2022

Securing data and talent top Indian CIOs’ concerns for FY2023

As India’s new financial year begins, CIOs are now sorting out their priorities and concerns. CIO India talks to IT leaders to understand what they are.

With the accelerated pace of digital transformation, coupled with the unprecedented arrival of the pandemic pushing enterprises towards a hybrid work culture, IT leaders have played a key part in keeping business afloat these last two years. The resulting redefinition of their role is influencing their priorities as they prepare for the 2023 financial year.

One of the biggest changes has been to bring them closer to business units.

“We are on a digital transformation journey that will transform our customer, partner, and employee experience by focusing on inclusion, innovation, operational excellence, and agile methodologies,” says Dharmendra Rangain, CIO for India and neighbouring countries at Cisco Systems.

At engineering and technology services company Cyient, CIO Pallavi Katiyar says that CIOs are closely integrated with business and are more like partners today, making the framework for deciding priorities relatively easier. “We (CIOs) are working very closely with the business to understand their priorities, focus, and requirements. That helps CIOs to identify and work on solutions that need to be enabled for business to meet their objectives.”

CIO’s top concern: cybersecurity

Cybersecurity will continue to be a top priority for Indian CIOs in the year ahead, according to a recent survey of technology executives by Gartner: 64% of Indian CIOs surveyed said they will increase their spending on security-related technologies in 2022, higher than the global average of 57%.

The IT leaders CIO India spoke with told a similar story.

For Cyient’s Katiyar, cybersecurity is the topmost concern: “The threat is real. It’s something that has been keeping me awake for the last couple of years.” She says it’s foolhardy for anyone to assume they are safe even if they have the world’s leading cyber security solutions.

She is currently focusing on improving overall cybersecurity by working very closely with her team. “We ensure that we build cybersecurity and data security into every aspect of the application infrastructure solution that we are delivering,” she says.

Her colleague, CTO Rajaneesh R Kini, agrees. “Our priorities for the year are to enhance our cybersecurity architecture using data access patterns to better understand security threats for IT and OT systems.” Kini is working to make the company more agile and build a system that would enable the organization to leverage data to create insights that drive real business value. He is also exploring AI tools with the goal of providing workers with a self-service platform for supporting decision making.

This financial year, Katiyar plans to invest significantly in building cybersecurity capabilities in-house but realises that alone won’t be enough: “It is going to be an impossible task to have the entire knowledge, capability, and skill set in-house, so it’s also important to have the right vendor and partner ecosystem in place to help bridge the gap.”

Cisco’s Rangain says now is the time to make bolder decisions, assume newer responsibilities that will boost customer and employee experience, and guard against evolving cyberattacks. However, Rangain is well aware that the hurdles and gaps for IT leaders will only widen: “From continuously bolstering security architecture to finding and retaining the right talent, the complexities and opportunities are plenty, as we live in a time of innovation and disruption.”

Talent retention
Indian IT firms today are seeing the highest attrition rates — and the resulting demand for skilled IT workers has led to increased payroll costs.

At technology consultancy Thoughtworks, Chief Digital Officer Swapnil Deshpande says that after compliance, cybersecurity, and data privacy, one of his top concerns for the year ahead is being able to respond to changes faster. “With business evolving fast and technology evolving faster, one of my concerns is being able to build an IT department that can match or surpass the current rate of change. Running an operationally efficient organization with the help of data will enable key leaders to use actionable insights and foresight for better decision making.”

Deshpande says that to help solve this issue, talent acquisition and retention will continue to be a priority. He also plans to work towards digital transformation with platforms and data to significantly improve the internal IT effectiveness and productivity, thus helping key business leaders make better decisions to run and grow the company.

Talent development and retention have emerged as key concerns for Kiran Marri, vice president and chief scientist at IT services provider CSS Corp. “My top priorities include enablement and use of technology to empower employees by equipping them with the required skills to solve client problems. My goal is to prepare employees for a technology-based future and help them hone and acquire needed skills now and moving forward.”

