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Diversifying a Business Ecosystem through Intensive IT Strategies

By Guoliang Zhong, Regional Chief Information Officer, Friesland Campina


Guoliang Zhong, Regional Chief Information Officer, Friesland Campina

The whole world is changing:  IT consumerization, mobility, social, big data has changed the way how people work and how company operates.  Consumer is becoming more and more powerful in their buy decisions. The business model in FMCG has changed from B2B2C to B2C in many aspects, as IT, we need to think how we can be more customer or consumer focused, using technology to drive more direct engagement with them.

Another notable area is change in the workforce. To enable our own employee work from anywhere, anytime is critical important and help them be more productive on what they do with technology is the priority. As the business change is so faster, IT has to adapt to innovative change management process to meet the requirement, making changes on the fly while keeping reliability and quality, so it is a game of ‘and’ not ‘or’.

Digitizing key business processes is the IT strategy for many companies. IT can lead this together with the business in the front in key business areas such as personal productivity, value chain, sales and marketing, etc. Key measurement to monitor these strategies progress is to define clear KPI and align with top executives, IT oraganizations. cost, productivity, business values on top of traditional IT KPI, e.g. SLA, and co-own these KPI with business partners.

There are so many innovations happening in the marketplace today, but only the right IT organizations who can find the sweet spot between technology and business have led the creation of business value.  Business always comes first, then technology. One of challenge is to find right IT personals, who can articulate the business problem, communicate well with business partners, while understand the technology side as well. 

The other challenge is to have a clear roadmap in enterprise architecture given so many legacy systems in the company to support the overall company digitization ambition. Personally I like to do is always benchmarking outside before we decide key solutions so we can avoid the silo trap and another thing is always to involve architect in the key digital projects, to ensure the right technology choice are made.

I am very firm believer of 2 key IT transforming in the future, indeed, they are already happening:  

1)    IT is becoming integral part of business. IT needs really sit together with our business partners to talk their language, really understand their process and pain, or even better articulate what exactly business problems we try to address.

2)    Cloud computing is the trend to adopt for enterprise software. Application Platform as a service strategy is becoming more and more eminent for our business application. Many companies will choose one or two key platforms (e.g. SAP, salesforce.com, Oracle, etc.) to develop key applications, meanwhile, also leveraging the open eco systems those platform provide to help build apps. Companies should not worry too much about the IT infrastructure, as those will be taken care by platform providers, the focus will be on how to develop apps and go to market faster.

On personal note, I am driving integrated digital sales and marketing platform in China, the goal is to engage our consumers, customers, stores and O2O in a whole Omni-channel way.

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