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Recognizing Technology for the Key Enabler It Is
Baladji SOUSSILANE, CIO, Bolloré Transport & Logistics
As technology becomes more and more ingrained within the business challenges, we see IT leaders acting more as business partners rather than as suppliers of solutions.
While traditional business models continue to drive significant revenues across the board, innovative technologies are changing business models, and new entrants appear nearly every day.
As IT leaders, it is our responsibility to adapt our IT model on one side, while making an effort to embrace new technologies, and bring them to our businesses, to make possible new business models.
We are moving from a world of solutions development to a world where our role is to aggregate technology and solutions to deliver more of them, and quickly. Here, Enterprise Architecture is a key component. We will have to adapt continuously at a rapid pace. For that to happen, our design should be modular, reusable, and service-oriented.
At Bolloré Transport & Logistics, we have a rich and long-lasting experience of Innovating – it is part of our DNA. Today, we are not only looking at what new technology can bring to our businesses tomorrow, but we also implement current cutting-edge technologies in real life, with, and for real customers. We have bold examples with Blockchain, IOT, Drones, virtual reality, as well as RPA and Artificial Intelligence. We are also partnering with major industry leaders to co-design new solutions to existing client situations.
2. What are the challenges in terms of deploying technology at enterprises?
When it comes to new technology and innovation, the challenge is not so much to open subjects. Envisioning opportunities is important, but closing them and innovating while keeping one’s foot on the ground, deciding what will work, and identifying solid business cases are the important decisions to make.
Clearly, the biggest challenge is to attract and retain talents but also to make key partnerships as part of our IT strategy.
We are moving from a world of solutions development to a world where our role is to aggregate technology and solutions to deliver more of them, and quickly
3. What are some of the best practices to engage in while initiating a digital technology transformation?
“Partnering with the right companies and recruiting the best people.”
In terms of IT Model, there have been two words that misled many companies. The first one is “agility”, and the second one is “bi-modal IT”. There are always two sides of a coin. On one side, of course, it allowed to develop new solutions quickly, reduced tunnel effect, brought value more quickly, and helped the business mature an idea. It also created a lot of new revenue to consultants…
On the other side, some companies, even when unable to express clearly the target they wanted to reach, could start develop new solutions nearly from a blank page. We have looked at how many agile developments really created a bold value and compared what they could have been if developed in traditional V model …
Bi-modal IT allowed us to create and implement new ideas quickly, whether using new or traditional technologies. As a result, we sometimes created two IT companies and cultures within one, different salaries, different technologies, different ages, ... in some companies this created a real clash between two classes, a caste system within IT personnel!
The challenge is to embrace new technology, design the right architecture, simple and scalable, identify business value points, bring them quickly to the business in short timeframes, and reconciliate new and historic talents in a consistent journey.
4. In terms of usage of computational systems to enhance workflow efficiency, what does the future hold for organizations?
As we introduce new technology and innovate to create incremental business revenue, we should not forget to increase operational effectiveness. In other words, I like what Gartner calls the Pace Layered Architecture: While systems of Innovation and systems of differentiation bring solutions that impact the top line of the businesses, systems of record such as ERPs and back office solutions are critical as they provide long term and recurring, incremental operational benefits. They also rely on solid processes.
5. Is there any information you would like to share with us from your personal perspective and experience as a CIO?
I believe businesses that do not consider technology as a key enabler will not survive; At Bolloré Transport & Logistics, we strive to place IT as a strong and recognized business partner. Our key missions are:
• Transform to better serve Our Clients
• Recover our maneuverability
• Take advantage of our Regional Competencies
• Innovate as part of our DNA
• Strive for Operational Excellence
Everyone within IT knows those five key missions and our initiatives are aligned with those. It is important to create a sense of being part of common goals.
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