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Reduce and Variablize the Cost of Technology

Dennis Haltinner, CIO & VP, Worldwide Technology, PartyLite Worldwide
Dennis Haltinner, CIO & VP, Worldwide Technology, PartyLite Worldwide

Dennis Haltinner, CIO & VP, Worldwide Technology, PartyLite Worldwide

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2014

In 2014, I expect to see even more focus on transforming “Big Data” into real-time, actionable  insights. Also, the mobile platform is still viewed by some technology providers as just a small PC. Applications and content are mainly just a subset or  reformatting of what is available on a PC. So this year I expect to see more and more solutions designed specifically for the unique capabilities of the mobile platform.

"The internet and social networks are transferring power from manufacturers and retailers back to consumers"

Solutions that would make my job easier

We need to finally fix the problems around consumer data privacy and security. Passwords, pins and even credit cards may have outlived their usefulness. Technologies have advanced rapidly, but we are still using the same basic security thinking and techniques we used for the past 50 years. There are real technology solutions to the problem, but the costs and the difficulty in moving the entire financial and retail communities are huge. But it must happen.

Trends impacting enterprise business environment

We know more about the consumer than ever before. We go beyond simple consumer segmentation. Now we focus on developing very targeted and individualized messages that are meaningful, relevant and impactful to each and every customer. The internet and social networks are transferring power from manufacturers and retailers back to consumers. Price comparisons and reviews by friends are becoming more important in buying decisions. We see this as a huge opportunity to engage, inform and service the consumer. We are expanding our use of the “cloud” for our computing utility to achieve the benefits of economy of scale, to reduce and variablize the cost of technology and, just as important, to allow our limited technology resources to spend more time on innovative and differentiating activities that can directly benefit our business and customers.

Changing role of CIOs

Technology is now a core part of our business strategy. The role of CIO has expanded from overseeing and managing the “computing utility” to facilitating business innovation. Today the CIO must be much more than the chief technologist. The CIO needs to bring insight to the C-Suite on how  technology can improve the busness and open new avenues for competition.

My top 5 lessons are

1. The most important relationships for a successful CIO are the ones you build among your peers in the business. You are the leader of the technology function, but your real team is the executive leadership in your organization. To be a good team member, you must take time to really understand the company’s business.

2. It already has become cliché, but you need to run the IT function as a business. Clear goals, a deep understanding of cost drivers, a business plan and regular measurement of results are critical to your management as well as your credibility in the C-Suite.

3. Focus your time and energy on the things that really matter.

4. Think big, but take small steps. Focusing on shorter, quicker deliveries greatly enhances the probability of success and allows for easier midcourse corrections.

5. Do not fear, but rather embrace the speed of technology change. Change is the great equalizer. Businesses that can best leverage the rapid changes in technology and transform themselves will not only survive but prosper.

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