Companies today face disruptions and business risks the likes of which haven’t been seen in decades. The enterprises that ultimately succeed are the ones that have built up resilience.

To be truly resilient, an organization must be able to continuously gather data from diverse sources, correlate it, draw accurate conclusions, and in near-real time trigger appropriate actions. This requires continuous monitoring of events both within and outside an enterprise to detect, diagnose, and resolve issues before they can cause any damage.  

This is especially true when it comes to enterprise procurement. Upwards of 70% of an organization’s revenue can flow through procurement. This highlights the critical need to detect potential business disruptions, spend leakages (purchases made at sub-optimal prices by deviating from established contracts, catalogs, or procurement policies), non-compliance, and fraud. Large organizations can have a dizzying array of data related to thousands of suppliers and accompanying contracts.

Yet amassing and extracting value from these large amounts of data is difficult for humans to keep up with, as the number of data sources and volume of data only continues to grow exponentially. Current data monitoring and analysis methods are no longer sufficient.

“While periodic spend analysis was okay up until a few years ago, today it’s essential that you do this kind of data analysis continuously, on a daily basis, to spot issues and address them quicker,” says Shouvik Banerjee, product owner for ignio Cognitive Procurement at Digitate.

Enterprises need a tool that continuously monitors data so they can use their funds more effectively. Companies across industries have found success with ignio Cognitive Procurement, an AI-based analytics solution for procure-to-pay. The solution screens purchase transactions to detect and predict anomalies that increase risk, spend leakage, cycle time, and non-compliance.

For example, the product flags purchase requests with suppliers who have a poor track record of compliance with local labor laws. Likewise, it flags urgent purchases whose fulfillment is likely to be delayed based on patterns observed in similar transactions in the past.  It also flags invoices that need to be prioritized to take advantage of early payment discounts.

“It’s a system of intelligence versus other products in the market, which are systems of record,” says Banerjee. Not only does ignio Cognitive Procurement analyze an organization’s array of transactions, it also takes into account relevant market data on suppliers and categories on a daily basis.

ignio Cognitive Procurement is unique for its ability to correlate what’s currently happening in the market with what’s going on inside an organization, and it makes specific recommendations to stakeholders. For example, the solution can simplify category managers’ work, helping them source the best deals for their company, or make decisions such as whether to place an order now or hold off for a month.

Charged with finding the best suppliers and monitoring their success within the context of the market, category managers work better and smarter when they can tap into ignio Cognitive Procurement.

ignio Cognitive Procurement also identifies other opportunities to save money and improve the effectiveness of procurement. For instance, the solution proactively makes business recommendations that seamlessly take into account not only price, but also a variety of key factors like timeliness, popularity, external market indicators, suppliers’ market reputation, and their legal, compliance, and sustainability records.

“Companies also use the software to analyze that part of spend that’s not happening through contracts,” says Banerjee, “and they’ve been able to identify items which have significant price variance.”

To avoid irreversible damage or missed opportunities and to keep a competitive advantage, organizations across industries urgently need an AI-based analytics solution for procure-to-pay that can augment their human capabilities.

To learn more about Digitate’signio Cognitive Procurement, click here.

Analytics, IT Leadership

As a household name in household goods, with annual sales of $22 billion, Whirlpool has 54 manufacturing and tech research centers worldwide, and bursts with a portfolio that includes several familiar brands including KitchenAid, Maytag, Amana, Yummly, among others. The company employs 69,000 around the world as well and Danielle Brown, the company’s SVP and CIO, has a unique perspective on how best to lead the company’s digital transformation strategy.

Having joined the company in November 2020 to lead its Global Information Systems, Brown understands that cross-collaboration and effectively leveraging data to create new products and services are not only essential to future success, but speak of having the responsibility in such a privileged position to lean into that seat at the table, which means having a voice and an understanding of where technology is headed.

“Our vision is to be the best kitchen and laundry company in constant pursuit of improving life at home, which has become even more evident and important over the past couple of years,” she says. “Data shows that people continue to use our products on a more continuous basis. We’ve also seen people at home researching, browsing, and purchasing more online. All of these things have been transformational for our business.”

Of course, the end-to-end consumer journey is always a work in progress at Whirlpool, which began prior to Brown’s arrival. “But working across our leadership team,” she says, “one of the things I always say about IT is we have a unique view of the company. We can see all of the various processes, so with that unique vantage point, part of our role is to connect a number of those dots. That’s where we have the opportunity to talk about this as a full journey and know what a consumer has. We have to think about that technology and how it’s layered together as an IT organization. That is part of the value we bring to the table. So with my coming in, those are some of the things the IT organization focuses on as a leadership team.”

Brown recently spoke with CIO Leadership Live host Maryfran Johnson about advancing product features via sensor data, accelerating digital twin strategies, reinventing supply chain dynamics and more. Here are some edited excerpts of that conversation. Watch the full video below for more insights.

On four strategic priorities: One is delivering product leadership, which includes data and technology that support things like the digital twin and digital thread throughout a product’s lifecycle. And that is where the IT organization really has a hand in helping to enable that product leadership. The second is leveraging IoT and AI to support new digital services and new digital products that we can offer our consumers. Third is about winning that digital consumer journey by utilizing the technology to engage with a customer from pre- to post-purchase. And our fourth strategic priority is about reinventing the value chain with greater visibility. That’s another way in which our IT organization was able to work side by side with our business partners to advance this one. So end to end, our strategic priority has stood the test of time.

On re-recruiting talent: Employees today have more options than they had in the past. As a company, we have to ensure we promote our value proposition. There’s the saying, “People will leave a boss, but not necessarily leave the company.” And what they want from their boss is someone who cares about their career. It’s the employee’s role first but they’re partnering with their boss or supervisor because they only have a limited view. So we have a tool called Career Compass, which shares employee experiences and helps let an employee know a manager cares about their career. When you have different leaders or new leaders in an organization, you don’t want your experiences to be forgotten. So we start with what that person’s career has been to date and then explore where you want to go in your career, but not on the traditional ladder. I’ve heard it referred to as the lattice. There are many different routes to take. It’s not necessarily about a job or promotion; it’s about the experiences that someone wants to have in their career, because it’s those experiences that are required if you want to be a global CIO or an enterprise architect. Things like that really matter and will allow companies to retain talent.

