Manage Business Relationships

Manage Business Relationships
How can CIOs transition IT from just being an internal service provider to a business partner?

Top Answer : IT has two key functions. If you look at a company as all these gears and moving parts that are all trying to work together, one of the key focuses of IT is to be the lubricant in that whole mechanism to make the machinery work more efficiently. So everything that you're doing internally, as an IT organization, is to support the efficiency and collaboration within the company. With the COVID situation, this is actually more true now than ever because without the support from the tech organizations (IT or the CTO), the whole machinery would fall apart because we wouldn’t have all the ways to connect and continue to work together. The other part is not to just be an internal service provider, but also be a business partner with the leadership of the company. To look at how they can bring technology to help the business grow. And I think the second part is often aspirational and overlooked, but it is exactly what actually gets IT out of being a cost center into being a more balanced approach in terms of managing the cost while running the whole set up and becoming a part of the investment plan for the company. But this depends on a lot of things which, I would say, are even out of the CIOs control. It depends on the company culture, the organization set up, how the rest of the company is looking at the IT organization, and whether they are even receptive to looking at this as a partnership versus a service provider. So there's a lot of these factors that I think come into play. That being said, I think that there are opportunities to look at the core value chain of the company and to determine where there might be some opportunities that get you from service provider to an enabling growth engine. It might be a recommendation to look for some small quick wins with certain business partners. You can't do it with every unit out there, so maybe look for the quick wins, the smaller opportunities. Do some pilots and some test cases and then get the business side to support your ambitions from an IT perspective. It's probably never possible to satisfy every single department and every single business unit that's out there, especially in bigger companies. You have to pick the business units that are more likely to work with you and make that progress, and then build from there.  What I've done in SAP that's worked generally well for me is, I've partnered very closely with the sales organization, and we've done quite a few projects. You help them to move a little and they really appreciate that. So over time, over a few projects they give you that seat at the table. It's all about proving value to them. It's doing more than the basics that gives you that seat at the table. If you're at the table already, then it's a matter of building a network with the peers.

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Tell me a time when you were pretty confident this product or feature was going to fail, but because consensus was ship it, it shifted anyway. And it ended up being a big winner where you were like, "Oh, well, I guess I was wrong."

Top Answer : I've got to tip my cap to the head of product management that works for me. QuickBase had this login screen for our users when you're coming to use our platform. It was a super elegant fully white screen with the dialogue box and a login or canceled type of thing. We have 10,000+ hours per week that eyeballs are looking at that screen. Somebody on the team had the bright idea treating that like ad space. Shouldn't we announce that we have a user conference coming up? Shouldn't we announce that there's a big release coming up of a new feature set? Shouldn't we give pointers to resources? We have a very robust co-op program at QuickBase where we work with universities to bring in CS students to be part of our dev teams. Over the course of a month, they basically rebuilt the homepage so that the sign-in page now has information and other resources. It's been immensely helpful in terms of driving more usage of other capabilities and features. That to me was a really good example of something that was really obvious and just all upside for us. A more nuanced example comes from two years ago. We were building and delivering a new workflow automation capability inside of the QuickBase app. We were all kind of like, okay, this is really important. We're really glad to be bringing this, but it was really only seen as a step on the roadmap for us. And the reality is we launched that and very, very quickly the usage and the adoption of that capability just completely outstripped any thoughts we had had of demand for that capability. A third of our customers within just a couple of months were using that capability. It got so acute actually that we looked at it and said, we're going to need a bigger boat. So that actually was one of the core elements that drove an acquisition we made last summer of a company called cloud pipes, which is now kind of the foundation of our integration and workflow platform.We’ve got a lot of Zapier-like capabilities to connect to third party systems and a very, very robust, highly scalable workflow automation capability. That's going to be a very strategic platform. And it was all unlocked by the building and shipping of automations, which we knew was going to be important. We had no idea how important it was going to be.

Hi Everyone, I'm trying to establish some clarity and guidelines in my applications area.   In particular, I'm trying to get an agreed upon definition for enterprise systems and a definition for a functional system.  Specifically trying to clarify where IT will build a team to deploy and support vs the business.  Would you be willing to share any guidance/definition you have at your respective companies?

Top Answer : I can’t share our actual definition but we would rank them with some weighted scores. How many users? How many Divisions using ? How many sub-divisions within a division using it? You could have an app/system used by 20k people but only for Aerospace and only by two of five sub-divisions.... definitely not an enterprise system When they have high weights / scores they are “enterprise worthy”

I'm trying to build a more security-aware culture.  Has anyone successfully embedded security responsibilities in other teams across the business?

