Rangarajan Narasimhan

CIO 2023

From IT Expert to AI Visionary

Rangarajan Narasimhan

Vice President, IT - ASI & Global Automation,

Vertiv

Amidst the ever-changing landscape of IT and digital advancements, every company seeks a leader who stands out strong shaping the course of the industry with remarkable prowess. Enabling this is Rangaraja Narasimhan, fondly known as Ranga. As the Vice President of IT at Vertiv for the ASI area, Ranga’s IT knowledge and unwavering commitment to bringing about positive change have made him a prominent figure in the sector.
Ranga’s journey in the world of technology began with a solid foundation in education. Armed with a Master’s in IT, he embarked on a career that has now spanned over 24 illustrious years. Beyond Vertiv, throughout his remarkable journey, he has graced the corridors of esteemed multinational conglomerates such as Godrej Agrovet Private Limited, Tata Consultancy Services, Adient China Investment Co. Ltd., and Virtusa, where he held multifaceted leadership roles. Having delivered transformative digital and cloud services to numerous Fortune 500 clients, Ranga’s expertise transcends industry boundaries. From manufacturing to transportation, life sciences to IT services providers, his influence has traversed diverse sectors, leaving behind a trail of innovation and excellence. Ranga’s impact also extends beyond the corporate realm. His commitment to social responsibility and making a tangible difference in society speaks volumes about his character. Currently serving as an advisor to the Tree Ambulance Foundation, President of the All India Social Activist and NGO associations, and an advisor to the Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam International Foundation, Ranga’s passion for philanthropy is evident.
Recognition for Ranga’s leadership and interpersonal finesse came in the form of the prestigious “Eminent Indian Award” bestowed upon him by the London Parliament. This accolade stands as a testament to his ability to inspire and create positive change on a global scale. Amidst his flourishing career and philanthropic endeavours, Ranga’s life motto remains simple yet profound: “Making a difference in other people’s lives that creates a better nation, a better society, and a better you.” This sentiment exemplifies his dedication to empowering others and fostering a collective vision of a brighter, more inclusive world.
As Ranga continues to push the boundaries of innovation and social impact, TradeFlock initiated a conversation with him to learn of his influence in the IT industry and beyond, which will undoubtedly leave an enduring legacy.

Can you walk me through your journey to becoming the Vice President of IT for ASI and Global Automation at Vertiv, and the key decisions that led you to this role?

My professional journey commenced as the IT head for the ASI region, where I honed my expertise in managing information technology operations across diverse countries. My relentless pursuit of excellence and consistent delivery of successful digital and cloud transformation services caught the attention of the organisation’s leadership, opening doors to take on additional responsibilities. The pivotal moment arrived when I was entrusted with leading the global automation efforts, a role that allowed me to demonstrate my ability to optimise processes and drive tangible efficiency improvements such as minimising the need for on-premises hardware maintenance and allowing flexible scaling of resources through cloud computing, opting for DevOps practices to streamline development and operations teams, and using AI/ML algorithms to enhance data analysis,.
Through a series of strategic decisions, I navigated the complexities of managing multinational conglomerates and successfully executed technology initiatives. My commitment to understanding the unique nuances of each region’s practises and cultures became instrumental in delivering tailored IT solutions that resonated with the specific needs of organisations in various countries. These decisions laid the foundation for my progression to the esteemed position of Vice President of IT for the ASI region and Global Automation for Vertiv.

How does your IT expertise influence your role in social activism and CSR initiatives?

My expertise in information technology plays a pivotal role in my involvement in social activism and CSR initiatives. Leveraging technological advancements and innovative solutions, we support, and mentor individuals engaged in social causes to help them realise their ideas and projects. Embracing technology allows us to identify and amplify talent, fostering positive change within communities. Moreover, our focus on efficiently utilising IT resources ensures the effective implementation of CSR projects, maximising their impact and reach.

Could you share some successful automation strategies and their benefits for the organisation?

I have a focus on fostering a high performance culture, and IT and automation are crucial to achieve this. Automation has played a transformative role in enhancing operational efficiency and productivity within organisations. By identifying and automating redundant processes, we have achieved significant time and resource savings, allowing our workforce to focus on more value-added tasks. Moreover, our emphasis on cultivating a positive automation culture has encouraged employees to contribute innovative ideas, resulting in continuous process optimisation and astreamlined workflow. As a result, the organisation has experienced exponential growth and heightened support from employees, elevating our overall performance and service delivery.

What advice would you give to aspiring IT professionals striving for excellence in their careers?

To aspiring IT professionals, I offer the following advice: Embrace a mindset of continuous learning and remain open to exploring new perspectives and ideas. Differentiation is key to standing out in a competitive field, so seek innovative approaches to problemsolving and consistently aim for excellence in all endeavours. By leveraging your unique skills and expertise, you can make a profound impact on both the organisation and society at large. Additionally, demonstrating unwavering dedication to your craft and a passion for using technology as an enabler for positive change will undoubtedly pave the way for a successful and fulfilling career journey.

How did you overcome the challenges you faced while working with diverse multinational companies?

Working with diverse multinational companies indeed presented a myriad of challenges, such as language barriers, cultural differences, and varying business practises. To overcome these hurdles, I adopted a proactive approach focused on fostering collaboration and inclusivity. Engaging with local teams and actively listening to their insights allowed me to gain a comprehensive understanding of the unique requirements and expectations of each region, while adopting tools to improve communication and collaboration between the internal teams.
By ensuring early successes through meticulously planned implementations, I instilled confidence and trust within the teams, leading to smooth and successful adoptions of IT strategies tailored to each organisation’s needs.

Making a difference in other people's lives that creates a better nation, a better society, and a better you.

How do you adapt IT strategies to address the varying needs of organisations across different countries?

Adapting IT strategies to cater to diverse organisational needs across different countries is a delicate balancing act that necessitates a localised approach. I firmly believe in involving local teams in decision-making processes, as they possess invaluable insights into their respective markets. By empowering employees to contribute ideas and innovative solutions, we create a collaborative environment that aligns technology initiatives with the unique requirements of each region. This approach ensures that IT strategies are not only relevant but also seamlessly integrated into the daily operations of organisations in different countries, enhancing overall effectiveness and efficiency.

How do you stay ahead of cybersecurity threats in the rapidly evolving IT landscape?

As the IT landscape evolves at a rapid pace, cybersecurity remains a top priority. We maintain a dedicated global security team with specialised expertise that continually monitors and identifies potential threats. Proactive measures, such as regular security reviews and adherence to stringent security guidelines, are integral to our approach. Our commitment to cybersecurity extends to all levels of IT projects, from initial design to final implementation, ensuring robust protection and safeguarding data integrity for our organisation and clients.

What leadership elements contributed to your success in the organisation?

The foundation of my leadership style centres around fostering a positive and collaborative work environment. I believe in the potential of individuals and their capacity to excel when provided with opportunities to contribute meaningfully. By encouraging open communication and active engagement with teams, I create a space for ideas to flourish and innovation to thrive. Empowering employees and nurturing a culture of trust and inclusivity has been instrumental in driving the organisation’s success, as it fosters a shared sense of ownership and commitment to achieving our collective goals. Additionally, I focus on encouraging an environment of learning and skill development, and rewarding employees with a growth path and promoting from within whenever possible.