On innovation ecosystems: You have to think about what technology is really mature versus the technology that is more speculative. AI and machine learning are mature today. You also have natural language processing, doing technology through RPAs and things of that nature. So we’re leveraging those things in our business and market. But you also have the more speculative technology, like metaverse and blockchain and things of that nature. For emerging technologies like those, we’ll experiment internally and think about how they might apply to our business and how it could create new or different opportunities. But things have to add value for the end consumer. It can’t just be the technology for the sake of it.

On the enterprise data strategy: I am a self-admitted data geek. When you leverage internal data, you need governance around that data. The two are extremely important. Our priority is around delivering product innovation and having that digital twin or that digital thread where data is fundamental. This is working in partnership with the strategy of our product organization, and how to simplify the data and ensure it’s threaded throughout—in a digital way—or whether it’s embedded within our systems of record. The right governance around that product data has to be in place too so it can be used throughout the full product lifecycle. That’s how data governance is critical to our organization and analytics are a way to unlock value.

CIO, Data Governance, Digital Transformation, IT Leadership

The good news for CIOs wanting to enable domain experts to develop their own apps to solve business problems is that there’s a vast array of low-code development platforms to choose from. The bad news: there’s a vast array of platforms to choose from.

CIOs may, therefore, have mixed feelings about SAP’s release of yet another low-code development platform into that crowded market at its Tech Ed developer conference this week.

Gartner calls the potential users of all these low-code development platforms “business technologists” — employees whose responsibilities include creating technology solutions, not simply using the tools IT gives them.

“Smart CIOs are looking for ways to exploit these skill sets, and that often includes the use of low-code platforms for enabling faster delivery of solutions,” said Dennis Gaughan, distinguished VP analyst at Gartner. “But one of the main concerns they have is trying to avoid a huge proliferation of low-code tools that create management and governance challenges.”

SAP’s new platform, SAP Build, aims to give business technologists — or builders, as SAP calls them — secure access to business processes and data to augment enterprise applications and automate processes through a drag-and-drop interface, while letting CIOs manage that access.

“The use of something like SAP Build offers them a platform that builds on existing investments in SAP and provides a more centralized mechanism for managing and governing the applications created by technologists across the enterprise,” Gaughan added.

Bernhard Schaffrik, principal analyst at Forrester, echoed the point about SAP Build offering ease of access to data, applications, and structures from the SAP world.

But however simple the low-code platforms an enterprise adopts, CIOs will still need to ensure users understand some of the complexity that lies behind them, he said. “What’s key is that business developers must be trained and educated about the impacts of building and running applications and automations regarding architecture, compliance, IT and information security,” said Schaffrik.

Build’s three pillars

SAP Build isn’t all new as the Build name previously referred to a user interface prototyping service. Now a complete end-to-end development environment, Build contains elements of older offerings, including SAP Launchpad, a central point of access to in-house and third-party application extensions, and AppGyver, the no-code development platform vendor SAP acquired in February 2021. The AppGyver name will now disappear from the SAP environment, said SAP’s head of low-code and no-code products, Sebastian Schroetel.

Build also contains Work Zone, a role-based web and workflow content. The name lives on as Build’s tool for creating pages, editing menus and adding UI integration cards. Work Zone is one of Build’s three pillars, Schroetel said. The others being Build Apps and Build Process Automation.

SAP has been piloting Build internally and at Qualtrics, the customer experience company in which SAP owns a majority stake, Schroetel added. SAP’s talent attraction (recruitment) team used Build Process Automation to accelerate the headcount approval process, he said.

The new low-code platform shares some features with SAP’s pro-code development tools: both are built on Business Technology Platform, SAP’s data management layer, and share the same API hub, making it possible for business technologists and professional developers within an enterprise to collaborate.

The recycled name isn’t the only thing about Build that may give business technologists déjà vu: Last year at TechEd, SAP CTO Juergen Mueller talked up a unified low-code no-code experience formed by the fusion of AppGyver Composer and SAP Business Application Studio.

This year, SAP is taking that fusion further, adding more functionality and simplifying the interface. Build works with non-SAP systems, allowing the automation of processes in cloud-based productivity suites, for example. SAP Build’s process automation pillar also includes functionality from Signavio, a business process intelligence tool it acquired around the same time as AppGyver, providing visibility into existing processes and customized recommendations on how to simplify and optimize them.

Per-user pricing

Another area in which SAP is hoping to simplify things is pricing. SAP Build will be available as a subscription starting at €1,000 per month for 25 active users, with additional user licenses starting at €18 per active user per month, a company spokesperson said.

SAP Build won’t be the sole answer to everyone’s low-code needs, however, nor even every SAP shop’s needs.

“Any time you try to standardize on a single platform for development, you’re going to deal with tradeoffs,” Gartner’s Gaughan said. Compared to SAP’s plodding approach, “Smaller, independent low-code vendors that have been doing this for a while and are solely focused on low code can potentially add new capabilities more quickly,” he added.

Since uptake of such independent platforms is dependent on their ability to connect to other products, they may also have more integrations with other applications and processes, but they likely won’t be able to connect to SAP applications as deeply as Build can.

Forrester’s Schaffrik noted that SAP Build is as open to extension as most other low-code development and automation platforms out there, but cautioned, “The devil’s in the details, so I’m recommending decision makers to diligently look at what they require regarding ‘openness’ of a platform.” For Gaughan, it’s not a matter of choosing one development platform over another. “Ultimately, I think a lot of large enterprises will have multiple low-code tools in their kit bag,” he said, “and I suspect that, for existing SAP customers, Build will be likely be a core part of their low-code strategy.”

Application Management, Build Automation, Cloud Management, IT Governance, No Code and Low Code, SAP

Demand for tech workers remains high, with no signs of easing up.

The proof is in the numbers: 319,652 job postings for IT workers in August, according to CompTIA, a nonprofit trade association issuing IT professional certifications. The month before there were 371,847.

That kind of competition for talent puts pressure on CIOs and their recruitment teams to be strategic in their hiring; they can’t afford to make mistakes if they want to successfully fill open positions.

With that in mind, we asked several leaders experienced in recruiting and hiring IT talent about the mistakes they see that makes hiring harder. Here’s what they say.

