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5 Minutes With Ramesh Narayanaswamy

6th Jan 2016

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Ramesh has twenty years of developing technology frameworks and innovative delivery models, which ensure standardization of operational process, products and platforms and bridging the gap between the legacy and digital world. Before his role as Chief Information Officer at Singapore Post, he worked with Citibank and Standard Chartered Bank as Head of Technology Solution Delivery.

He has served on a number of customer and advisory forums for companies including Visa and SAP. A thought leader in the area of digital transformation, payments and innovation and latest technology topics, he has presented in a number of conferences globally. Executive member of the Singapore Information Technology association and advice a number of start-up companies in various industry verticals.

Passionate about building solutions for consumers to make their everyday life easy. Firm believer in adoption of technology is what will differentiate companies and nations in the next few decades.

What are your digital / technology priorities for the year ahead?

Singpost’s priority is always on creating new business model. Making sure that all integrations are done correctly and customers are rightly served. There’s no need to find new technologies as industries will always come up with new things, the key thing is business model, processes, people and to maximize the existing technologies. 
Second, we might take a look at drones and up to what extent it can be commercialized. Third, we will have a close watch at how the retail world is going to change. Fourth, is Payments. I really feel that something will happen in the next 18 months it could be bitcoin and other related platforms. The current payment system doesn’t support the transition which is happening in the industry. 

Which brands or businesses are using digital / technology to its full potential and how?

All businesses are involved in this. Digital is our vision. Though definition of digital could be different to each teams. It is not just a CIO job but of everyone. There will be a generation of product ideas, discussion on customer experience which will be handled by the digital team. But the delivery will always come back to me.  If everyone will create their own digital products  it will become a technology nightmare - architecture is different, too many programming languages, but the key thing is how fast to bridge the gap. You need to be fast and agile. Get the ideas and give people responsibilities but ensure that there is a structure that will allow collaboration well.

What emerging technologies or trends should people be aware of? 

IOT is a reality. All these technologies are converging from your mobile, data, everything. You cannot separate digital data mobile from the rest. Whatever data you are collecting you need to have a logic to process them and that will help you in digital transformation. There is too much compartmentalization of digital data mobile and how  you get all these things together is very important thing which we need to watch out.

How are people’s roles and positions in companies changing with the emergence of digital and technology?

People’s roles have always changed. When the first computer was invented and when the first mobile device came, people asked the same question. Human beings have the capability to adapt and change themselves. Question is how fast. If you give each one 5 years to change, in time they will adapt. But we don’t have 5 years. So whoever changes fast will evolve and those who will take a long time to change will crushed in this digital age.

What’s the best piece of innovation you have seen in recent time and why?

Quite a few. Everything that revolves around mobile and the amount of information you can get about yourself by various online applications.  I can check my Blood pressure, calorie intake, heart rate which helps you get a different perspective of yourself. The whole concept of online classrooms and social media are remarkably thorough. And you have an access to everything on your fingertips which was grueling task 20 years back.

What Industry disruptions are you currently experiencing?

The industry disruption comes from another industry. This is very different 40 years back when the disruption came from the same industry. Take for example Uber, they do courier delivery, food delivery, they don’t do taxi alone. So imagine if Uber is on parcel delivery, we should be worried about them. Same thing if we do remittances, banks will be worried about us. The core business will just keep on functioning but it gets affected by completely different dynamic you won’t expect. 

What innovations do you take to improve the disruption?

Innovation doesn’t mean it’s something new. We believe that innovation is continuous. We just keep doing what we have been doing and at the same time keep experimenting. Innovation is change. If you manage to change then you are innovating.

What is your favorite local food?

I’m vegetarian. I like Rang Mahal. I also like Cut but, I don’t eat their steak.  I just eat all the luscious sides and exceptional wines.

Where is your favorite place to travel?

Hong Kong and Dubai.

iOS or Android?

iOS.

Facebook or Instagram?

Facebook.

What piece of advice can you give to fresh graduates who are still trying to find their place in the industry?

It’s difficult to be the next Bill gates or Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg. There are no shortcuts. You always have to know the fundamentals and go back to basics. Learning is always two ways. Books and schools will give you half of what you need to know. It’s always good to meet and talk to people in the industry.  Continue to learn from each other.