Natarajan Radhakrishnan, president and global chief innovation officer at Hinduja Global Solutions, says lack of digitally skilled talent has been a major concern for IT leaders, and hiring talent exclusively from external sources has become extremely difficult. “CIOs encourage employees within the organization to upskill themselves in necessary technologies. This method future-proofs the careers of employees by equipping them with relevant skills. It is also cost-effective for the organization,” he says.

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AI for MSPs

Artificial intelligence, the next frontier of automation, will be a business imperative for channel pros who want to become more agile, innovative, and competitive. By Esther Shein

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE is cutting a wide swath across nearly every industry, and managed services is no different. AI-embedded tools are being touted for their ability to help MSPs automate repetitive functions and boost productivity. For many MSPs, though, AI is still a nascent and abstract concept. Nevertheless, it is a business imperative if they want to become more agile, innovative, and competitive.

While MSPs broadly understand the value of AI, “there is still a good amount of unknown and probably some more hype than reality,” says David Tan, CTO of Syosset, N.Y.-based CrushBank, which developed an AI-based IT help desk application. There needs to be more education on how to harness and leverage the tools, he says.

Some MSPs have dipped their toes in to take advantage of automation. Georg Dauterman, president of New York-based Valiant Technology, is partnering with an MSSP that has built some AI technology “to allow us to offer more powerful security services to our clients.”

The MSSP is helping Valiant build a SOC SIEM and integrate it with the firm’s PSA tools to provide a single view of the network. That way, when alerts come in that the system indicates should be investigated, they can be remediated more quickly, Dauterman says.

Advanced cybersecurity is an area where AI can be very beneficial to MSPs by proactively identifying and neutralizing threats, agrees Rahul Joshi, CTO of CSS Corp, a customer experience and technology services provider with U.S. headquarters in San Jose, Calif.

The emerging category of AIOps uses AI and automation to enhance IT operations. For instance, AIOps can help MSPs with alert and incident correlation by combing through large amounts of data to determine what alerts are false and which ones need attention, Tan says.

And in the case of one CSS customer, “we have achieved a 60% reduction in TCO … [and] 99.999% availability across web-hosting platforms through enhanced observability and controllability” enabled by their AIOps platform, Joshi says.

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Why Break Gender Bias in Hiring?

Gender biases can affect all aspects of working life for women, including disparities in pay and promotions.

Every year, on March 8th, organizations worldwide burst into a frenzy as they celebrate International Women’s Day. Despite the fervour, a lot of this day’s activity can become mere token activism without actual policy interventions or changes. When I read that this year’s theme was #BreakTheBias, I was compelled to sit back and think about what bias means to me, Gender Bias to be more specific.

My POV – Gender bias at its simplest, is about having prejudice towards one gender over another. This prejudice can result in differences and discrimination in the way employees are treated. Reality is a lot more complex than that, of course. Interestingly and unfortunately, not all bias is conscious and unconscious biases are deeply ingrained. Factors and influences such as our upbringing, experiences, society, and the environment play a role in shaping the choices and decisions we take in life.

And where bias is common, organizations suffer. The impact of bias is so evident even at the level – this creates a gap in having genuinely diverse teams. Also, workplace inclusivity suffers, and no one wins in this situation.

How can we reduce gender biases?

Gender biases can affect all aspects of working life for women, including disparities in pay and promotions. In many instances, women also do not give due credit to their skills and knowledge and underplay which is a bigger problem to solve for. But as I wrote earlier, hiring is often the first place where biases creep in. Take the classic study by InSync that showed even when interviewers were giving identical resumes with only differences in the names (Simon and Susan), Simon received more interviews and was more likely to be hired than Susan.

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Better talent strategies, better & diverse talent in tech industry

When you are on the sea, sometimes inclement weather can put wind in the sails and propel the boat at its top speed. In a somewhat similar perspective, the phase of the coronavirus pandemic has created a scenario that has led to fast-pacing the need to address the gender gap concerns—a long-standing issue in the tech industry. The low representation of women, particularly in leadership roles, has been a much-talked-about matter for years now. Genuine efforts can go a long way toward introducing gender diversity, equity, and inclusion in the tech sector.

