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CIOs Juggle Dual Roles in Digital Spotlight

Should the CIO let go of functional IT duties to focus on the strategic vision?

May 30, 2017 - SCMR Editorial

Editor’s note: Mark Humphlett, Senior Director of Industry and Solution Strategy at Infor

As manufacturers move from the research to adoption phase of digitization programs, the need for organizational leadership is becoming increasingly clear. A visionary leader is critical.

This person will imagine the end goal and steer the various components of the project to that destination, despite possible roadblocks and twists and turns. The CIO is the logical choice. But, in many organizations this role is already taxed with day-to-day functional tasks, from on-boarding new hires to creating custom reports for predicting demand. Can the CIO give digital transformation the attention it deserves?

In many manufacturing operations, the CIO has a dual role: the manager of existing systems and the director of new investments. Both are time consuming—and critical. As manufacturers today face increased market pressure to adopt digital technologies and reimagine the entire IT infrastructure, the CIO is often faced with conflicting priorities. Should the focus be on future opportunities or on managing today’s challenges?

With the right resources in place, it is possible to do both. Modern IT solutions and cloud deployment can ease the burden of the IT department, allowing the CIO to confidently take on the responsibility of envisioning and executing digital strategies.

Here are ten ways that modern IT solutions can transform the role of the CIO:

  1. Role-based workbenches. Workbenches and dashboards can give users the tools needed to monitor their personal KPIs and track key tasks. As such, the IT team will no longer be required to customize screens.
  2. Knowledge-sharing. Advanced IT solutions with built-in collaboration tools, work-flows, training and access to an internal knowledgebase will help to ease employees’ on-boarding process.
  3. Self-service reporting. Modern ERP solutions and Business Intelligence (BI) software provide frontline users with reporting tools that are easy-to-use, no longer requiring the IT team to devote time.
  4. Leave security to security experts. When the manufacturer decides on cloud deployment, the critical task of system security falls on the cloud provider who can focus vast resources on the issues.
  5. Contextual data. Modern BI solutions push relevant contextual data to the user, rather than waiting for the user to seek out required information. Because this is part of the ERP solution, the IT team no longer has to assist with creating workflows and reports.
  6. Flexible architecture. Choosing an ERP solution with highly flexible architecture means faster, easier integration with other solutions.
  7.  
  8. No more frustrations from mods. Ending the outdated practice of heavily modified ERPs is vital to empowering today’s IT teams to focus on strategic opportunities, rather than handling modifications.
  9. Implementation accelerators. Whether deployed on premise or in the cloud, implementation accelerators are important tools for streamlining and speeding the process. Cloud deployment expedites the process even further, with most cloud deployments taking just weeks.
  10. Always-modern functionality. Cloud deployment places the responsibility of maintaining new functionality on the provider. This is the ideal way to ensure systems have the most up-to-date proficiencies.
  11. Backups and recovery. With cloud deployment, the automatic back up of data becomes the responsibility of the data center. In-house IT teams no longer need to worry about this function.

   

You are not alone if your organization is struggling to give digital initiatives the resources and attention they require. Because of the vast potential, it makes sense for the CIO to prioritize digital transformation. If outdated ERP functionality and cumbersome legacy solutions are in the way, the CIO is more likely to be left juggling patches and trouble-shooting glitches.

The other option is simple: cloud deployment. Cloud deployment relieves the CIO of tedious tasks, allowing the CIO to confidently lead the digital initiatives. The redefined CIO can help lead the charge, turning IT capabilities into much-needed differentiators.

 

 



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About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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