V S Parthasarathy or ‘Partha’ as he is fondly known, has a strong background in business. In the past 11 years at Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), he took on the IT mantle and quickly adapted to this role, while continuing to drive key business initiatives for several group’s companies. He’s known to be a ‘multifaceted’ CIO who is adept with both business and technology aspects. Partha was the unanimous choice of all the jury members (except one). And the jury did not collaborate on their decision.
One jury member said, “Partha took over the mantle from a seasoned CIO and fitted well into the shoes. His articulation of IT and linkage to business is excellent. While in his tenure as the Group CIO, significant projects have not yet been executed, but the overall responsibility and role which he has been managing deserves commendation.” And another said, “Partha has been spearheading multifarious activities and is highly visible on the IT landscape. He has articulated his role in the business well and has proved that he lives the IT role through great projects such as the SAP implementation. He is a great example of the CIO role changing in a big way and demonstrates how IT helps the business.”
Partha joined M&M in 2000 as Head of Information Technology & Performance Management. He gained rich experience on the business side, having served several key positions and roles such as Accounts & Finance, business planning, international operations, policy deployment, strategy, and mergers and acquisitions for the farm equipment sector.
The Mahindra Group is a federation of various companies. Today, Partha is Director at 19 of the group’s companies, including listed companies in various sectors. He is also a member of the Group Executive Board at M&M. Clearly, this puts him at the helm of business. In his role as the Head of International Operations, Partha is responsible for proliferating IT Systems and processes globally through various business expansions in China, Australia and the U.S.
Partha has invested more than 10 years as Head IT, driving and evolving the IT strategies for the group. He has led various group companies with IT initiatives that have led to extensive cost savings, and standardization across the group (which also helped in group level alignment). As Group CIO, he took charge of the ambitious Project Harmony, which was initiated by his predecessor. This project is a group-wide initiative to achieve common processes on a single ERP platform (SAP).
He is also leading initiatives on Information Security, Business Process Management (IT-BPR) and Knowledge Management. In addition, Partha led innovative projects on spend analysis, vendor rationalization and decision support system.
Within M&A, his focus is to enable inorganic growth strategy of business through innovative solutions and set up systems and processes. Under his leadership M&A team has executed more than 25 transactions/acquisitions across geographies.
Partha’s contribution to the business is visible across most initiatives. And this was articulated well in his nomination, with ROI gains backed by some percentages. However, the jury felt that he was not a part of some major initiatives.
Under Partha’s leadership M&M has won a number of awards, some are his personal accolades. Several of Partha’s team members have taken leadership positions, including CEO positions.
At M&M Partha is also head of various committees such as the Information Security Apex committee, the IT Committee for Finance Heads and IT Heads, the Talent Management Council, the Corporate Projects & Budget Cell and the Service Center (BPO operations). No wonder he has earned the title ‘multifaceted’ CIO.
In a tele-interview with a jury member, Parthasarathy said, “IT is like two sides of a coin: business cannot have strategy without IT and IT helps transforms business. When they sit together, there is synergy, when they do not, they have silos, which is not great for the company.”