In the tech industry, the pandemic has been instrumental in introducing some of the most significant transformations in our ways of working. And this has had particular implications for women and other diverse representatives. For example, in women’s case, the opportunity to work in a hybrid manner across geographies and from the comfort of their homes has created a sea of options for them. The 2021 Women in Tech Report states that 53% of women in engineering and IT mentioned that remote work has been a positive and supportive factor.

But despite that, factors such as stereotyping and sub-conscious bias across some roles and challenges in balancing personal and professional life continue to account for the under-representation of women in the tech industry. Gender bias has been identified as the top barrier preventing women in technology roles from moving into leadership positions. This was closely followed by work-life integration and a lack of mentorship.

As per the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), women represented 26% of all positions in the tech industry and only about 16% at the executive level. Women now occupy less than one-fifth of spots on the boards of directors at tech companies, and the share is lower for women executives, as per the S&P Global findings.

Women cannot take up technical or fieldwork—this has been the general mindset that has prevailed in the industry over the years. And this needs to change.

Another challenge in the form of the lack of a strong pipeline of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields ensures that you’re choosing from a smaller pool.

So, what can we do to improve diversity in tech?

While tech companies are making efforts, however, there is scope for more when it comes to creating equal opportunities and establishing the right support system.
Mentoring and employee resource groups (ERGs): These are groups in which employees and their allies gather regularly to exchange their experiences and offer one another support that can go a long way in creating a welcoming, inclusive environment.
Recruiting more women personnel: Especially at the shopfloor and the leadership level can help overcome the stereotypical mindset.
Adopting a three-pronged approach: Solving for more women in STEM is a long-term plan, but corporate mentoring, campus engagement and lateral hiring can positively change the equation.
A study from the Credit Suisse Research Institute (CSRI), which was conducted almost a decade ago, has long established that ensuring more women in leadership can have numerous benefits. Gender diversity in the workplace leads to a thriving economy and is a valuable asset. It also makes good business sense considering that the variety of perspectives allows better decision-making. Organizations with more women in the IT department tend to be further along in digital transformation.

Some solace can be gained from the Deloitte Global report, however. On average, large global technology firms will touch nearly 33% overall female representation in their workforces in 2022, the report states. This number is up slightly more than 2 percentage points from 2019. The proportion of women in technical roles will also spur up, though it has tended to lag the overall proportion of women by about 8 percentage points.

While walking the talk at CSS Corp, we believe in celebrating diversity. We recently introduced the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN), a mentorship program that promotes diversity and equality in the workplace. Take, for instance, our program named ‘WIN Charter,’ which conducts events for women employees to share learnings and create a supportive environment to overcome challenges and provide guidance—at an individual and personal level.

Lastly, I would like to mention that learning, mentoring, and upskilling remain crucial to equipping oneself while adapting to the changing needs of any tech organisation. This will go a long way in staying ahead of the curve.

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Digital infrastructure helps to transform business transformation for efficiency in the digital era

Digital transformation is not new. We are constantly moving towards an increasingly digital world. But the pace of business transformation had been lagging. Until 2020 happened.

When Dell surveyed more than 4,000 business leaders from 18 countries for its Digital Transformation Index 2020, it found that 80% of the businesses had fast-tracked their digital transformation programs. The uncertainty of Covid-19 disrupted the sluggish pace of business transformation. It ushered in seismic changes, accelerating processes that were supposed to take years into a span of months. Let’s look at some of the most transformative industry trends and the growing focus on ‘digital infrastructure’ as a result.