1. Always looking to hire externally

“A lot of people in IT default to hiring instead of looking to grow their teams; knowing when and when not to hire is a muscle that has yet to be fully developed,” says Will Markow, vice president of applied research at Lightcast (formerly Emsi Burning Glass), a labor market data analytics firm. Markow notes that his firm’s research shows that hiring external candidates takes more time to fill roles and costs $15,000-plus extra in salary costs. Plus, it signals to your existing staffers that there’s limited growth opportunities, making it more likely they’ll look for new jobs elsewhere.

2. But also promoting internal candidates when you really should hire

Despite his support for hiring from within, Markow says CIOs must be selective about internal promotions. “You can’t upskill for everything; you will have to go out and hire for some things,” he says. “Training in some cases can be faster than hiring, but in some cases, when you need them yesterday, you can’t wait to train up your existing workforce.”

3. Training up when workers have no place to go

Markow says he has seen CIOs with a mismatch between existing training programs and their projected staffing needs, a situation that can leave both managers and workers frustrated. “Sometimes CIOs invest in training their people but don’t have a clear next step for these people,” he says. Moreover, he says, “the CIOs don’t have a good succession plan, so when those people move into the new positions there’s also no one to backfill their [old] roles.”

4. Failing to align IT hiring with business objectives

With IT now thoroughly intertwined with business processes, CIOs need to tightly couple their hiring strategies with their organization’s roadmap, says Seth Robinson, CompTIA’s vice president for industry research. That requires a solid understanding of business objectives, so, for example, if the C-suite talks about their data plans you know whether that means upskilling a SQL developer already on the team or hiring a data scientist.

5. Seeking new hires a bit too late

“We see employers invest in a new technology, and they spend a lot of money for it, before realizing they don’t have anyone with the right skills to operate it,” Markow says. He worked with one company that had invested in data analytics software that sat idle for six months while they identified and trained staff to take on its daily operations.

7. Insisting on brand-name job experiences

Seeking candidates with experiences at big-name companies is another hiring mistake, particularly at companies located in geographic tech hot spots, says Eric Tan, CIO at software maker Coupa. “I see too many of my peers who want people only with those ‘really good resumes,’” he says. Yes, those companies tend to offer stellar training for their workers, but they’re hardly the only places that produce competent talent. Tan points to his company’s veteran program, which has helped him staff about 20% of his team with top-caliber workers with high degrees of perseverance and loyalty.

8. Targeting only top-tier colleges

Similarly, Tan says CIOs should expand their recruitment efforts beyond the well-known tech colleges — something he says he does with great results. His company partners with the University of Nevada, Reno and the training program Year Up to identify and hire candidates coming through their programs.

9. Relying too much on prescreening tech

Technology certainly enables recruiting teams to quickly evaluate resumes, but hiring teams “can lose a lot of people in the prescreening who could be good candidates,” says Ximena Hartsock, CEO and co-founder of BuildWithin, a software platform for creating and managing apprenticeship and employee learning programs. That’s a hard lose in a tight labor market. Hartsock says hiring managers who are overly reliant on such technology, including applicant tracking systems, may miss resumes that don’t fit preset criteria but may still show lots of potential.

10. Overlooking non-IT talent

Tan talks up one of his recent recruits, a former manager at a high-end retail store. That role had exposed her to reams of data and data analysis, which in Tan’s eyes made her a great candidate for a data role he had on his team. He says he was right. “We should be looking for talent beyond the traditional IT profession,” he adds.

11. Not getting specific on skills

You need a programmer, but the job post for the role needs specifics to be successful, says Apratim Purakayastha, chief product and technology officer with Skillsoft, a maker of learning management system software and content. “When hiring for a particular role, you need to be focused on core skills and competencies,” he explains. Hiring managers do better when they list the competencies they actually need in successful candidates and share them in their ads so applicants aren’t guessing about whether they’d be a good fit.

12. Setting unrealistic expectations

It’s great to be clear about what you want, but hiring experts across the board say you also have to be realistic. Don’t go to market for an entry-level programmer and expect candidates to know all sorts of programming languages or have a range of certifications and several years of experience. And don’t expect a candidate to have everything just as you described. An experienced programmer might not know all the languages you want but an otherwise good candidate can learn them.

13. Relying on old salary data to plan compensation

The competitive market for tech talent keeps pressure on salaries, which can bump up more quickly than pay for other professions. Paul Wallenberg, senior director for technology recruiting at staffing agency LaSalle Network, says CIOs must be sure to have the most up-to-date data when figuring out compensation. “You have to rely on more dynamic data sources and pooling data that you’re collecting during applications,” he says. “I’m not talking about the amount the applicants are currently making, either. I’m talking about what they expect in a new role.”

14. Not publishing your compensation

Starting in January 2023, California will require employers to disclose their pay ranges with job postings. Others, including Colorado, Washington, and New York City, also have such laws in effect or coming online. But even CIOs hiring outside those jurisdictions should adopt the practice, Wallenberg says. He says his company has collected data that found companies who post such information — whether legally required or not — actually get more candidates and higher-quality ones at that.

15. Lacking diversity on the interview panel

IT leaders continue to focus on diversifying their teams, but too often their interview panels have no diversity and/or don’t even acknowledge the topic. That could lead candidates to think the company’s interest in diversity, equity, and inclusion is all talk, Wallenberg says.

16. Using off-putting language in job descriptions

Certain language can be off-putting to candidates, Robinson says. For example, a job posting looking for a “diverse candidate” (an awkward phrasing, to say the least) when the company is looking to build a diverse team could leave would-be applicants puzzled on what the CIO wants in the individual. Similarly, job descriptions that use “competitive” or “demanding” could turn off potential candidates. There’s proof of this: A 2019 LinkedIn report found that 44% of women and 33% of men would be discouraged from applying to a job if “aggressive” was used in the job description.

17. Putting candidates through onerous interview rounds

Hiring teams often ask candidates to demonstrate their knowledge by developing code or taking tests. Such requests, particularly if they’re time-consuming, can be onerous for candidates. “You could be excluding people who have jobs and don’t have extra time to put into these rounds of interviews or doing homework,” Robinson says.

18. Paying too little attention to the nontechnical stuff

It’s easy when hiring for tech positions to focus only or mostly on a candidate’s technical skills, but Purakayastha warns against overlooking other important skills, such as communication capabilities and the ability to work collaboratively. “I see very competent people being hired but they don’t have enough of the soft skills needed or the skills to adapt to a new culture,” Purakayastha says, adding that his company has a list of 45 values, such as professional integrity, that it seeks in candidates to help them think holistically about applicants.

