Improvers focus on the traditional IT virtues of controlling costs, increasing efficiency, and optimising processes. Transformers instead focus on using technology to fulfill a companys strategic vision. They understand which new tools and applications will solve issues or improve processes that the business may not yet acknowledge as needing attention.
Its clear from the survey that theres pressure on manufacturing CIOs to make the journey from simply being Improvers to becoming Transformers, said Martin Hill, vice president marketing for Epicor in EMEA. With the challenges faced by the manufacturing industry and their dependence on increasingly sophisticated systems and technologies, CIOs now have greater influence over how quickly a company can expand into a new market or how quickly a business model can change. All C-level executives, including the CIO need to focus on business transformation rather than just improvement and efficiency. Unfortunately, this is not whats happening in many cases. Inflexible systems, restricted budgets and outdated technology are holding back CIOs from assisting in transformation. The majority are spending too much time, money and energy just keeping the lights burning — supporting and maintaining what they have to focus on a more strategic role.
Its not that CIOs dont want to function as Transformers. Its more a case of them being held back by old technology, antiquated software or outdated infrastructure which means the majority of their time is spent tactically on meeting the needs of the day-to-day business, said Hill. Faced with the reality of having to keep things going, they are forced back into the Improver role. However, the survey shows that although CIOs are not fully-fledged Transformers yet, there is a quiet evolution going on. It is an evolution and transformation that is warmly welcomed by both CIOs and their peers within the manufacturing industry.
The latest generation business software, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and human capital management (HCM) is now built to anticipate the future business world — a world where change, adaptation and continuous innovation are table stakes. New agile platforms make it simpler and quicker to adopt new functionality and adapt to market change, facilitating the rate at which the business can be transformed. With simpler deployment and ease of maintenance, CIOs can now concentrate not only on what they run or what they run on, but more on what these technologies can do for the business. Furthermore, it means they can stay one step ahead of business needs.
Hill concluded, At Epicor, we are focused on putting the right tools in the right hands to move business forward. Despite ERPs clear role as a key for competitiveness and competitive advantage, many respondents in the survey felt that their ERP systems were under delivering. We understand that technology by itself isnt going to transform business. It needs the vision and drive of a transformative business leader to truly unleash its capability. This is where the new Transformer CIO will be crucial in driving business success both now and well into the future.
- 100% of CIOs considered that within their organisations, the demand for speed, re-invention, agility and innovation has increased over the last five years. 100% of non-CIOs agreed.
- Among the top-level business drivers shaping CIOs present focus, the CIOs role was seen as central to the drive to expand into new markets by eight out of ten CIOs (83%) and two-thirds (67%) of non-CIOs. Managing changes in the businesss business model was also seen as central to CIOs present role, with two-thirds of CIOs (67%) and over half the non-CIOs (56%) expressing this view.
- While the majority of CIOs saw their role as that of an influencera position part-way on the spectrum from Improver to Transformer; the view from non-CIOs was more polarised, with 30% seeing their CIO colleagues as Improver and Transformer respectively, and less than a quarter (22%) opting for the middle ground of Influencer.
- No less than two-thirds (67%) of non-CIOs describe their CIO has having evolved from Improver to Influencer. CIOs themselves affirm the same progressively transformative trend.
- When quizzed on which new technologies they saw as being primary investments to enable their business further in the future, CIOs said mobile. Non-CIOs were split, 66% citing mobile and 33% SaaS.
- 50% of CIOs and 44% of non-CIOs agreed that ERP had reduced the complexity of key operational processes, as well as enhancing speed. 56% and 33%, respectively, said that ERP had helped to reduce operational costs.