Emerging trends in digital business transformation
The shift toward D2C business models

The pandemic allowed businesses to reap the rewards of a digital-first strategy. Buying online was the only way for consumers when lockdowns worldwide forced the closure of brick-and-mortar stores. This meant that many businesses, to stay competitive, had to shift from B2B to B2C/D2C. Companies that were earlier focused only on product creation and then the distribution channel to reach customers now realize the value of creating unique customer experiences in the D2C space

Cloud ecosystem maturity

Cloud has emerged as the single most important enabler of transformation. To capture the real value of embracing a digital-first approach, companies realize they need to focus on building a cloud-ready business model right from the beginning. And establishing the proper governance to manage this new digital infrastructure, including cloud financial management, architecture/configuration consistency, and security compliance, is critical to staying in control.

Notably, we are seeing a shift to a hybrid cloud ecosystem for high-data growth enterprises looking to achieve digital success.

Data overflow and the need for AI-powered analytics

We have seen that as more AI-driven data insights come into play, the technical complexity of transformation has also increased.

Businesses are becoming more SaaS-oriented because of this complexity. This is the future of digital infrastructure, and the AI-powered applications ecosystem will only evolve even more over the next few months.

Modernization for Customer-facing infrastructure

As with the shift to D2C, we are seeing a shift toward building more customer-facing infrastructure. Previously, digital infrastructure was never linked to business outcomes. But what we are seeing now is that businesses understand the importance of how this infrastructure enabled by cloud can and does influence business outcomes. With devices becoming smarter, enterprises are adopting edge computing to bring computing services closer to consumers or data sources.

Why is digital infrastructure critical?

Today, most businesses realize the necessity of becoming digital-first and modernizing their business profile. Technology is no longer an option but a fundamental imperative that must be built into business strategies. The era of technology infrastructure being utilized behind the scenes for cost leverage is behind us.

The success of the digital-native business model and the opportunities created by the ongoing disruption has pushed infrastructure to the front-line influencing business outcomes, revenue impact, and customer experience transformation. This is where ‘digital infrastructure’ comes in. It is not just about migrating to the cloud here and there. It is all-encompassing, transforming every aspect of infrastructure from connectivity, servers, data, cybersecurity, applications, and platforms to become more agile, intelligent, and scalable. It embodies cloud-based transformation across the infrastructure ecosystem powered by AI-driven data analytics.

Challenges on the transformation journey

While businesses must go digital, it is important to understand the challenges before charting the infrastructure transformation roadmap.

Legacy technology debt and associated culture

It’s well known that legacy systems are a barrier to seamless digital transformation. And yes, legacy systems can be unwieldy, cumbersome, and resistant to change. But that’s not all.

What we are also seeing is that culture is also one of the biggest challenges to digital transformation. Technology transformation is tough, but people transformation can be tougher! People change management scaling can often be left out when considering an overhaul of legacy technology debt.

Technology readiness, therefore, becomes so important: you may adopt digital, but if your dependent technology stack is not ready in terms of people, processes, and automation, you may not get the results you were looking for.

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Why should tech companies make sustainability a priority for their business?

Technology companies have both a strong global reach and impact on people, hence they have a great opportunity to lead the way by incorporating sustainability into their core philosophy to fulfil both their environmental duties as well as gain advantage.

Technology companies have both a strong global reach and impact on people, hence they have a great opportunity to lead the way by incorporating sustainability into their core philosophy to fulfil both their environmental duties as well as gain advantage.

People Matters spoke to industry leaders on why sustainability should be made a priority for technology companies, why managing the green line has become an imperative and part of the strategy, what are organisations really doing when it comes to their ESG efforts, and if these are yielding desired results.

Tech business and sustainability : Why is it a win-win?

Technology has helped businesses move towards a better tomorrow – to innovate, to compete, and to win customers. However, now it’s time for technology companies to look beyond purely financial growth to achieve long-term, sustainable success and reimagine their responsibility towards the environment.

By going green, tech companies can play a significant role in correcting the effects of climate change using their resources and platform.

“This will help businesses contribute to two things: making the world greener and sustainable and secondly, it helps companies create an innovative culture, improve efficiency, competitive agility, employee engagement, and thus, drive growth,” says Kiran Marri, chief scientist at  IT services and premium tech support solutions company CSS Corp.

