CTO and VP of Technology, The Washington Post Co.
Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: Designing, developing, and operating a software-as-a-service multitenant recruitment automation solution at BrassRing (now Kenexa). We supported the recruitment process at more than 50 Fortune 500 companies on a single instance of the software. BrassRing earned a number of prestigious industry awards for the product, including two consecutive Software & Information Industry Association Codie Awards, in 2004 and 2005, for "Best Human Resources Product."
Most important career influencers: D.G. Mahajan at Tata Unisys in Bombay, India, was my first boss and successfully awakened the geek in me. He led one of the first PC software product development teams in India, which I was lucky to be a part of. I learned to understand the art of motivating and managing a group of very young and innovative engineers. Also, Ralph Terkowitz, my Washington Post predecessor, educated me on why the Internet was such a big deal and on leveraging the Web to deliver real business value.
Decision I wish I could do over: I've had a dream career and would love to relive it without changing a thing.
Advice for future CIOs: Understand the business and align technology initiatives with it. Talk the language of the business and not technology. It's all about making the business more efficient and nimble. Innovation is the only sustainable competitive advantage.
The next big thing for my industry will be: Print media businesses will transform to be primarily digital with consumers receiving the information when they need it and how and where they want it. However, the industry is still figuring out what a viable business model will look like in the digital world. On the education front--The Washington Post owns Kaplan--online will become a more significant portion of our business, though brick-and-mortar schools will survive and evolve for a long time.
View on offshore outsourcing: I started working on significant off-shore outsourcing engagements in 1994. If done right, it can be of great value. It's imperative that the customer organization is correctly staffed to manage an offshore vendor and communicate, communicate, communicate!
IT budget (approximate): $10 million (corporate only)
Size of IT team: 20 plus outsourced infrastructure and application management service
Top three initiatives:
- Evolve our digital media business (online and mobile) to replace the lost revenue on the print side.
- Continue to expand shared IT services to reduce tech costs across our business units. We're building a shared technology service to support our back-office processes in a common and best-practice way.
- Build a cross-company collaboration platform, preferably leveraging open source technologies.
Colleges/degrees: Bachelor's in electrical engineering (honors), University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India
Leisure activities: Travel around the world
Best book read recently: Wikinomics, by Anthony D. Williams
Smartphone of choice: BlackBerry Bold and iPhone
Personal blog: Yuvi Kochar On Tech
If I weren't a CTO, I'd be ... the CEO of a small, innovative technology company.