IT as an enabler and CXO's role... It can shape or break!!

Arvind Singh, Head - Mobility, Future Group India

With rising competition, operational cost & IT Budget going down in recent years, CIOs & CXOs have a very critical role in increasing enterprise productivity by harnessing existing limited IT resources intelligently & efficiently, connecting employees & bringing workplace efficiency.

The technology leaders should bring digital transformation & encourage its adoption in the organizations to enable connectivity between people, processes, products, platforms & partners.

For an interconnected enterprise, staying connected and relevant with ever-changing business models and product lines becomes possible by embracing solutions powered by social, mobile, cloud, analytics.

Every piece of data generated by people, device or system, is precious as it leads to meaningful information for an organization which could be exploited for competitive edge so it's important that data, in terms of email, chats, documents, images, reports and forms is properly managed, kept secure and is continuously analysed to draw meaningful information leading to valued business decisions in a cost effective manner.

As a CXO, one should promote a single view and a defined method for information related to the planning, selection, acquisition, operation and retirement of assets so asset could be properly used, adequately maintained and utilized before retiring.

Instead of spending heavily in procuring applications and softwares, installations charges and maintenance cost as traditional approaches, going for more cost saving software or platform as a service (PAAS/SAAS), on-demand scalable cloud Infra

IT leaders should invest in right tools and frameworks to simplify information flows and workplace transformation to bring Transparency, Visibility, Agility, Speed, Predictability, Consistency and Sustainable output in delivery practices.

As an organization, it is important to be Lean in terms of people and infra to stay competitive. All intense paper based documentation or communication are error prone and bring dissatisfaction at different levels. As an IT leader, we should promote a paperless or green organization as its digital, cost effective, efficient, better managed, easily locatable and leads to better communication and greater customer satisfaction.

Embrace simplified, constantly ready and prioritized IT infrastructure to deliver increasingly elevated degrees of business impact and relevance. Investing in innovation and automation, building micro-services (API), Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS), responsive design etc assures productivity through operational efficiency and services availability.

IT should enable collaboration between teams, geographies and choosing right talent and partners to increase efficiency, productivity and building seamless, enriched end-user experience and engagement.

CXOs should strategize around Security, Compliance, Access Control, Awareness and Trainings to reduce risks and keep long run expenses and costs in control. Putting framework and repository for content and Knowledge Management to encourage re-usability and innovation proves very handy for any organization.

Enabling HR processes, employee work assignments and reporting, approvals, leaves and attendance, expense management, incentive plans, KRA settings and appraisal processes on an integrated digital platform seamlessly and securely accessible across multiple channels would bring speed and efficiency. It will also make the workplace digital and employee friendly.

IT should ensure right product and software applications development and release processes, code repositories, setting up development, staging and production environments with right IT policies, security and compliances are ensured. Define SLAs, checklists, processes and responsibilities for timely IT requests resolution without impacting the project release dates.

CXO should build IT landscape around users rather than the traditional ways of focusing first on services, tools and platforms. Emphasize on effective processes and information flows refinement and real-time service integrations to drive timely actionable information.

Invest in Apps, IoT and Tools to provide insights into sales and performance, enabling business processes streamlining and data driven decision making rather than going with gut feeling to ensure that users across the value chain are better aligned with the business objectives.

IT leaders always look out for areas and operational/ business processes needs to be streamlined. Repetitive tasks like generating reports, recording customer complaints, maintaining release process, manual audit, inwarding and outwarding inventories checklists, invoices, credit notes, carrying surveys, collecting feedback etc leads to monotonous and unproductive workplace making employees unhappy, prone to manual errors and inefficiencies. Once the processes are identified, analysed and its value is measured, it should be automated by IT.

As PERT of workflow transformation, Identification of bottlenecks and loopholes, unnecessary steps in current processes should also get addressed. A CXO should promote putting a governance body to evaluate the investment or expenses being incurred. Also should encourage process management organisation to ensure that the projects and initiatives are following the best practices and processes, and being executed in a cost-effective manner.

Mobility initiatives like BYOD go a long way increasing productivity, bringing high level of Employee satisfaction, customer engagement and retention by providing flexibility any channel (or device), anytime, anywhere.

Making enterprise mobile enabled is the way to go!! as then employees will feel more Empowered and in-turn Maximize output and attain a high ROI.

The CXO has a vital strategic role to enable IT to help transform organization to a digitally interconnected workplace, with enhanced processes and productive workforce and a big stimulus to be more competitive and cost effective in the intense competition of today’s economy.