Role of CIO
Managing risk has always been part of a CIO’s job, but as business systems have become more elaborate and interconnected, that burden has grown. Many technical leaders are under intense pressure to provide the latest business system capabilities while still using legacy technology. Maintaining this equipment beyond its end of life is a resource and risk intensive balancing act. That’s because:
- Outdated technology may expose the organization to security vulnerabilities and system outages
- Tribal knowledge of modifications is lost over time as people move on to new roles and jobs
- The system becomes such a complex ‘house of cards’ that it reaches a tipping point and incremental changes are no longer an option
As the technical debt builds, CIOs have no other choice but to embark on a digital transformation, whether they are ready to or not, and hope that the system migration they’ve undertaken won’t fail badly and negatively impact the business.
Challenges faced by CIO
As the fourth industrial revolution picks up momentum and digital technologies transform industry after industry, organizations’ technology needs and expectations have increased commensurately. Meeting those needs and expectations can be difficult when an organization’s staff have significant gaps in their technical expertise, or if the business has a 20th-century corporate culture that is struggling to adapt to the pace of 21st century digital transformation.
“Quite often, implementing new technology comes with unforeseen and disastrous consequences,” says Ken Lockhart, Vice President of Business Transformation and Sales at Flintech. “The challenge is to keep people, processes and technology up to date and optimized without slowing down the business.”
As a former CIO, Lockhart is all too familiar with the balancing act that comes with this C-level position. He’s delivered cloud solutions since the early 2000s and has helped countless companies navigate the shark-infested waters of technical evolution. He joined the Flintech team in 2013 as a consultant whose role was to define and implement Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP solutions. He then returned to the company in 2018 as a permanent part of the team.
Lockhart knows what it is like to have a consultancy partner throw technically skilled but inexperienced people at a project and how CIOs frequently have to step in to stop projects going off the rails. So, when he took over the Flintech team, he applied everything he had learned during his 35-year career and dozens of successful go-lives to make Flintech the reliable partner with which he had always wanted to engage.
Flintech’s business transformation team has turned the execution of a smooth go-live into a science. Because every company’s journey is different, the team leverages its collective experience to provide flexible solutions. Each member has had enough time in the trenches to predict issues well before they become problems and is committed to end-to-end testing. They ensure processes can be executed flawlessly, which eliminates the risk of go-live problems.
Critical Elements of Lockhart’s Approach
- Multifaceted Consulting Team
The Flintech business transformation team comprises 30 highly skilled, functional and technical consultants with diverse expertise and business acumen. On average, these consultants have 15 years of experience, translating into a reliable and seasoned approach to every aspect of a project.
- An Ability to Solidly Understand Business Operations
Success depends on a practical and realistic approach to determining the optimal processes and the technology to implement them. The Flintech business transformation program ensures the people, processes and technology are aligned to meet the client’s business needs.
- Incorporate Formal Change Management Techniques
“We assess the organization’s readiness and all the types of help they really need to execute the project at a strategic, tactical and operational level,” said Lockhart. Incorporating change management into an implementation project greatly improves the results in terms of how well the business needs and budget are met.
- Taking the Risk Out of Go-live
It’s simple; knowing that you have the right processes defined and knowing that your people can execute them ensures go-live will be a great day for the company. This involves pinpointing and analyzing the organization’s most critical processes, training the users effectively and then testing the processes end-to-end.
“We focus on getting the processes that account for 99 per cent of the business right before pulling the trigger,” said Lockhart. “This way, if there ever is an issue, it is on the fringe.”
Importance of Testing Before Go-live
There are typically two reasons why companies face bad outcomes after a less than stellar implementation of an ERP system. Sometimes it’s because the testing is done by insufficiently skilled people. But often it’s because testing is either done perfunctorily or not at all. A new ERP may resemble its predecessor. However, as Lockhart always advises clients, it is a new and different system that requires comprehensive testing before it goes live. Trying to save money by skimping on that testing is a false economy.
Future Ready and Scalable
There are few things more demoralizing than going through a demanding digital transformation project only to find you soon have to embark on another one. To avoid such a fate, make sure you invest in solutions that can scale up as your business does and also adapt to changing circumstances.
What Flintech offers CIOs
At Flintech, we believe that CIOs should be able to turn to like-minded senior consultants to help mitigate technological risk across business applications, facilitate the smooth migration of systems to new platforms and provide their users with the competitive edge they need to win in their industries.
Want support with digital transformation from a company that genuinely understands what CIOs need? Flintech can help. Book a free consultation with us today to find out more.