"Business, Fast and Simple" describes the three rules for driving IT innovation without sacrificing reliability or adding cost. Given technology is a vital enabler of innovation across all areas of a business, the message of this article is relevant to a much wider audience than the IT department alone.
IT systems are at the core of any distribution business. So much so that serious breakdowns can put the company at risk, as well as the CIO’s career. Understandably, priority one for any CIO is to ensure, as close as possible, 100% reliability for their core systems.
“The lifeblood of a company is the data it captures about sales to its customers, and how it uses that to create information, insight and knowledge”CIO of a $BN food business
But IT should also be a driver of competitive advantage. Take, for example, online B2C distribution giant Amazon. Amazon has built its success on superior systems and use of information and is now applying a similar approach to B2B distribution. More prosaically, distributors that get the right information into the hands of decision-makers are able to make hundreds or thousands of daily decisions just a little bit better. This can cumulatively add up to huge differences in sales, margin, and overall profitability.
The challenge is that these goals are often in conflict. The mind-set that delivers absolute reliability is not the same one that delivers quick response business-focused innovation. We see too many companies where the IT organization delivers reliability well, but cannot react in an agile manner and is therefore a barrier rather than a driver to innovation.
This article focuses on how a business can enable a faster rate of innovation and deliver what one of our clients once called “business, fast and simple”