19. Ignoring next steps for new hires

“Hiring is just the first step,” Purakayastha reminds. Next up: Retaining the new hire and helping them grow. “Change in the technology field is happening much faster than you can hire, so managing your employee’s technical career has significant ROIs that should not be overlooked.”

20. Poaching

It’s a common practice, particularly among tech firms in Silicon Valley and other high-tech corridors. But poaching talent from your competitors drives up salaries without addressing the pipeline issues that are causing such drastic competition. Plus, it doesn’t typically solve staffing challenges over the long term. As Markow points out: “If you’re just offering the highest salary, what’s to stop another company from offering more?”

21. Skipping over what you can offer

Candidates in this market have lots of choices, so CIOs should be selling prospects on what they and their companies offer. “If you don’t have a vested interest in their careers, they won’t have an interest in joining you,” Tan says.

22. Failing to sell what your company offers

“You need to pay competitive salaries for sure, but you also need to make sure you’re hiring for mission and not just money,” Markow says. Research shows that companies who give workers a reason beyond compensation to come and stay, whether that reason is engaging work, a flexible schedule, the actual mission of the organization, or advancement opportunities, do better recruiting and retaining talent.

23. Adding staff when you don’t know what you already have

Markow says he worked with one CIO who, believing his IT team lacked the skills needed to successfully compete, was planning on a significant round of hiring. He then actually assessed and inventoried the skills his staffers had and found that his team was actually market-leading. As a result, he needed to hire for only a fraction of what he had originally planned. “Too many CIOs don’t take time to understand their bench strength and they mistakenly hire for skills they don’t need,” Markow adds.

24. Being biased against the unemployed or underemployed

Hiring managers sometimes still perceive out-of-work individuals as less desirable or less competitive, discounting a range of possible reasons for their unemployed or underemployed status, Hartsock says. But she points out many workers, particularly today, left or scaled back on work for very valid reasons, such as staying safe during COVID. Hartsock says companies may find a boost in their hiring if they stopped chasing passive candidates and put more energy into engaging truly active applicants — including those who are under- or unemployed now seeking to re-enter the workforce. As she notes: “There’s no better worker than somebody needs a job.”

Hiring

By Michael Loggins, award-winning executive IT leader

Industry 4.0 has vast potential to transform what factories can do. Manufacturing can be faster, more data-driven, more responsive to the needs of workers and customers, and more powered by innovations such as artificial intelligence, internet of things, digital supply chains, and blockchain. While the possibilities of Industry 4.0 are extraordinary—and realizing them is seemingly just within our reach—there are still obstacles to overcome before we can feel truly comfortable making them a reality.

Where I see the biggest dissonance today is in how companies are allowing both IT and the manufacturing groups to exist inside their organizations. Traditionally, the value of IT in the manufacturing industry has been to provide the factory floor with the resources they need, and then to stay out of the way. And in the past, that was really the best approach, because the controls that IT needs—particularly for security—typically aren’t conducive to maintaining an efficient and optimized factory environment.

Industry 4.0 Requires New Ways of Working Together

In the world of Industry 4.0, the separation between IT and the factory floor pretty much disappears. Today, it’s almost mandatory that IT sits in the middle of the factory and is seen as a valuable partner and an essential business function. But, in many organizations, the traditional dissonance between IT and the factory floor is still there; leading to conflicts in which the health and security of the business are jeopardized due to misalignment. Whether that’s the security of the entire organization, or the efficiency and efficacy of the operational technology on the factory floor, neither scenario is acceptable as they’re both preventable.

What’s needed now is a growing understanding on both sides, so the divisions and dissonance are eliminated, and cooperation and teamwork are celebrated. IT needs to figure out how to reduce its need to control everything, so that teams can protect what needs to be protected while supporting the operational technology (OT) environment in ways that don’t negatively impact productivity, efficiency, and automation on the factory floor.

At the same time, the factory needs to understand that they are not technologists and don’t have a wide enough scope to view the entire environment in order to protect OT. This means they’ll need to be able to bend a little to let IT be part of their conversations. If the IT team is somehow iced out, the factory may run just fine, but business operations are substantially more vulnerable to a major disruption due to a cybersecurity attack. Nobody wants that to happen. So both sides will need to drop tradition and ego to create a win-win situation for the organization.

How IT Can Support the Changes Needed for Industry 4.0

Let’s look at some ways IT can do our part.

Earn our seat at the table. Firstly, if we can’t keep the printers and computers on the factory floor running, there’s no way we’re going to be invited in to even talk about securing the environment. So there is a minimum “pay to play” mindset of operational excellence that has to be put in place to even get a seat at the table.

At the table, the IT team must be prepared. We can’t go in talking about the factory floor in the same language and terms that we would talk about a traditional office environment. It’s a different world, and if IT doesn’t understand that world–if we don’t take the time to live in that world–then how can we possibly go about protecting it? 

That means spending time on the factory floor; talking to factory staff and management to get deep in the weeds to understand the methodology they are using for quality, efficiency, and everything in between. You have to make sure you figure out how to maintain it before you can figure out how to protect it.

Practice patience. The other key mindset for IT is patience. Once you get into the operational side of things, you’ll be overwhelmed by how much there is to learn, and by the amount of technology and processes you’ll need to protect. If you try to address everything at the same time, you’ll fail. Worse, you will burn bridges, reinforce the dissonance and, eventually, you’ll get removed from the table.

So, for us in IT, it’s about starting small, making sure your OT colleagues understand that you have their environment in mind, and that you’re not going to inadvertently shut down the factory. Ultimately, IT needs to be viewed as a true business partner protecting the factory from all kinds of vulnerabilities, while also creating the assurance that OT won’t be held back. It’s about doing the work in a way that is sustainable and secure.

Building Empathy to Realize Industry 4.0

Without people and process, the new technologies of Industry 4.0 are never going to be fully maximized. In fact, I’ve seen organizations put in amazing technology, but without paying enough attention to how it impacted the factory floor; the return on the investment was pretty much zero. CISOs need to demonstrate empathy and a true understanding of the challenges of keeping the factory working every day. This includes knowing how failures of equipment and machinery can be disastrous for the OT team.