Besides, it’s not just the tech companies that aggressively implement sustainable and environmentally friendly business practices; it’s also consumers who demand it.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, there has been a 71% rise in global online searches for sustainable goods over the past 5 years. Also, research by New York University’s Stern Center for Sustainable Business has found that sustainable brands have increased their share of the US market during the pandemic.

“This trend isn’t just in first-world countries or the FMCG industry; it’s everywhere! Customers are engaging with sustainable businesses in ways that they previously ignored. While many consumers actively seek out brands and companies that align with their values, they’re also willing to switch products/companies when something violates their ethics.

“These proof points are testament to the fact that sustainability is more important than ever today. Technology companies have a strong global reach and impact on people, hence they have a great opportunity to lead the way by incorporating sustainability into their core philosophy,” Marri adds.

Anjali Byce, chief human resource officer at STL-Sterlite Technologies says that the pledge to attain net-zero by 2050 has increased from barely 16% of the global economy in 2019 to over 70% currently.

“Technology companies are well-positioned to address this problem because of their extensive reach, social cohesion, and quick access to innovation and talent,” she adds.

According to Bloomberg, leading US digital companies are taking unprecedented steps to combat climate change. Many IT firms throughout the world have followed suit. Telecom and technology businesses play a critical part in this process.

Byce says: “By improving the efficiency of their company’s operations and links with suppliers, they can lead the transition and demonstrate the way for emission reductions across the value chain.”

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Data analytics in IoT offers new opportunities for MSPs

For MSPs monitoring thousands of IoT devices, parsing the associated data stream provides an outlet for growth. MSPs, however, must first acquire the essential skills.

Partners have an opportunity to expand their IoT services into the emerging field of analytics.

Indeed, CompTIA, an industry association, has identified three areas where IT service providers can engage in the IoT market: selling IoT devices, managing and monitoring them and data analytics. Providing data analytics in IoT, however, demands specialized skills.

“This takes analytics skill and training, as well as the ability to apply data findings to business opportunities, goals and challenges a customer might have,” said Carolyn April, senior director of industry analysis at CompTIA. Offering such a service “will require investment by channel firms in terms of human resources, technical and sales skills,” she noted.

The channel is “not quite there yet,” April added, but said data analytics is a focus area that has grown in importance across the last three years of CompTIA’s State of the Channel studies.

Early successes

Vivek Kaushik refers to IoT analytics as “IoT version 2.5,” explaining that the channel is still figuring out how to monetize the sale of IoT sensors and devices. But Kaushik, senior vice president of client services and account management at CSS Corp., a technology consulting services provider, called IoT analytics an “an exciting space.”

The company, based in San Jose, Calif., has started capturing data coming out of IoT devices “and we’re able to infer and create some predictive models to help [clients meet] the business challenge,” he said.

For example, CSS Corp. is working with one client to extract data from devices on farm tractors to predict a diagnostic issue and when a tractor would require service.

Similarly, the company is helping a locomotive components and operations client do predictive maintenance on railroad equipment to preempt device failure, optimize services and inventory, and update field engineers and procurement officials on when to order replacement parts.

In the railroad example, CSS Corp. has developed a six-step methodology that starts with identifying the most critical data associated with equipment for accurate predictions. Then the data is trained and tested in machine learning platform TensorFlow to build prediction models. Next, sensor data is merged with acoustics and image data to identify patterns, and then data from breaks, bearings and wheels is analyzed to identify wear and tear.

That way, CSS Corp. officials can identify uncharacteristic system behavior and resolve issues before they occur, as well as identify the best maintenance schedule and make recommendations to clients to optimize processes.

The next step is to see if the firm can bring in another layer of intelligence to see why some equipment performs better than others, Kaushik said. Beyond analyzing historical data to predict a maintenance failure, now CSS Corp. officials want to see if they can use a locomotive company’s sensors and IoT data to suggest whether a different maintenance process would extend the life of a piece of equipment such as a wheelbase.

