“We have a front row seat to the threats, exposure to information, networks and infrastructure…Cyber security is a very real issue and [NTT] can help.”
EM: Being with NTT DATA since 2005 it looks like you have worn several ‘different hats’. Tell our readers about your work experiences that has brought you to this point in your career.
Shamlan Siddiqi: I have over 20 years of experience in the IT services industry. Prior to my current role, I was the Vice President of our Digital Practice, establishing and overseeing major Centers of Excellence including IoT, AI and Blockchain. I have also served as the Vice President of North America Architecture and Application Development establishing, incubating and growing several technology practices (including Mobile, Social, Interactive/ Responsive Web, User Experience to name a few) with double digit revenue growth while solving customers’ most important business problems through innovative and repeatable business driven, technology enabled solutions. I also provided oversight to our delivery teams in both roles to not only define the vision for emerging technology, but to also deliver that vision to our clients. This experience has helped me understand how to most effectively apply the right innovations to the right use cases and projects while keeping delivery risk, cost, resource mix, practicality, relevance and value among other factors, in mind.
You were appointed as CTO of NTT DATA public sector group in April of this year. How is the new role going and what are some of the high points so far?
Siddiqi: As CTO for NTT DATA Public Sector, I spearhead the technology, advisory, innovation vision and strategy from a customer perspective. As a company NTT DATA is passionate about our customers. In fact, one of our core values is client first.
From a customer perspective – For the first several months in my role, I made it a point to meet with customers, old, new and prospects. I wanted to take the pulse of the public sector. I wanted to see what challenges our clients were facing, with implementation, technologies, budgets, modernization. I spent a lot of time listening and that was important. I wanted to understand how my experience in the commercial sector could be brought to bear in the government. In short, how could I help? I honestly believe that this position is a culmination of all my experiences—whether its driving digital transformation, developing an innovation roadmap, institutionalizing a culture of innovation or creating an application or architecture—it’s all there and it all comes into play with helping the public sector. Every customer is different, every challenge is a puzzle to be solved and I know how the pieces fit.
Technology is another very high point and aligns to our other core value – Foresight. In my role, I get to evaluate, learn about, and put together the latest and greatest that technology has to offer to the betterment of government. I do the legwork and share my insights with our customers. I have been able to work with colleagues in the field and throughout the innovation centers at NTT DATA to experiment and develop a path forward for future technologies, like blockchain, IOT and smart cities to name a few. I am connected with technologists from around the world, really brilliant men and woman that are making a difference in the lives of people on a daily basis. It can be as simple as using geospatial location services to notify citizens a garbage truck is nearby or using facial recognition software to take the pulse of a crowd at an outdoor concert to identify for first responders that trouble is brewing.
It has been a year since NTT DATA acquired Dell services. From the merger where has the NTT DATA public sector business seen the greatest technology benefits?
Siddiqi: Dell Services capabilities complement NTT DATA perfectly, in particular with the added firepower with infrastructure services, BPO and cloud. They round out a strong portfolio—that is backed by a global IT powerhouse that is NTT DATA. We can deliver a depth and breadth of capabilities that is truly unmatched within the government marketplace. The acquisition of Dell Services became a force multiplier for NTT DATA. As a top 10 global IT and communication company NTT DATA had a lot to offer, with Dell Services our portfolio was expanded exponentially. We can solve our client’s IT challenges from A-Z…. application modernization to zero-downtime deployments and everything in between from cyber protection to software as a service.
NTT DATA delivers many technology solutions to the public sector. Where do you see NTT creating the greatest value?
Siddiqi: NTT DATA holds a unique position within the public sector, we’re a step beyond the pure play systems integrators. We have a global presence beyond one area of technology or expertise. For example, NTT DATA is the largest data center operator in the world with over 240 data centers, over 40 percent of the worlds internet traffic travels through our data centers. Imagine the insight we can gain from visibility to that magnitude of data. We have a front row seat to the threats, not to mention exposure to information/ data, networks and infrastructure. This is a golden ticket for government -the public sector is struggling with end-to-end protection. Cyber security is a very real issue and we can help. Each year we publish a Global Security Threat Intelligence Report. NTT Security summarizes data from over 4.5 trillion logs and 6.2 billion attacks annually for the report. Analysis is based on log, event, attack, incident and vulnerability data. It also includes details from NTT Security research sources, including global honeypots and sandboxes in over 100 different countries in environments independent from institutional infrastructures. This is not information that our competition has access to; it is NTT DATA all the way. NTT DATA is a global innovator. I know, everyone claims innovation these days, but NTT DATA delivers applied innovation in many ways so our clients don’t have to.
A few examples include:
• Developing a cognitive IT security platform that collects and analyzes threat information from hundreds of diverse sources to deliver actionable results
• Creatively combining technologies like inputs from sensors, big data analytics, domain expertise, with citizen engagement to provide actionable interventions that reduced traffic congestion.
• Capturing and measuring (in real-time) heart rate, respiratory rate intervals, and muscle activity in the form of electrocardiogram (ECG) and electromyogram (EMG) waveforms inside a precision racing engine (race car) going 230 miles an hour using an innovative wearable sensor based shirt called HITOE – which is our electro-conductive nano-fiber based fabric which collects physiological electrical data.
• Developed a blockchain based insurance policy for marine cargo insurance certificates
• Used Machine Learning (AI) to predict whether a set of selected symptoms that are fatal and occur frequently for ICU patients (septic shock, drop in blood pressure and hypoxemia) will occur within two hours. Model with 80% accuracy and now rolling out service to over 50 hospitals. Provided user friendly tool for collecting enormous volumes of data generated in the ICU.
NTT DATA’s R&D efforts cover a broad spectrum of technologies. As part of a larger family of companies – the NTT Group – we have a strong foundation, focus and corporate commitment to technology and innovation. Our global offerings span everything from enterprise mobility, user experience, automated workplace services/ end user computing, application modernization to software defined data centers and managed cloud services, and we’ve been partnering with the federal government for more than 50 years focused on positively impacting the lives of citizens.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the public sector in terms of adopting and implementing new technology?
Siddiqi: At NTT DATA, we look at things from a ‘Client First’ perspective – it’s all about citizen engagement. How to get the services that the citizens demand to them safely, cost effectively, and conveniently—using the latest technologies where and when applicable while being fiscally responsible. How to enhance the lives of the public that we serve. Depending on the government entity this presents challenges in any number of areas but what we are seeing is aging infrastructure, technical debt, a lack of skilled labor, challenges in contracting (Lowest price technically acceptable – LPTA), risk aversion, big concerns about security (which has been an afterthought until now) and of course all of this is magnified by budget challenges inherent to the government market.
Today’s constituent expects more from government. They want to interact with government in the same way they do with the private sector—faster, mobile, immediate, more conveniently – we work on addressing real-world challenges daily and I truly believe that all challenges can be overcome with creativity and hard work.