It helps to become friends, or at least tight colleagues, with factory management, floor supervisors, and machinists. Get to really know those people who are your customers. As with any relationship, there needs to be a strong commitment from both IT and the factory floor to resolve issues, but I think it’s our responsibility in IT to go a little further than halfway in order to train our people, and transform our mindsets.

We have to make sure our IT staff are equipped to work with the OT side of the company. We have to spend time on the factory floor and engage with the philosophy and values and mindset of the people there. Sometimes working on the factory line gives you the right amount of empathy to understand what’s going on.

Collaboration Enables Innovation for Industry 4.0

If you can get your teams working together, the possibilities are tremendous. The speed of delivery should increase and more importantly, you’ll have alignment between your IT and engineering groups, creating space for real innovation to happen. Bot IT and OT are composed of problem solvers that are in their fields because they know how to make things better: they just have different sets of tools.

By taking people who have similar drives, backgrounds and passions for fixing problems and putting them in a room, you’ll achieve amazing levels of innovation and countless creative solutions. And because the work is done together, as a team, the designs are more stable at every stage. They will be easier to implement, easier to manage and operate, easier to secure, making adoption measurably faster.

By removing the dissonance, you can totally change how you’re able to deliver value both at the factory floor and to your customers. Industry 4.0 becomes more than just an exciting possibility; it becomes the new reality.

Read more on Industry 4.0 in this article

About Michael Loggins:

SRT author, Michael Loggins is an award-winning executive IT leader focused in strategic business alignment, customer success and standardizing global IT operations.

IT Leadership, Manufacturing Industry

Newly minted CIOs have a wealth of guidebooks, white papers, and blogs to help set themselves up for success from day one, as the first 100 days of a new leadership role are crucial.

But theory can only take a new leader so far. Practice is how leaders are made, and as anyone who has gone through this challenging process knows, those first months on the job as a CIO are likely to be rife with mistakes.

So, to supplement your guiding material on what to do as a new leader, we thought it important to inform you of the missteps most likely to trip you up. To do so, we polled a half-dozen veteran CIOs and researchers to share what they’ve found to be the most common mistakes that rookie CIOs make — and how to avoid them.

Here are their top 10.

Trying to change too much too fast

Change is a top priority for CIOs. According to our 2022 State of the CIO report, 84% of IT leaders say CIOs are increasingly seen as a changemaker and the lead on business and technology initiatives. That, veteran IT leaders say, can put a lot of pressure on new CIOs to come in and shake things up.

Such an approach, however, can be a mistake, says Joel Schwalbe, CIO of Transnetyx, noting that first-time IT leaders are often tempted to take on too much change at one time.

“Rookie CIOs are eager to make a good impression, but this leads to potential challenges. Organizations are only capable of absorbing a certain amount of change. Setting realistic expectations is essential for rookie CIO success,” he says.

Keeping everyone on the payroll

Brian Jackson, research director in the CIO practice at Info-Tech Research Group, has studied how CIOs tackle their first 100 days in the role and has found that many new IT chiefs think there’s no need to clean house.

“They assume that there is no one who deserves to be fired, and sometimes there is,” Jackson says.

He understands the impulse to maintain the status quo when it comes to staff. New executives in general and first-time ones in particular don’t want firings to be among their first moves, he says. But it’s frequently a necessary move that must be made.

“It’s not going in and saying, ‘I’m going to fire someone,’” he says. Rather, it’s recognizing that if there is a toxic personality, they must go. “That’s your job as a leader. And if you let it linger for too long, the situation just gets so much worse and you wish you did it a lot sooner.”

Failing to assess the culture early on

Most CIOs have likely heard that “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” the famous quote from management guru Peter Drucker. But rookie CIOs don’t often take that message to heart, according to both researchers and experienced CIOs.

“One of the rookie mistakes is not truly understanding your business, culture, and organizational fabric,” says Richard A. Hook, executive vice president and CIO of Penske Automotive Group and CIO of Penske. “Everyone is focused on their 100-day plan, but the reality is the pace of that plan and composite will vary between organizations. Get to know your peers, their teams, your team, and the overall organization before taking a too-aggressive approach. In the end, organizations win with the best people, be sure you know your teams and deeply understand the business before acting too harshly.”

Jackson agrees, saying new executives should assess their department’s culture and the organization’s overall culture early on. This, he explains, lets leaders know how to adjust and change so they can be most effective moving forward.

“There are different styles of leadership, and they can all be equally valid, but the culture of your organization is going to dictate what works,” he explains. “And if it’s not the culture you’d prefer, then you have work to do. There are ways to shift culture and get people to behave differently.”

Underestimating the people (and political) part of the job

C-suite executives and board members now recognize technology as an integral part of business, and they’re increasingly contributing to — and even leading — technology decisions.

Consider, for example, findings from tech research and advisory firm Gartner. It found that 53% of the organizations it surveyed reported that their directors are among the main decision-makers for emerging technology investments, coming in just behind their CIOs and chief technology officers. Gartner also found that 74% of technology purchases are at least partially funded by business units outside of IT, with only 26% of tech investments funded entirely by IT.

This may not be news to most CIOs, who have long talked about partnering with their business unit colleagues to develop the IT roadmap. Yet new CIOs sometimes still underestimate the criticality of building relationships, the importance of persuasion and the art of influence.

“Rookie CIOs underestimate the internal politics involved in a C-level role. There are often hidden agendas and initiatives that do not show up in the official company strategy,” says Jeff Stovall, an industry executive director with Oracle and former CIO for the City of Charlotte, N.C.

Schwalbe makes a similar observation: “The CIO job is a people, PR, and marketing job. Some rookie CIOs might believe it’s a technology job, which it’s not.”

Assessing only the internal landscape

CIOs are executives and must act as such. But there’s a learning curve, and Jackson says his research shows that many first-time CIOs fail to study the external landscape in which their organization operates even though that’s a key responsibility for any C-suite position.

“New CIOs are often so focused they get tunnel vision,” he says. Sure, they’re busy learning about their organization, meeting their C-suite colleagues, assessing their IT team.

“That’s all understandable. But you can get so focused [internally] that the blinders are on to the external environment. But as an executive that’s your job now, too, to know your competitors, to be aware of what they’re doing and what tech differentiators they’re using to create a competitive advantage.”

Jackson recommends CIOs join industry associations, build their professional networks, and attend executive events. That will yield market, industry, and IT strategy insights.

