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After a day of brilliant presentations and inspiring conversations, CIOCITY 17 woke up to another day of invaluable talks.
As Terence Barry returned to the stage and recapped the previous day key messages, a common message was pointed out: CIOs have nowadays more impact on the companies than anybody else and now it is the time get inspired and energized by all the enthusiasm, ideas and stories shared during CIOCITY 17 and start doing what inevitably needs to be done.
Building digital capabilities to ensure the success of your organisation
Frank Kennedy, CEO of IVI Services kicked-off the presentations explaining how the Innovation Value Institute is transforming the way public and private sector organisations manage IT capability to create business value and innovation through its IT-CMF framework. With a CIO’s role being so demanding in so many diverse areas, IT-CMF is a strategic framework that combines academic rigour with practical industry specific expertise to provide a consistent and systematic approach to the assessment and management of business value across IT.
So as to better understand how IT-CMF can be implemented and how it will transform an organisation, Tim Hynes, AIB’s CIO, shared his experience from beginning to end or, as he acknowledged, to a point where AIB is continuously improving its IT capabilities to create business value and iteratively measuring that evolution against previous IT-CMF assessments.
Being the largest retail and commercial bank in Ireland with a leading position in digital enablement, AIB has challenged itself with what could, at first, be seen as an unattainable ambition: being “recognized as having the best technology function of any Bank in Europe”. In order to achieve this, baselining current capabilities against those of their peer group to understand where the focus should be while enabling targeted improvement of capabilities was key to ensure the success of the process. Therefore, instead of going through several more technical frameworks, AIB opted for IT-CMF holistic framework.
But IT-CMF is no magical quick solution, as Tim Hynes pointed out: from the initial preparation sessions to the survey and from the follow-up interviews to the way the resulting findings shaped the next strategic steps and targets, an active CIO sponsorship plus a senior management full commitment and solid communication across the organisation are essential and the time it requires cannot be underestimated. If you are not all-in all the time, you are out.
Calling out for superheroes
From Ireland to Palo Alto, a call for superheroes was made by Jonathan Reichental. Why? As CIO of Palo Alto city, Jonathan alerted to the multiple issues that challenge our cities livability, workability and sustainability. Buildings, data and networks, economics, energy, governmental services, public safety, mobility, waste and water are the key areas that, in Palo Alto, require innovators to change into their capes and actively start transforming the city. This journey has already begun in Palo Alto with a traffic visualization system, a multi-platform solution for citizens to report issues and get notifications about government-provided services and several other initiatives that address transportation, sustainability, energy and utilities and digital services.
Inspiring, right? Apparently, the only villain here is inaction.
Enabling digital in a 126 year old company
As our final day continued, Philips’ Global Head of Digital Marketing, Blake Cahill, talked about how digital was enabled in this 126 year old company. Because people are always on-the-go, digitally empowered and multi and sequentially-tasking, the customer decision journey has evolved and will continue to do so and customers are the ones that now control the relationship with businesses. Additionally, with the rise of big data and big content, the customer experience must take centre stage with mobile as the interface.
So, how can a company push relevantly through this, transform itself and achieve digital leadership? According to Blake Cahill, it takes a strong and continuous investment in digital products and solutions, digital marketing and digital operations. This means going from analog products to connected propositions, from connected propositions to new business models and from these new business models to new forms of digital marketing.
For instance, in healthcare, Philips’ Lumify products and apps are improving patient outcomes by connecting them with healthcare professionals where and whenever care is needed. New business models emerge with software downloads, subscriptions or in-app purchases and a new digital marketing house is built upon the customer obsession main themes which cover its full decision journey.
Debunking the myths of digital disruption
Marion Debruyne, Dean & Professor of Marketing Strategy & Innovation at Vlerick Business School, followed the Philips case and started debunking the myths of disruption which tend to hinder it or trigger inadequate reactions that can compromise the future of the company.
Firstly, disruption is not a phenomenon of the digital age and does not hit you like a tsunami: it has been around for ages and much like snow starts melting from the edges when spring comes, you may not perceive it as the actual threat or opportunity it can be. Secondly, customers do not really think or care about disruption, but rather expect businesses to provide for their ever-evolving needs. On top that, thinking the next big disruption, like Netflix or Uber, is easy to spot or that it is just a brainstorm away is a dangerous mind-set: the best way to predict the future is to be an active part of it.
Rounding up this provocative presentation, Marion quoted Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s “Dream your worst nightmare, then invest in it” as a call to action in a challenging 3D (digital data disruption) world that harnesses big customer value opportunities in disruptive data-enabled business models.
Digital transformation in banking: the need for speed
Michel Hofman, CIO of Amsterdam Trade Bank began his talk by sharing the story of how, after the past years’ global crisis, ATB was forced to undertake a full transformation from a corporate lender to a commodity and asset backed finance institution. This process built on existing network advantages, portfolio growth and the implementation of a high performance operating model.
However, once this transformation was achieved, the financial services sector had also transformed into a complex web of players with major new challenges in areas such as regulations, strategy, governance, compliance and security. Instead of turning a blind eye and hope for the best or focusing on the difficulties ahead, ATB readily embraced these challenges as an opportunity to further transform the company.
Because digital transformation is a complex long-term process that can be overwhelming and there was no time to waste, instead of trying to address all potential transformation areas at once, ATB had to start this journey with a very clear strategy, design an appropriate governance framework and focus on the transformation initiatives that could bring the most value to the business and prepare it for the continuous changes ahead. This need for speed called for this focused approach, but as Michel Hofman acknowledged, it must always include a cultural change and the involvement and full commitment of all stakeholders from within and outside the company.
IT takes time to go fast
In the final keynote speech of this year’s CIOCITY, Herman De Prins, UCB’s CIO took us through the so far 7-year long digital transformation process this global biopharmaceutical has been going through.
Starting way back in 2010, a budget constrained and technologically mature healthcare environment with ever more empowered patients led to the conclusions that the traditional CIO role would soon be obsolete and that companies would need to innovate or risk becoming obsolete as well. This required a new strategy to save money, modernize IT and innovate in the core business. At this stage, the key strategic lines implemented across the company were streamlining, collaboration and innovation.
In 2011, digital transformation main focus turned to the people and in the following 5 years, this investment resulted in a full transformation where more than two thirds of UCB’s human resources have new roles and more than half have jobs that did not exist before. Fast forward to 2014 and a reliable and efficient business is in place through bimodal IT, DevOps and Agile with over 250 projects a year and products that can generate value for multiple uses. From predictive sciences, to understanding biology through 3D/VR solutions and from frameworks that enable a better evaluation of treatments’ effectiveness to chatbots for patients, UCB has continuously been creating value for its patients and, therefore, for the business.
So, what about today and tomorrow? As Herman De Prins shared, UCB’s current focus is integrating artificial intelligence across the whole value chain and although it now seems to be an obvious focus that UCB is more than ready to take on, it took time for IT to go this fast.