This takes analytics to the augmented level, he said. Augmented analytics includes information coming into a centralized platform from different sources, including a locomotive company’s competitors, or other trains in the same company. “Maybe they’re oiling [the wheelbase] two times a day and they need to do it three times a day,” he said. The idea is to take best practices from what other trains are doing and moving from predictive to suggestive, which is the augmented component.

AI will play a big role in making this possible because a system becomes increasingly intelligent by consuming more data and doing more repetitive tasks, Kaushik said. “This is the journey we’ll see more and more.”

 

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Taking care of workplace bonding, in a post-pandemic world

Moving from traditional methods, employee engagement and bonding at work are going new ways. In an exclusive interaction with ETHRWorld, HR leaders share how they are implementing new ways to create engagement and boost morale.

Key Takeaways

  • If employees don’t feel happy, or appreciated enough, it can affect the overall growth.
  • Recognition programmes, meetings, fostering creativity can help people link, share ideas and think towards a greater goal.

Navigating between the inside and outside, organisations are now set to change, adapt and adopt policies that will help employees get close to the new normal.

While productivity and performance have been the constant concerns, with the return of employees to the office, workplace engagement, and bonding between the employees need attention too. With the pandemic curbs, social distancing and health practices in place, balancing the right equation is a code to crack.

Workplace happiness

Before the pandemic disrupted lives and workplaces, people used to engage in different ways, but the shutting down of offices, and subsequent long periods of isolation have affected us socially and emotionally. As we look forward to getting back to office, would the same ways still help cultivate happiness at work?

Would the employees feel the same about lunches and corporate engagements, with six feet of distance between them and masks on, without shaking hands and hugging friends? Would there still be office trips, get-togethers like they used to?

Exploring the developments, Anish Philip, Chief People Officer, CSS Corp, says, “The pandemic has forced organisations to reimagine their employee engagement practices, aligning themselves with the new reality. No matter how efficient your business is, if employees aren’t happy or won’t feel appreciated enough, it can adversely impact the overall growth.”

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Top industry experts predict tech trends for 2022!

In the early days of 2021, few industry analysts guessed that the focus for tech professionals would be on the quick deployment of solutions

In the early days of 2021, few industry analysts guessed that the focus for tech professionals would be on the quick deployment of solutions to support widespread remote work in the coming months. Despite this, unless something unexpected happens, IT sector experts can usually predict future trends.

Some industry professionals provide their perspectives on how technology will dominate the year 2022, from the continuous technical support needed for remote and hybrid work to new solutions to service clients to potential cautionary stories!

Mahesh Zurale, Sr Managing Director, Lead – Advanced Technology Centers in India (ATCI), Accenture:

“The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies, compressing a decade of digital transformation into just a few months and igniting a new era of exponential transformation. With technology becoming more accessible to people across the organization, it will enable better synchronization between IT and business departments to build better solutions aligned to business needs. This will help companies to gain an innovation advantage that best positions them for future success. Finally, a major focus area for companies in 2022 will be worker upskilling and collaboration so that their people can become a core part of their digital transformation journey.”

Srinivas Mukkamala, Sr. Vice President of Security Products, Ivanti:
“The past two years have disrupted the long-standing norms on how organizations operate. This year companies saw how fragile their supply chains were and needed to adapt to new customer needs. Those who adjusted to these changes sooner became the most successful this year. 2021 made one realize that if businesses continue to have a direct outlook and sharp focus on their digital and tech transformations, they will emerge as the new leaders. This year I learned that leaders don’t wait for the “new normal,” instead they build one. 2021 was all about growing investments in AI, cloud computing, robotic process automation and hybrid work culture. There were also nation-state led cyberattacks that dominated a large portion of the cyber-related news cycle at the end of 2020 and throughout most of 2021.

Rahul Joshi, CTO, CSS Corp:
“If we look at the industry today, most tech or non-tech organizations generate consumer benefits and business value by leveraging 70 to 80% AI-led operations and creating AI-infused products and applications. While AI can be a helpful tool to increase productivity and reduce the need for people to perform repetitive tasks, it can also give rise to a host of significant unintended (or maliciously intended) consequences for individuals, organizations, and society. Most organizations have bias bounties in place, and this trend will run rampant in the coming years.”

