Bring Relevance and Distinctive Value to the Business

Filippo Passerin, CIO, Procter & Gamble
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Filippo Passerin, CIO, Procter & Gamble

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2014

Much of our focus now is on the processes that improve our decisionmaking and provide deeper consumer insights.

Productivity is now considered one of our core strengths at P&G. Within Global Business Services, one of our biggest challenges is to continue re-inventing the way we do business  and increasing the value we bring to the business, while reducing costs. But even beyond cost reduction, we also want to deliver productivity by enabling our  employees to be more efficient in their everyday work. Therefore, innovative technologies and platforms in this area would be extremely beneficial to us, but we need “solutions” more than “technologies.”

"In my more than 30 years at P&G, the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that it is always possible to turn an issue into an opportunity, no matter the situation"

Solutions that would make my job easier

When I think about what keeps me awake at night, it’s not any one single component of our business model such as reducing costs, being more effective for consumers, creating new capabilities for our business units or our people, or bringing more productivity to our employees.

What I think  most about is how to keep all of those elements in the right balance:
• Ensuring the best possible motivation, energy and morale in our people
• Running as cost effectively and reliably as we can
• Creating and inventing a few distinctive breakthrough ideas in areas that we believe are big winners for our business.

Trends impacting enterprise business environment

We’re always observing trends in the world and our industry, but we never choose a technology because it is the latest or fastest. We start by asking “What’s in it for the business and what is the value, the ultimate goal?” We then work backwards to deliver on that business goal. We are very rigorous in  this process and drive it to an extreme degree of specificity.

That is critical to be effective, otherwise we’re building a technology solution searching for a business need.

When we think about the current trends that could have a significant impact–analytics, business intelligence and visualization–we think: “That sounds interesting, but how do we translate all of that into concrete business value?” If we can’t find truly relevant connections between business value and technologies, we don’t pursue them.

Changing Role of CIOs

We live in a VUCA world, one that is Volatile, Uncertain, very Complex and Ambiguous. The world is significantly different than it was even two years ago, and so we have to be much more agile and respond faster to any change.

While technology is completely different–and even more pervasive –than it was five years ago, our fundamental values have not changed: We want to create capabilities that bring relevance and value to the business,  while reducing costs. In that regard, we have stayed the course. What’s different is the areas of work we focus on to accomplish that.

My word for a CIO

My advice is to always focus on bringing relevance and distinctive value to the business. No one is so well-positioned as a CIO to play such a role.

When communicating with business partners, articulate your vision, the opportunities and what is possible with technology. Think and talk in terms of  business value, because that is what resonates and helps business leaders embrace technologyenabled solutions and possibilities.