Anup Purohit

Anup Purohit

CIO at Wipro

Anup Purohit on the need for CIOs to balance the adoption of AI with data security, and why IT leaders must continue to upskill themselves and their teams

With more than 25 years of experience across Banking and Financial Services, centred around Innovation in Digital Banking, Financial Management, Business Solutions & Service Delivery, Portfolio & Program Management, Risk & Controls and Information Security, Anup Purohit is the Chief Information Officer at leading global information technology, consulting and business process services company Wipro. 

In his role today Purohit is at the helm of Wipro’s digital transformation journey, where his core focus is to rearchitect technology & business aligned system footprints, strengthen digital security & trust, create AI & ML based data lake platform for business intelligence, and building a culture that fosters innovation.

As a technology leader, he provides direction in aligning technology with business strategies, reimagining customer success, weaving data and information into power, turning Wipro into a digital showcase for customers, and leveraging technology to create value for the business.

In his most recent role as the CIO of Yes Bank, Anup was in charge of spearheading Business Technology Transformation, AI ML based Business Intelligence & Analytics and Digital Innovation strategy & execution with a relentless focus on bringing future technology into the bank’s current technology stack to provide business an edge in competitive market. 

Prior to that, Anup was associated with financial institutions such as RBL Bank, Barclays Bank and JPMorgan Chase in leadership roles, where he was responsible for building agile, robust, scalable, and resilient technology platforms and processes, business solutions and service delivery. 

Here, Technology Magazine speaks with Purohit about the need for CIOs to balance the adoption of new technologies with data security, and why IT leaders must continue to upskill themselves and their teams.

Given the rapid advancements in AI, how should CIOs balance adopting new technologies with ensuring data protection?

While only 9% of CIOs have already deployed Gen AI, over 55% say they will deploy it over the next 24 months. Therefore, whilst building up good business acumen, it’s important for CIOs to not neglect their technical side with the rise of AI and other emerging technologies. 

“This is a very fine balancing act for us to manage in today’s rapidly evolving technology landscape,” Purohit explains. “As an organisation, it’s critical for us to embrace new technologies to drive innovation, improve operational efficiency and gain a competitive edge. 

“However, with this comes the responsibility of safeguarding data and maintaining the trust of all stakeholders. The establishment of an ethical guideline for AI development and deployment is a critical requirement for organisations and to ensure that all algorithms and models are designed and utilised in a private, fair and transparent manner.”

What key components should CIOs focus on to build a secure and ethical AI infrastructure?

When it comes to responsible AI frameworks, Purohit describes that CIOs should look to spend time understanding AI and build necessary guardrails around enterprise data protection by investing in the right forms of this increasingly popular technology. They should be careful, however, in implementing new tech despite the hype surrounding AI, which Wipro’s responsible AI framework underpins. 

“At Wipro, our responsible AI framework is based on four pillars which we are aligned to and are paving the way for a responsible future,” he says. “The first safeguards individual dignity and champions the security of personal information. The second social dimension aims to improve society and strengthen the values like creation of trust and avoid the distribution of misinformation. The third pillar refers to the security that is embedded in all AI and is underpinned by strong governance. The final pillar refers to using energy efficient options to reduce our carbon footprint on the environment.”

What strategies should CIOs employ to build their technical capabilities amid the rise in AI, and what key qualities should CIOs look for in teams when it comes to tackling new business challenges?

As Purohit reiterates, for Wipro ensuring ethical and responsible use of AI and compliance with data privacy regulations is critical. “Additionally, we need to ensure the availability of high quality data and access to pertinent data sources. To tackle this we made strategic investments in data governance practices, advanced data quality assessment tools and robust data integration capabilities. Additionally, we closely collaborated with business units to identify and prioritise critical data sources and we implemented data lakes and data warehouses to centralise and effectively manage a wild array of data types.”

Wipro’s second strategy has been to upskill the team. “Building a skilled AI team has been an ongoing working area for us,” Purohit adds. “We are still in the early days of comprehensive integration of AI in our everyday lives. The demand for AI and machine learning expertise often outstrips the supply of qualified professionals. To overcome this, we implemented a comprehensive talent skilling strategy that includes providing training and certifications for our existing talent pool. This starts with a basic Gen AI 101 and moves onto advanced courses and accreditations through workshops and online courses.”

What does the next 12-18 months look like for Wipro when it comes to AI?

“Gen AI and foundational AI in everything we do, is now our new mantra. Wipro is going through a mindset shift where we now ask – Does this piece of technology or data structures or functionality or product we are building have a placeholder for future embedment of AI into it. 

“Our view is that the people who embrace AI will be able to augment and enhance their output to unlock success. Our billion-dollar investment in AI is testament to that, which is robustly supported by a responsible AI framework underpinning everything we do. Wipro has now moved from ‘Talk AI’ to ‘Executing At Scale’.”

 

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