Leaping, without looking and listening first

Similarly, Hillary Ross, managing partner and IT practice leader at WittKieffer, an executive search and leadership advisory firm, says new CIOs may be tempted to jump right into their work without gaining a solid understanding of the waters where they’ll land.

“To be successful, you want to learn what works, what doesn’t, how to influence change in your new organization,” she says. “So it’s important for the new CIO to listen, learn, and then lead.”

Taking the time to do that, Ross explains, lets CIOs uncover pain points within the organization, prioritize projects with confidence, and identify the colleagues and employees who would make strong advocates for the IT agenda.

Building relationships only among the C-Suite

Another mistake some rookie CIOs make: talking only to senior leadership.

Ross says all new executives should be “making the rounds and talking to all levels of the organization. It’s important to get out and talk to everyone so you’re learning what they all need and what they think is really important.”

That includes front-line workers and back-office employees in finance, accounting, marketing, and so on. “They’re your customers, too,” Ross adds.

New CIOs should also prioritize building relationships with their IT vendors and suppliers, Ross says, adding that they may be among the biggest contributors to your IT department (and the IT budget) in the end.

Overlooking process and the technology itself

CIOs know it’s about people, process, and technology. But while they are getting to know their executive colleagues and talking with others throughout their organization, new CIOs should also be studying the processes and technologies that drive both IT and the larger enterprise as a whole.

Yet Ross says that work is sometimes overlooked by new IT chiefs. “It’s important to find out what’s working, how they’re doing things, and if those are the right things to be doing,” she says.

As a new CIO, Ross says it’s imperative to find all that out. Consider, for instance, what happens when a new CIO fails to do a deep dive into the technology stack that he or she inherited.

“Some things may be fragile and working with bubblegum and shoestrings. CIOs need to come in and assess the technology. Some things might seem like they’re working but they’re really not,” Ross says.

New CIOs who miss such problems early on aren’t likely to make a positive impression.

Going it alone

Studies have consistently found that mentors are effective in helping mentees do better and reach their goals. One study of mentorship in the workplace, from Olivet Nazarene University, found that 76% of the 3,000 professionals surveyed considered having a mentor important or very important, yet less than half actually were in engaged in a mentoring relationship at the time.

Ross says individuals moving into a new position can benefit immensely from having a mentor, but — like the survey indicates — too many don’t seek out a mentor. She recommends that new CIOs identify a seasoned IT leader to enlist for the role, giving them “someone to call to get honest advice and lessons learned.”

Flying solo

CIOs not only need mentors; they need allies. So says Greg Layok, who as a managing partner at consulting firm West Monroe and head of its technology practice advises CIOs. “I’ve seen new CIOs miss this one many times,” he says.

Rookie CIOs are often under the impression that they’ll succeed by bringing in the best technology and deploying top-notch solutions, Layok says. But they fail to see that “if they don’t bring everyone on the journey with them, then their good ideas might be perceived as bad ideas and they’re not going to have the business in the boat with them to craft the right solution in a way for the highest value-add.”

He says new CIOs may be bringing great ideas to their new organizations, and those ideas may indeed be truly needed to move those organizations forward. But those CIOs don’t realize that they need to persuade others that their ideas are going to reduce risk, decrease time to market, drive greater profitability, or otherwise bring value to the enterprise.

“CIOs who are in the position for the first time but who grew up in very mature organizations might do this well, but many others may [just] assume that the organization is aware of the value,” Layok says, adding that new CIOs must work at getting colleagues to back their visions.

He notes that all executives want to show their strategic impact on the business, but it’s especially challenging and important for CIOs, “because IT can’t be successful in today’s world being in a silo.”

CIO, IT Leadership

C-level executives are most interested in strategic assets and initiatives that will advance, transform, and grow their enterprises. They continually want to make “cost centers” more efficient and more cost-effective, while investing in what will accelerate, empower, and protect the business operations and its customer base.

Because data and digital technology have become so integral into any enterprise’s lifeblood, senior leadership teams must differentiate between the strategic aspects of IT and the tactical parts of IT cost centers. Storage has emerged in 2022 as a strategic asset that the C-suite, not just the CIO, can no longer overlook.

Enterprise storage can be used to improve your company’s cybersecurity, accelerate digital transformation, and reduce costs, while improving application and workload service levels. That’s going to get attention in the board room. Here’s how to equip yourself for that discussion with C-level executives. The following are three practical ways to make enterprise storage a strategic asset for your organization.

1. Make storage part of the corporate cybersecurity strategy

According to a Fortune 500 survey, 66% of Fortune 500 CEOs said their No. 1 concern in the next three years is cybersecurity. Similarly, in a KPMG CEO survey, CEOs also said cybersecurity is a top priority. The average number of days to identify and contain a data breach, according to security analysts, is 287 days. Given these facts, changing the paradigm from an overall corporate security perspective is needed.

Too many enterprises are not truly equipped and prepared to deal with it. Nonetheless, companies need to ensure that valuable corporate data is always available. This has created an urgent need for enterprises to modernize data protection and cyber resilient capabilities. The answer that CEOs, CIOs, CISOs and their IT teams need to take is an end-to-end approach to stay ahead of cybersecurity threats.

You need to think of your enterprise storage as part of your holistic corporate security strategy. This means that every possession in a company’s storage estate needs to be cyber resilient, designed to thwart ransomware, malware, internal cyber threats, and other potential attacks. Cybersecurity must go hand-in-hand with storage cyber resilience.

It’s prudent to evaluate the relationship across cybersecurity, storage, and cyber resilience. Both primary storage and secondary storage need to be protected, ranging from air gapping to real-time data encryption to immutable copies of your data to instantaneous recovery. 

What should you do? Perform a comprehensive analysis of your corporate data, determine what data needs to be encrypted and infused with cyber resilience and what doesn’t, and figure out how the protection needs to keep your company in compliance. You also need to decide what to do for modern data protection and you need to figure out what to do from a replication/snapshot perspective for disaster recovery and business continuity.

2. Use a hybrid cloud strategy to accelerate digital transformation

More than 75% of CIOs identified digital transformation as their top budget priority of the last year, according to Constellation Research. Companies are leveraging digital capabilities to better serve their customers, accelerate new products and services to market, and scale their operations. The growth and importance of data continue to proliferate exponentially.