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World Environment Day 2022: Technology companies on prioritizing sustainability and driving transformative environmental change

A recent study by NASSCOM and BCG highlights that increased efforts towards ESG initiatives will drive growth for technology organisations in India. The emphasis on sustainability not only has a positive impact on the planet but also presents a huge economic opportunity. That’s why recent years have seen sustainability emerge at the top of the corporate agenda, with both clients and employees choosing to partner with companies that have prioritized it.

Today, as the world celebrates Environment Day, we hear from some of the experts from the technology industry on why sustainability should be made a priority for technology companies.

Environment protection isn’t a job of a single individual, company, or organization, it’s a collective responsibility of all of us. Paying attention to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns is becoming increasingly critical for all organizations across all industries. And the technology sector is no different. Undoubtedly by going green, tech companies can play a significant role in correcting the effects of climate change using their resources and platform. This will help businesses contribute to two things: making the world greener and sustainable and secondly, it helps companies create an innovative culture, improve efficiency, competitive agility, employee engagement, and thus drive growth.

Besides, it’s not just the tech companies that aggressively implement sustainable and environmentally friendly business practices; it’s also consumers who demand it. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, there has been a 71% rise in global online searches for sustainable goods over the past 5 years. Also, research by New York University’s Stern Center for Sustainable Business has found that sustainable brands have increased their share of the U.S. market during the pandemic, demonstrating this trend. This trend isn’t just in first-world countries or the FMCG industry; it’s everywhere! Customers are engaging with sustainable businesses in ways that they previously ignored. While many consumers actively seek out brands and companies that align with their values, they’re also willing to switch products/companies when something violates their ethics. These proof points are testament to the fact that sustainability is more important than ever today. Technology companies have a strong global reach and impact on people, hence they have a great opportunity to lead the way by incorporating sustainability into their core philosophy.

Over the past 10 years, environmental issues have encroached on businesses’ capacity to create value for customers, partners, and stakeholders. Managing climate-related risks and creating opportunities for business growth are intertwined, and tech companies understand that. Managing the green line is an imperative business approach in creating long-term value. As the expectations on corporate responsibility increase, and as transparency becomes more prevalent, having sustainable strategies in place is a ‘must-have,’ not a ‘nice to have.’ For the IT sector, the two major concerns are managing e-waste and reducing carbon footprint. At CSS Corp, we have implemented an effective carbon management strategy and sustainable business practices that help enrich our environment and not suffocate it.

As part of the digital initiative, CSS Corp has started to expand its capabilities to include website carbon neutral strategies and cater to the growing demand for sustainable services for existing and new clients. We have conducted extensive research work on assessing carbon scores of over 500 websites and analyzed the factors that impact the scores, and devised optimization approaches for greener websites. Besides, our efficient and sustainable practices helped us reduce GHG emissions by about 91%, prevented the axing of approximately 72 fully grown trees, reduced electricity consumption by 50,08,880 KWhr, and disposed of 442kgs E-waste through authorized recyclers.

Our work culture promotes global environmental sustainability — the consistent emphasis on reducing energy levels, including monitoring energy consumption trends, identifying reduction opportunities, and technology up-gradation, continues to be on our priority list. Since 2014, we have been committed to UNGC principles and support its efforts by ensuring our business practices are built on equality, sustainability, and human rights.

The core value of ESG is being a responsible and trustworthy business. At CSS Corp, there has been a strong encouragement to adopt agile working practices such as minimizing commute, which in a way influences reduction of carbon footprint. The awareness of mental health importance across different global centers have helped employees in fostering good work-life balance. ESG is a complex topic that has evolved rapidly in the last decade, and many concepts and themes have matured into standard practices. In the coming years, there are likely to be more mandatory demands from both consumers and end-users, and many organizations are actively working on adopting, acting more responsible and leverage technology to create sustainable outcomes. – Kiran Marri, Chief Scientist, CSS Corp

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