Patrick Bulacz, CTO, APAC & Global Head, Mobile, Bluewolf
For today’s business and IT executives, knowing your way around established technology solutions isn't enough anymore. IT departments are now dealing with employees that have consumer expectations regarding the experience and efficiency of the tools they use to achieve their daily tasks at work. The IT industry is growing and changing at a very fast pace, and the two key areas organizations need to be aware of is first, in keeping up to date with emerging SaaS offerings and most importantly consumer ‘type’ solutions.
The second is to ensure that organizations don't fall into the trap of enormous tech debt. Things like custom solutions that have been developed in-house or on premise to fit a specific business function, and then continue to be added to and extended over the years with additional features to keep the end users happy. Often a time comes when the natural limits of these tools are reached, and if you're too far down the rabbit hole, to change / update / refresh to a new environment or offering can be a heavy and costly burden.
Raising the Bar in Cloud, Social and Mobile Technologies is a Must
It is essential to learn the challenges that one confronts while working in new technologies. If your organization is still 'evaluating the cloud' that’s a clear indication you're in more tech debt than you should be, and run the risk of being left behind by your competitors. Cloud is the standard for enterprise solutions now – not later. While technology is only an enabler, in this modern day, it can enable best practice in the forms of business process automation, tech stacks and infrastructure off the shelf.
Social and mobile are the other two most powerful engagement technologies in today's organizations technology eco systems. For social, whether they are internal technologies such as Yammer, Chatter, or Social cast, or customer facing ones such as Facebook or Twitter, they all have a very common failure theme in organizations because of poor adoption. I often see customers roll out social technology without much thought into the impact, the desired usage and lack of any attached success criteria. The reason for this is because the technologies are so easy to implement. I always advise customers that unplanned rollouts lead to a poor experience to your customers and/ or your employees. Once that experience has taken place, it's often impossible to get that trust back for a second time.
Mobile is the area I see organizations most likely to struggle with. The cost of deploying a mobile application –regardless of the size of the organization - can at times be enormous. It’s this ‘cost shock’ that often holds companies back from achieving their true potential when it comes to customer engagement.
My mobile mantra is Mobile isn't about an app, a device or even a technology. It's about how your employees & customers "experience" your brand.
When it comes to deploying innovating experiences to organizations’end users and customers, my advice is to do 3 things incredibly well;
(1) KNOW the customer and end user;
(2) BREAK DOWN silos in the organization when it comes to innovative projects around social and mobile; making sure that key leaders are involved, from sales and marketing to the contact center, when defining the preferred customer experience; and
(3) Make customer experience innovation a core pillar of the organization’s values from the top down.
Finding Opportunities for Delivering Challenging Projects
One of the most innovative projects I have part of the project was the freshness of the concept, and the genuine excitement from the client, which was invaluable in garnering ideas from the most unlikely areas of the business. Ultimately the greatest insight into developing the tool came from getting amongst retailers — walking in their shoes so to speak — and reviewing exactly what they wanted and needed; from an FMCG brand in their store and tailoring the experience, to provide actual business outcomes for them.
The three key aspects to this project were the genuine openness of the business in embracing a deeper relationship with retailers, the process of generating ideas from within the business and the time spent with retailer. This allowed us to respond directly to their needs and wants, and develop a tool for both our client and their customers. With those three components, it's only execution that can fail you and in my opinion that's one of the easier parts.
Leadership in the Age of Technology
There always will be some one who knows more, or has a more innovative approach; a leader has the ability to identify the stripes, the true talent, and leader is the one who is able to nurture it. Leaders aren’t necessarily the smartest person in the room, but they know who is, and more importantly they invest in developing them. They can rally a team through good times and bad always ensuring the common goal is met.
“Leaders aren’t necessarily the smartest person in the room, but they know who is, and more importantly they invest in developing them”
The upcoming generation of business leaders is not afraid to try something new, they're not afraid to use the best tool for the job and integrate them accordingly.I used to think that leadership only came with experience, As a result, I’have focused on working across all aspects of the industry, from being a developer, to working in sales and marketing, and design and support. Rather ironically, I held the ‘legacy’ mentality of earning one’s stripes. What I have learned over the years through varied roles is that there is always someone with more stripes.