It was my first time and so does InstaSafe. Its the filmfare or so as to say, Academy awards for ICT Vendors of India.
I am going to take you through the ultimate Award Ceremony for ICT vendors, CIO Choice 2015. CIO Choice is a premier B2B platform to recognise and honour products, services and solutions, backed by preferences of CIOs and ICT decision makers. It helps firms create a positive brand positioning for their products, services and/ors solutions as preferred CIO choice.
InstaSafe was very excited to have been nominated in couple of categories and I, along with Sandip, was representing our firm that evening at Hotel Lalit, Mumbai.
This year’s process is very transparent and conducted via an independent advisory panel of imminent CIOs, consisting of Jayantha Prabhu (CTO, Essar Group), Bishwanath Ghosh (Corporate CIO, Mahindra & Mahindra), Sumit Chowdhury (President, Reliance Jio Infocom), Kalpana Maniar (President & CIO, Edelweiss Capital), Suneel Aradhye (Group CIO, RPG Enterprises), Anthony Thomas (CIO, Vodafone), Hitesh Arora (CTO, Yum Brands), Mukesh Jain (Group CTO, Reliance Capital) and Yogesh Zope (Group CIO, Bharat Forge).
We went early to the event and took some time to freshen up at the restrooms. The best part of 5-star hotels are even though you are early, you can find nice space to freshen up and sit and cool down in the Lobby. Mumbai, being Mumbai, was not hot but definitely not cold enough to allow us in our suits from morning. I was in meetings from morning 9.30am and came into the event right after finishing a meeting at Andheri(East). As the meeting had gone well, I was in terrific mood and was looking forward to event with curiosity and nervousness combined like a deadly cocktail.
As the event started, I saw CIOs and some very eminent business leaders from Wipro, Vodafone, Sify, Rediff, Schneider Electric, Dell and many more coming by. Big large cars swamped the entrance of the Lalit for almost 2 hours. We were welcomed in the RED CARPET like celebrities.
Once the main door opened, we were left to glittering eye-opening hall. Left and right hand sides had very large size pictures of the eminent advisory panel. Soon, organisers started running from corner to corner to facilitate business leaders comfortable sitting as the seating arrangement felt sort of the estimations. This is very common and being part of event organising int he past, I can, only, commend the efforts by which they made adjustments like a bullet train. The hotel staff were, also, seen very supportive.
The host of the day was Aditya Mathur. I have met Aditya earlier and he is a commendable host with a great. He has led voices to some great commercials both on TV and Radio (see a video of his commercial here). Aditya welcomed all guests and started the event with our National Anthem. Anoop Mathur, MD of Centre of Recognition & Excellence (who organises CIO CHOICE every year), welcomed the guests and summarised the achievements of the organization and how the awards have only grow year after year since its inception in 2013.
Kunal Pande (Partner, KPMG), then, took the central stage and described the complete process and how KMG has been walking hand in hand with Centre of Excellence and Recognition for CIO Choice Awards to recognise ICT leaders in the country. KPMG has been the knowledge partner to CIO Choice and has been doing a great job.
The event began with the awards. Every time a category was announced, we had butterflies in our stomach and it used to go to a very well recognised brands. Entertainment sections with beautiful mix of singers and Indian and western dance troupes had been invited, were mixed in between the awards for entertainment purposes. In any award function or any event as such, it becomes critical to hold the attention of the audience after an hour and the CIO CHOICE team did a great job at it. The trick lies in continuity of being cynosure with passing moment.
One category in which we were fairly confident was “Cloud Security” and we knew we could stand against any vendor in that category in India. Finally, after an hour into the event, the “Cloud Security” category was announced. This time, we were confident but at the same time, there were too many butterflies this time (it seemed as if they had multiplied manifold in few seconds just like viruses reproducing themselves manifold to spread a disease. It was a great feeling when our name were called to receive the award. Niranjan Bhilavade (CIO, CEAT) and Puneet Kaur Kohli (Group Executive VP IT & CTO, Bajaj Capital) gave us the award that evening.
It was a great achievement for the complete team of InstaSafe (Ravikumar Govindarao, Biju George, Sandip Panda & Prashanth Guruswamy) as this award is a recognition of our hard work by the CIOs of India. We are proud to have received this award alongside some of the very known names such as Dell, Forrester, Wipro, Schneider Electric, Vodafone, Sify, Rediff, NetMagic, CtrlS and many more. It embarks a path to a new journey where we can showcase a trust imbibed by CIOs to their community as a trusted vendor in Cloud Security segment. For the first time, we are going to carry the vote of confidence of CIOs to their fellow CIOs. In the days to come, we look forward to carry the advantage and benefits of high awareness and visibility in the form of CIO CHOICE 2015 award thereby, leading to potential higher level of engagement and success.
The event ended with dinner and fun. Everyone came to the stage and enjoyed the evening a lot.
I would, like to take this opportunity to thank the CIOs who nominated and voted for us and especially Hariharan (Head IT, Sattva), Satyajit Sarkar (GM IT, DTDC), Satyavrat Mishra (Head IT, Madura Fashion & Lifestyle), Anil Reddy (Head IT and Chief People Officer, Sangeetha Mobiles), Mrinal Chakraborty (Director IT, StartTrek Logistics), Prasad PVJ (National Manager IT, Haefele), Jayantha Prabhu (CTO, Essar), TG Dhandapani (CIO, TVS), Vijay Sethi (VP & CIO, Hero), Prasenjit Mukerjee (GM IT, Reliance Energy), Manish Choksi (CIO, Asian Paints), Pankaj Bhargava (CIO, Pidilite), Captain Devendra Naidu (GM IT – Puravankara) and many more, without whom InstaSafe Secure Access (ISA) would not have been what it is today. Together, we would continue to build a world class product out of India.
Last but not the least, all our families (Poornima Madam, Priti and my wife, Monalisa and my parents) who have stood by us through our toughest times and continue to support in our journey in thick and thin of lifelines.
For people interested in knowing more about CIO Choice, please visit CIO CHOICE.
For detailed list of CIO Choice 2015 Awardees, please visit CIO CHOICE 2015 Recognitions.