To ensure your CIO is leading on IT projects instead of reacting to IT-gone-haywire, a delicate roadmap is needed – particularly when it comes to the Cloud.
“The difference between CIOs who lead and those caught in never-ending reactionary cycles is often a strategic IT plan and integration roadmap,” says Louis Columbus at CloudTech. If your IT commander-in-chief is going about your company’s move to the Cloud without a solid plan in place, it might become challenging to handle.
The benefits of an IT roadmap
Speaking to CIOs from sectors including financial services, logistics, manufacturing, retail, and aerospace, Columbus says he’s deciphered key factors that show why creating ‘integrated roadmaps’ is essential. When it comes to maintaining steadfast control of IT priorities and expenditure, a map will eliminate wastage.
Cloud integration roadmaps provide cost savings
“CIOs who create and continually improve their integration roadmaps are prioritising purpose-optimised integration strategies to more efficiently scale global operations,” says Columbus. By creating a real-time, integrated link between each other, SAP and Salesforce is an example of how CIOs use purpose-driven integration to decrease customer response times for information.
Integrated roadmaps are helping these companies improve customer satisfaction and in the process, enabling data acquisition and updates without a need for complex middle-ware, coding or technology purchases.
How financiers see the Cloud
Merchant Capital, a leading South African provider of working capital for companies says that Cloud computing sounds complex to many business leaders, but it’s actually very simple, and that there are a number of benefits the Cloud brings for you and your business. But a roadmap is essential to ensure you get your Cloud solutions right. Consider these factors in your roadmap:
- Work out your cost-savings by going to the Cloud. Because you don’t need to purchase expansive (and expensive) hardware and physical infrastructure, it means there is less maintenance and upgrade requirements too.
- Cloud helps you to run your business more efficiently and flexibly because you now have access to all your information anywhere, anytime and from any device. But, you need cyber security tools and protocols.
- Enable easier collaboration amongst employees and between your business and customers using the Cloud, but factor-in the organisational changes that are needed too. Buy-in and support is required across the company to ensure everyone is happy working with new tech.
- It’s important to remember that your business info is safe in most Clouds. Reputable service providers also backup your data and they make use of up-to-date security software. So, you can rest more soundly at night knowing servers aren’t crashing.
IT and its relationship with business intelligence
According to Masindi Mabogo, director at PBT Group, an information management and business insights provider, companies can use business intelligence to manage their data, produce insights, and make stronger and better strategic decisions. But to achieve this, you need a road map and the Cloud.
“This information is also a useful asset for identifying and managing business risk and anticipating internal and external opportunities in organisations, which are essential to maintain an organisation’s competitive edge and stimulate innovation,” Mabogo says.
Columbus adds that an IT roadmap can assist in ensuring investment in the right technologies for a company that enable business processes – making IT more responsive.
“When I asked CIOs about the best way to increase responsiveness to customers, they wanted integration technologies capable of scaling across the back office and selling systems to make them more responsive,” Columbus explains. “By having integration technologies that enable business process and application logic, the task of enabling new business processes manually goes away.”
Make sure spending happens in the right place
Business experts agree that the return on investment (ROI) of IT upgrades is reliant on how successfully your CIO reduces costs.
“Reducing costs and still delivering a median or average level of service is essential. By having a plan in place to attack integration challenges and costs, CIOs can immediately prioritise steps to improve service, reduce costs, and attain department and corporate goals,” Columbus adds.
How strategic IT integration helped Puma
Access to business intelligence (BI) transformed Puma’s approach to capturing revenues. The company realised that employees were working in siloes. This didn’t help in improving business efficiencies, or in better-servicing customers.
“Puma’s financial management system was a labour intensive and time consuming exercise with much of their financial data being gathered and consolidated manually,” says Lebogang Tsele at SME South Africa. “The process of collecting budgets from various sales managers and consolidating them into a company view was not easy. It involved a complex series of reporting hierarchies, made even more challenging by the codes and categories required for local and international reporting.”
Using interconnected digital technologies, that can now run through Cloud infrastructure instead of physical servers, Puma was able to develop customised sales analytics applications. “Just one person at Puma was able to complete the development and implementation of both applications for budgeting and planning, without help from any external consultants,” Tsele adds.
Puma subsidiaries continue to develop more applications that assimilate data from a variety of digital platforms, reducing the time necessary to produce retail sales data in the format required by Puma International every month. “Data reporting capabilities have been reduced from days to a few minutes,” Tsele adds.
Your map for the future
Deciding on the IT solutions you need to implement to successfully integrate with the Cloud is a tough one, but you don’t have to make the decision on your own. To ensure you compile the most accurate integration roadmap for the future, you can begin with a Digital Readiness Assessment from BCX to see where you stand in terms of current capabilities.
One of the main areas that your CIO must look at when picking a Cloud partner is trust. “There is always a risk in handing over the keys to the IT castle, but through a built-up track record and thoughtful guidance, a managed Cloud provider should instil confidence in any CIO and be a trusted partner no matter the journey a company is taking through digital transformation and into the Cloud,” says IT specialist Jon Lucas.
Contact BCX for a consultation on your IT dynamics and what solutions you need to better connect with customers. If you’re already connecting with customers, perhaps you need Cloud solutions to enable better employee collaboration? Either way, there’s no standing still when it comes to the Cloud. As more companies look to it for cost-savings and its added benefits, you must do the same or face a future that’s a little ‘disc-onn-ect-ed’.