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Challenge in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2014
Our focus in 2014 will continue to be advancing our business goals in Electric/ Gas Delivery and Power Generation. Technology is becoming commoditized at faster rates than ever before and differentiation will require technology architectures that are capable of easily scaling with business needs (up or down), demonstrate secure designs and supply chains, incorporate innovative solutions, provide integrated stacks, and align to customer needs. The increasing focus on consumer segments is also creating challenges in areas like telecom or end-user computing, with the Blackberry implosion, there is an open opportunity for a new provider to cater to business needs in terms of economics, innovation, and security.
Solutions that would make my job easier
Application solutions that operate large components of our business on a real time basis are not available. Applications like Outage Management, Mobility, energy Management Systems, Distribution Management Systems, or Call Center continue to be sourced as best of breed solutions. Integrating diverse architectural frameworks, database models, and process views into end-to-end solutions that can support unified processes, common information, and real time operations continues to be a challenge.
Two trends that will have deep implications for IT architectures in Customer Service
a) ‘Pivot to mobile’ as customers increasingly consume services through smartphones/tablets and interact through social media channels; and b) Establishing a link between the traditional ‘relational database persona’ of customers, typically segmented by business variables like revenue, customer type, or product, and the ‘social media persona’ of those same customers which will be measured by variables like influence, relevancy, or social network penetration. Elements like brand development, communications, or community involvement will benefit greatly from a 360 degree view of customers social media profiles. In our business, the ‘Internet Of Things’ trend in an era of device to device communications will also integrate components of utility operations across segments of the supply chain previously disconnected.
Changing role of a CIO
The role of the CIO continues to be to support business functions to identify and realize value through applied technology. As the pace of business change is accelerating, the role of the CIO expands from focusing on operational excellence and cost control, to enable business change. We continue to be focused on lost controls and ensuring operational reliability, but as business conditions evolve due to business expansion, weather changes, or tighter operational goals; the CIO needs to drive innovative solutions to address the new business imperatives.
My word for a CIO
Make sure your customers feel it is all about them, have lofty goals while keeping both feet on the ground, build a network of varied advisors inside and outside your industry, benchmark, be ready to make difficult decisions, and never take ‘no’ for an answer.