by simplifying their processes and using technology to make them more efficient. Providing an optimal level of service at minimum possible cost should be a CIO's goal, regardless of economic conditions.

The federal government's top technology priority should be ... to focus on creating new economies by encouraging innovation. Patent laws should be simplified. Instead of protecting those who actually innovate, patents are protecting those who are good at filing patents. Innovation will create new markets, which will result in new career opportunities.

Would you steer your kids toward a technology career? Computers don't run themselves, so computer professionals will always have good careers. Still, there are a lot of other careers out there. Technology careers might be good for my kids, but I'm not sure if I'd steer them in that direction.

On The Job
IT budget: $3.5 million

Size of IT team: 18 (10 onshore, eight offshore)

Top initiatives:

>>Cost management. It's always been my top initiative, and to run an efficient IT department, it must be on top of a CIO's agenda at all times.

>>Server and desktop virtualization. It will help us reduce costs and decrease the time required to deploy new servers and desktops.

>>Improving the collaboration tools and incorporating Web 2.0 concepts in our applications.

Personal
Colleges/degrees: IIT, Delhi (India), B. Tech. in chemical engineering; Ohio State University (Fisher College of Business), pursuing executive MBA

Business leader I'd like to have lunch with: Warren Buffett

Smartphone of choice: I love BlackBerry, as an IT manager and as a user

Favorite U.S. president: I don't have much interest in politics, but President Obama appears to have his heart in the right place; I'm optimistic he'll work hard for people and do great things for this country

If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... a physicist; I never studied nuclear physics in detail, but it's fascinated me since I was a child

Editor's Choice
Mary E. Shacklett, President of Transworld Data
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer