Anil Tari

CIO 2023

A Visionary CIO Driving Transformation and Inspiring Innovation

Anil Tari

Director IS & IT SSC Leader,

Ingram Micro

Anil Tari, the Director of IT SAP – Global CoE at Ingram Micro, is a seasoned professional with 28+ years of experience. With expertise in SAP and allied technologies, he excels in IT strategy, IT and Digital transformation, project management, and more. Anil’s extensive domain knowledge includes process industries like steel and chemicals, distribution, logistics, and supply chain management. He has led successful SAP projects in these areas and played a key role in global business and IT transformation initiatives. Anil’s contribution to Indian PSU SAP implementations, resulting in two prestigious SAP AcE awards, is noteworthy. He has been actively involved in building IT competencies and CoE’s.
As a skilled communicator, Anil has forged strong partnerships in international and domestic markets. In his role as a business leader, he manages IT business functions like IT Strategy, Project Delivery, GDC & Shared Service Centre Management, and Competency & CoE Set up & Management. Anil’s leadership style is transformational, emphasising empowerment, goal setting, and clear paths to success.
Anil’s professional journey has been shaped by valuable experiences. After initial years at Mitsubishi & Thermax as Welding Metallurgist, at Satyam Computers, he progressed from an SAP consultant to a regional account manager, benefiting from a work environment that valued freedom and empowerment. Transitioning to Tech Mahindra provided insights into mergers and acquisitions and exposure to diverse leadership styles. Anil’s experience with SAP implementations across industries and geographies further expanded his expertise.
At Ingram Micro, Anil continues to enhance his global executive management skills, contributing to the company’s success. His dedication to transformative leadership inspires others to embrace change and drive meaningful outcomes. TradeFlock indulged in an exclusive conversation with Anil to understand his journey, experiences, and more.

What is your view on the impact of AI on the IT sector and the role of information officers? Which AI applications or technologies do you think will be transformative?

One of the most significant ways AI has affected the IT industry is through automation. Companies can automate many of their more complicated processes using AI-powered tools and software. This not only saves time and resources but also decreases the possibility of human error. For example, AI-powered chatbots can handle customer inquiries and support tickets, freeing up IT staff to focus on more complex tasks. Similarly, AI can automate software testing and deployment, improving the speed and quality of software releases.
AI has identified opportunities within our data that would otherwise have been overlooked. This has increased productivity and allowed our employees to focus on more meaningful work. It has significantly improved lead generation, reduced costs, facilitated faster and more effective recruitment, and given customers a better understanding of their needs. AI will have a transformative impact on customer experience and service.

How have you approached competency building and effectively navigated business conversations to drive positive outcomes?

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” This is a famous quote by Henry Ford, and it’s true.
Most of the time, your customers and business do not know what they want. That’s why it’s important to engage businesses and discuss at length what they really want. The core issue is not the “nice to have” requirements. This can be achieved by building the right domain competencies that can understand customer language and sense the pulse of the business. One such example is, while working for IT Implementations for Steel Industry customers, I built the competency of metallurgists and got them trained on ERP rather than training general ERP consultants on metallurgical concepts, which would have been very difficult otherwise.

How do you align IT initiatives with business objectives? Which methodologies or frameworks do you use?

In my opinion, gone are the days when IT and business strategies used to be different or some sort of alignment had to be brought between them. Now IT is an integral part of any business and can be called a “digital twin.” Preference must be given to fastchanging market dynamics and how your business is trying to adapt to them.
Just because we have implemented some big ERP or e-commerce platforms through heavy investment earlier does not mean we try to model our changing business needs around that and do some patchy work rather than go for a complete overhaul. It’s important to take that call as early as possible and go for a complete revamp rather than trying to adapt to new business needs with older systems. Being agile is important in this world now, and there are various agile and kanban techniques to be used to prioritise your needs and requirements and deliver them in a time bound manner.

Could you share your approach to leadership and how you have fostered a culture of innovation and growth within your organisation?

I categorise myself as having a transformational leadership style that emphasises change and transformation by focusing on the future, focusing on change, and focusing on people. Focusing on the future and focusing on change is possible only by fostering an innovation and growth culture within your team.
Transformational leaders always look ahead and think about what needs to be done to achieve the organisation’s goals. The organisational goals may need changes, and leaders understand it is necessary for organisational success. They work to ensure their followers are comfortable with change and can adapt to it by developing their followers’ individual strengths and abilities so that they can reach their full potential.
It is important to be transparent about the future and the possible changes it may bring to an organisation and its people. Once the goal is understood, it becomes easier to motivate your team to work towards that goal through research and innovation.

What are the major challenges in implementing large-scale IT transformation projects, and how have you effectively overcome them in your career?

Organisational change management (OCM) is the biggest challenge for any organisation going through large-scale IT transformation projects. Business teams are hesitant to change their way of working, coming out of their comfort zone gained through a timetested working model. Technology is only an enabler, and which technology or which IT platform doesn’t really matter much here.
I always believed in a top-down OCM approach and targeted top management first for alignment. Once they are aligned, IT transformation can be achieved through a combination of training, testing, and soft but forced change management.
















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