Profiling the CEO
Not just zeros and ones
At Pfizer, IT is not just about 0s and 1s but about revenue figures like 10s
and 100s, since the CIO's role has to do with 'Business Technology' and not
just Information Technology. by Minu Sirsalewala
Hocine Sidi Said is a prototypical CEO. With an MBA from Paris, and after a
long stint at Pfizer, USA, he has been the Managing Director of Pfizer Limited,
India since January 2001. He strongly believes that IT in Pfizer is actually
all about business technology.
"In our kind of business, there is scope to integrate technology right
from the point of ideation and conception of research, all the way down to a
simple sales process," he explains.
that his role as the business leader is not limited to be focussed on the outcome
and deliverables but also on how they achieve it with the best chances on their
And in all this the CIO plays an imperative role as he/she is the one responsible
to drive the processes and take any business further. He emphasized that the
CEO should 'discuss openly and frequently' what's needed in the enterprise and
brainstorm with the CIO to gain assurance that the CIO is in tune with the company's
"The CIO's duty is not just to process the 1s and 0s better, but also to
make sure the revenue figures of 10s and 100s are processed better," says
He expresses that Pfizer has long ago departed from the model, where the business
technology person had to be essentially a technologist. "The CIO has to
be aware of technology and technology solutions, but greater value and importance
is placed on his or her understanding of business at large," says Sidi
Sidi Said gives high importance to people in his organization and bases his
initiatives to enhance the compliance of his people. He opines that this is
where a CIO's skills as a communicator come into play.
"Organizations in the past failed to utilize IT to it's best capability
because it hired only technology people and not business technology people.
The worst thing that can happen in an organization is when a technologist is
hired and is led by a managing director who has no interest and no understanding
of how technology can influence the business," he explained.
"It all starts with bringing in the right person. If you bring in the right
person then you have accomplished or achieved 50 percent of your needs."
At the same time a CEO plays an important role in providing support to the CIO.
The CEO should provide a platform for an open discussion with the business peers
on the possibilities that IT can create to enable the company to achieve the
There needs to be a situation where there is a good interaction between the
business leader and the technology business leader. So that the business remains
current at all times.
CEO the communicator
As the business leader of an organization it is very important to track the
signals you send out to your people. The support demonstrated publicly for business
technology or any other department for that matter goes a long way in showing
that this company is interested in technology, in change, to be at the forefront
It is prerogative of the business leader to assess whether
he/she requires the intervention of the business technology
as a part of his response to an opportunity or a challenge
Minu Sirsalewala can be reached