Top Answer : Security cultures will vary and often are unique to a business culture. Most security programs are deliberate with a set of actions to promote awareness and there are some significant features of successful security cultures. · Security awareness extends past IT and begins at the top. Senior leaders set the tone and drive cultural change. Making executives aware of the risk to the organization posed by a lack of security awareness is key - Loss of revenue; Reputation damage; Operational disruptions; Intellectual property (IP) theft; and Theft of personally identifiable information (PII). ·  Establish a continuous security training program for all staff. Training staff about safe online computing, strong passwords, and social engineering, will help mold the organization into the first line of cyber defense and ensure the confidentiality of sensitive business data. · Keep the security program aligned with business objectives. Focus on specific incremental goals rather than trying to achieve too much too fast. Identify the security behaviors that need to be promoted and align those behaviors to business results so that employees can understand the value security has in protecting the overall organization Most importantly, successful security programs AVOID a culture of blame and fear when it comes to security. Security leaders should empower users with a culture of personal responsibility so staff treat data security in the same way they treat other company policies like health and safety.

How do you balance the desire to provide customer-centric IT with finite IT resources?

Top Answer : At Nutanix, our emphasis is on creating a delightful experience for our customers, who are our internal employees and users.  They’re located all around the globe.  Some of our main customers are engineering and sales. They constitute around 60-70% of the workforce. There are certain use cases that we have done for these employees to make their life easier. For example, a common thing that our engineers look for is VMs. So we have created an ability to quickly provision VMs to them by simply asking over Slack. Another use case is for Mac users especially. They often need Citrix VDI or the FRAME VDI option. So we have provided one easy way for them to go to our Slack bot and ask for those kinds of things. Our focus is always on how we can make our end users productive so that they in turn can do their basic job. We determine the customer experience by measuring it using NPS. Over the last three years, we implemented certain tools and technologies to improve the overall customer experience. And we have been watching it more closely on where we are going. There was a time where the growth was too much and so many users were coming and joining. It was very hectic. But just before that we implemented certain tools and technologies that helped us to overcome that additional work. We did increase some number of people but not at the same rate. The combination of these automations and some processes that we redefined really helped us in improving our customer experience. We did have some bumps in the customer experience, but we were able to quickly notice them and take corrective action.

What's the biggest mistake marketing teams make when trying to sell to IT buyers?

Top Answer : I could go on FOREVER about how bad the marketing is to me. From email addressed to the wrong person, to coy 'I enable high performance' emails...  the list of bad marketing could go on forever. MOST OF ALL< STOP CALLING!!!

Innovation:  AI Investment and AdoptionInnovation: AI Investment and Adoption

AI/ML investments are well underway at leading companies and show no signs of slowing. But are these massive investments generating the business results they promise? Your IT peers tell all.

What are the top challenges IT consultants face when working with new clients/companies?

Top Answer : The economy in Mexico is very much price-driven and most of the time best practices are not cheap, so have to be political and nice about it using your soft skills. You have to tell your clients that things are not always the way they think and convince them to do IT the right way, and not make them feel uncomfortable with that.   Once you have sold the project you have to be very delicate with change management issues.    When you talk about technology, new projects or new ways of doing things, people are afraid of losing their jobs. I think that's the same everywhere, but because of the economic situation here that is a very sensitive issue, people tend to be very much protective of their jobs.    So when you introduce new ways to do their job to them, their first reaction is not very supportive, more like incredulity. It's a really, really challenging situation to convince people so they will embrace and defend the project as their own. We have to show them that their value as employees increases because of the experience they're getting and they will learn new ways of doing things, that makes them more valuable as resources.   Other barrier is trust. It is hard to make top management realize they have a problem/risk and convince them that the price for the solution is a win-win situation, not for your own benefit. They feel they’re getting low value for the price.    Now, as for being hired to collaborate for a company as an employee, that happens because the company has a problem and you’re coming to solve it, so be prepared for whatever you will find, forget about being hired because everything is fine.    For the time you’re the new kid in town your role is technology enabler: focus into solving whatever comes your way while getting deeper knowledge of the way the company does business. No two companies do business the same way, even if they're in the same industry, so learn fast, get involved and don’t be afraid to ask and to fail.   When you feel more comfortable with your knowledge about the company, start to propose new things, new ways of doing business. Try quick hits first to get their trust then make bigger moves, implement things that provide value to the company.

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