The role of hybrid cloud infrastructure – part of your data on-premise – as the key enabler of this megatrend is at the forefront. A core value of cloud services is the support for digital transformation. Digital transformation is enabled and powered by hybrid cloud computing, offering increased flexibility, rapid application development and deployment, and consumption-based economics. This is essential to competing and remaining relevant in today’s world of data-driven business.

Data is the lifeblood of all modern enterprises. How to collect, manage, store, access, and use the data determines the level of success that a company will have. Enterprises can either innovate their data, or be strangled by the data, or even be held hostage for the data. This is why you need the strategy and the infrastructure to drive the future of data for your business.

As businesses evolve themselves digitally, a hybrid cloud strategy orchestrates all the different aspects of it in a mixed computing, storage, and services environment, comprised of on-premises infrastructure, private cloud services, and a public cloud such as AWS. Just in the last 18 months, advancements have been made for “on ramps” between private cloud and the public cloud. This hybrid cloud infrastructure becomes the cornerstone for an organization’s ability to be agile and accelerate business transformation.

3. Reduce IT costs

It can be challenging to identify areas in IT to reduce costs, while maintaining the level of service or capacity. But here’s a practical tip that can be a quick win for an enterprise: CIOs, CISOs and their IT teams can lower IT costs by consolidating storage arrays.

Because of the advancements in storage-defined storage technology, an enterprise can replace 50 arrays with two arrays, while still getting all the capacity, performance, availability, and reliability that are needed. This strategic consolidation saves on operational manpower, rack space, floor space, power expense, and cooling expense. In short, dramatically reducing your CAPEX and OPEX.

You can consolidate storage while, simultaneously, improving access to data across a hybrid cloud and a container-native environment for greater resilience, lower application and workload latency, and higher availability. For today’s enterprise requirements, 100% availability is a must.  

A hybrid cloud approach with a strong private cloud configuration creates the opportunity to consolidate storage arrays for maximum efficiency. Furthermore, with a private cloud, you have better, more exact control over cost structure and service level agreements (SLAs). Essentially, this strategy enables you to match an SLA, such as application performance and availability, with a higher level of control. 

Switching to consumption-based pricing models for storage is another way to reduce costs. Organizations can choose to flex up or flex down based on fluctuating needs for storage, utilizing storage-as-a-service. The worldwide analyst firm Gartner predicts: “by 2023, 43% of newly deployed storage capacity will be consumed as OPEX, up from less than 15% in 2020.”

Alternatively, companies can choose capacity on demand and seek out elastic pricing. All of these options have made storage more cost-effective. There are options across OPEX and CAPEX. You can even get a mix of OPEX and CAPEX to realize those cost savings.

Key takeaways

Think of your storage as part of your holistic enterprise security strategyA hybrid cloud infrastructure should be the cornerstone for your organization’s ability to be agile and accelerate business transformation.Strategic consolidation of storage arrays reduces CAPEX and OPEX.

To learn more about enterprise storage solutions, visit Infinidat

Data Management

From highways to parking lots to tennis courts and more, asphalt is ubiquitous in modern life. It can also be highly dangerous under high temperatures such as those used in processing the petroleum-based substance. According to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than a dozen heated storage tanks for asphalt or No. 6 fuel oil have exploded in the past decade.

To improve the safety of its asphalt operations, US-based Owens Corning has put data analytics to work, leveraging low-code tools to develop a digital platform that incorporates multiple data flows and enables previously plant-specific information to be shared and coordinated across the company’s operations.

“This project was driven by a need to create real-time visibility to data with actionable insights to prevent hazards and enhance safety in operating asphalt processing tanks across our manufacturing network,” says Malavika Melkote, director of IT and the Analytics Center of Excellence (COE) at Owens Corning.

The project, which has earned Owens Corning a CIO 100 Award in IT Excellence, leverages digitizing sensors to extract data from asphalt tanks. This data is integrated with a range of other data points, providing easy-to-use visuals for plant operators to analyze, Melkote says. “They can quickly assess potential hazards and risks in real-time and proactively take preventive actions.”

The increased visibility into potential hazards enabled by the loss prevention platform, combined with preventive maintenance, has minimized unplanned production outages and created sizable cost savings via reduced equipment losses. Melkote says the time required to make a decision and take action at its plants has gone from days to minutes, thanks to the platform.

The MVP approach

Monitoring and managing an asphalt tank’s vapor space is critical to safety and compliance with Title V of the federal Clean Air Act. Prior to developing the loss prevention platform, Owens Corning and the rest of the asphalt industry collected vapor space data in offline databases. Those databases were plant-specific and the information they contained was difficult to share and coordinate across the company.

“Through our Loss Prevention discovery process, it became evident that the monitoring and managing of our asphalt tanks’ vapor space was a critical component to safety and regulatory compliance,” says Frank Burg, asphalt manufacturing support leader at Owens Corning. “While there was a rigorous process to manage safety and compliance, there was a big opportunity to make it more efficient and scalable across plants through automation and analytics. The opportunity was to fully digitize the data collected from tanks, automate integration of multiple data flows, and provide tools to plant personnel to analyze data, to highlight and assess risks and hazards for quick actions.”

In August 2021, Owens Corning set developing the loss prevention platform. A cross-functional team across Environment, Health, Safety (EHS), engineering, controllers, and plant leaders worked together with the IT analytics COE to lay out the vision and roadmap. To address the biggest pain points of the current process, the team identified three key requirements for the platform: It needed to provide timely access to data and proactive analytics that highlight risks; give operators the ability to share insights, actions, and learnings across plants; and be easy enough to be used by a diverse group of tank operators with varying degrees of technology experience. The team felt the best approach would be to leverage low-code tools.

“A key consideration was to enable the business team, with a citizen developer, to enhance, operate, and manage the solution long-term,” Melkote says. “Giving more control to business users to enhance the solution was a driver to choose a low-code technology platform.”

The resulting system is a single source of truth for loss prevention data, with proactive monitoring and analytics that alert plant leaders with real-time insights for hazard prevention. It uses a combination of advanced analytics and machine learning to perform relational data analysis beyond the raw data.

The development team, led by Muhammad Shoib, enterprise information architect at Owens Corning, took a minimum viable product (MVP) development approach, creating a proof-of-concept that was deployed at one plant within three weeks. That provided valuable feedback for fine-tuning the process and provided excitement among users and the business team. With their support, Shoib’s team scaled the solution and fully deployed it in 17 plants within three months.

