Business decision makers across a range of industry sectors are dedicating more time and attention to understanding the strategic implications of disruptive technologies. They also want their companies to do a better job of embracing modern technologies and new channels of customer engagement and digital experience, according to the latest research from the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network, an international executive change advocacy group. The study is part of the BPI Network’s “Transform to Better Perform” knowledge transfer initiative, which is aimed at rating the level of innovation in IT organizations.
The new BPI Network study – “Accelerating Business Transformation Through IT Innovation: Getting the Business Leader Take on the IT Change Mandate” – suggests that business leaders are creating a new scorecard for IT organizations, one that is focused on business innovation and growth as primary objectives for technology deployment and management. It also finds that business executives favor transformation of their IT infrastructures, including the adoption of new cloud-enable hybrid IT models and data center modernization. The study is sponsored by Dimension Data, a $6.7 billion ICT solutions and services provider.
“From the C-suite to operational units, senior managers are eager to see progress in implementing a broad range of technologies that increase their agility, improve customer experience, and make their companies more competitive,” notes Dave Murray, head of thought leadership at the BPI Network. “We believe this constitutes a new scorecard for IT, with greater emphasis on IT’s role in driving business growth and market differentiation.”
A Real Estate Technology Transformation
Cary Sylvester, VP for Technology Innovation and Communication for Keller Williams, has spent much of the past year building worldwide services for the U.S.-based real estate giant. The company started with just a single office in Texas and now has more agents than any other real estate franchise in the world. Sylvester was tasked with helping the company expand its global operations in regions like Costa Rica, Dubai, Indonesia, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, the UK and Vietnam.
The global expansion pushed Keller Williams in a new direction. The company has partnered with Salesforce.com and Google to power a technology platform that it will offer to its offices and agents around the world. This takes advantage of existing global infrastructure rather than having to expand its data center. The result is a hybrid that makes use of the company’s current data center, while new products are cloud-based.
Sylvester has a few key pieces of advice for any CIO who is about to launch a technology transformation:
- Find a trusted partner to help. “When your team is knee-deep in the existing work, it’s hard to take a step back and see the forest through the trees,” she said. “We brought in an outside company to help us do that … Primarily, they’ve come in to help us figure out how to do what we need to do.”
- Manage organizational change. “Change doesn’t happen overnight,” said Sylvester. “Make sure you communicate [with management] and that you buy into what their long-term vision is.” She believes many CIOs and their staffs get overwhelmed when they don’t truly understand where the project is going.
- Once you have set the course, take small steps. “Then measure your progress to getting there, and make sure you’re constantly heading toward that vision,” she said.
“We’re still at the beginning of this transformation,” said Sylvester. “But the benefits that we’ve reaped already on what we can do with our team and how we can respond are exactly what we were hoping to see.”
The BPI Network research was undertaken in Q2 2015 and surveyed executives across a range of titles, company sizes, industry sectors and geographies. Some 22 percent of respondents represented companies with revenues of $1 billion or more and 31 percent had annual sales of between $100 million and $1 billion. The balance had revenues of less than $100 million.