“The MVP took two weeks to build and let users experience the solution to give feedback,” Shoib says. “We then moved to a pilot for one plant, which took eight weeks of iterative development. Deployment at the first plant took two weeks plus hyper care to fully operationalize the solution — to get end users, the product owner, and the citizen developer comfortable.”

Melkote says the pace of adoption and the minimal training required for end users was a pleasant surprise. “The iterative approach to developing an MVP, pilot, and the first plant implementation minimized any hiccups,” Melkote says.

Empowering business users

The approach undertaken for the project represents a significant shift for Owens Corning, which previously relied on a traditional approach to solution delivery, with the full scope solution delivered to the business for testing and validation. Melkote says getting the business tuned into an iterative method of co-developing the solution was a big change, but ultimately a worthwhile one.

“The MVP set the tone and the speed for what was possible that the users could touch and feel,” Melkote says. “They got onboard after the MVP to support the monthly release schedule of functionality.”

Since the platform has been deployed, Owens Corning has replaced personal tools and siloed information with a digital platform accessible across the enterprise, Melkote says. That, in turn, has enabled more efficient data flows and analytics that have increased the speed of decision-making such that the business can now solve more use cases with minimal IT involvement.

“Our business team now manages the solution,” Melkote says. “They felt empowered to enhance the solution at their pace. Dependence on IT to prioritize their enhancements is no longer an issue.”

Melkote now heartily recommends the MVP and low-code approach to her peers.

“Start small with an MVP, let your business partners experience the solution, see the value quickly,” Melkote says. “Put your business in the driver’s seat with the right roles; they manage the speed, functionality. Continue to nurture citizen developers, business product owners; be the best business partner. Let your business partners share stories and experiences and market the success stories.”

CIO 100, Digital Transformation, Manufacturing Industry

With so much diverse data available, why do so many companies still struggle to embrace the real-time, data-driven decision-making they need to be more agile? One thing is clear: The challenge isn’t solved by technology alone.

“You can’t buy transformation,” says Tom Godden, Principal Technical Evangelist with the Enterprise Strategy team at AWS. “Real change doesn’t come just from new technology—it comes from rethinking your processes, which are enabled by the technology.”

Godden offers three tips to help organizations break down data silos, improve data quality, and overcome other longstanding data challenges to foster a culture of decision-making that drives business agility.

1. Build the foundation for managing data in real-time.

A modern data strategy must emphasize data quality at the source of origin, rather than traditional methods of cleansing and normalizing at the point of consumption. Make sure you have the proper infrastructure, tools, and services in place to capture data from a variety of sources, ensure the quality of the data you’re collecting, and manage it securely, end to end.

The technical underpinnings of a modern data strategy include cloud-based databases, data lakes, and data warehouses; artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) tools; and analytics. The infrastructure must be supported by a comprehensive plan to manage, access, analyze, and protect data across its entire lifecycle, with fully automated processes and robust integration to make data actionable across the organization.

“It may sound obvious, but if you do not build the right processes to capture all the data, you can’t act on the data,” says Godden.

2. Don’t just democratize data – democratize the decisions based on that data.

Investing in the data management infrastructure, tools, and processes necessary to capture data in real-time through a variety of data feeds and devices is just the first step. If you aren’t simultaneously creating a culture that allows people to act on data, you’re just creating frustration.

To that end, avoid “reporting ghost towns” that require people to stop what they’re doing and access a different tool for insights. Instead, build analytics capabilities directly into their workflows, with context, so they can easily apply the insights to their daily activities.

3. Provide the types of guardrails that spur innovation instead of inhibiting it.

Building automated processes for metadata, including information on data lineage and shelf life, builds confidence in the data. By storing data in its raw or native format, you can apply access policies to individuals without having to modify the data.

This approach ensures more flexibility for how people can use the data they need without compromising the fidelity of the data itself. A data lake can serve as a foundational element of a data unification strategy, providing a single source of truth with supporting policies for real-time provisioning based on permissions.

Agile decision making: How three companies are benefiting from a modern data strategy

Organizations are already capturing the benefits of real-time access to data based on roles and permissions. Here are three examples:

Swimming Australia, the nation’s top governing body for swimming, has long been at the forefront of science. Now, it’s using data to analyze race performance and create bespoke training programs for individual athletes. A data lake unified athlete statistics and metrics in a single location, and AI/ML tools are helping the team tailor training programs and track competitors. Analysts and coaches capture real-time physiological data during training sessions and combine that information with race analysis to determine how to evolve training efforts for individual swimmers. Coaches and athletes can easily track progress in real time from their phones via cloud-based dashboards. Today, with its modern data architecture, the national team can create benchmarking reports in minutes, an innovation that helped make the Australians the most successful relay team in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games.

Coca-Cola Andina, which produces and distributes products licensed by The Coca-Cola Company within South America, needed a solution to collect all relevant information on the company, its customers, logistics, coverage, and assets within a single accurate source. The answer was a cloud-based data lake, which allowed the company to implement new products and services to customize the different value propositions for its more than 260,000 customers. With all the resources and functionality that the data lake enables, Coca-Cola Andina ensures its partners and customers have access to reliable information for making strategic decisions for the business. Coca-Cola Andina ingested more than 95% of the data from its different areas of interest, which allows it to build excellence reports in just a few minutes and implement advanced analytics. The cloud infrastructure increased productivity of the analysis team by 80%.

Vyaire, a global medical company, needed a way to help its 4,000 employees make better, data-based decisions utilizing both first- and-third-party data. Adopting AWS Data Exchange to find, subscribe to, and use third-party data has made it easier to incorporate data sources into the company’s own data ecosystem, resulting in quicker insights to help teams focus on getting results, not administration. Easy access to third-party data via the AWS Data Exchange catalog has encouraged more experimentation and innovation, giving Vyaire’s leadership confidence that it can meet the changing market for respiratory care products and direct investment in the right area to improve its product portfolio.

Too many organizations continue to be held back from using data effectively to drive all aspects of their business. A modern data strategy will empower teams and individuals, regardless of role or organizational unit, to analyze and use data to make better, faster decisions – enabling the sustainable advantage that comes from business agility.

Learn more about ways to put your data to work on the most scalable, trusted, and secure cloud.

Digital Transformation