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A CIO's Journey in Driving Business Value is Endless

By Celso Guiotoko, Managing Director, Alliance IS/IT Function, Renault-Nissan BV

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Celso Guiotoko, Managing Director, Alliance IS/IT Function, Renault-Nissan BV

 I joined Nissan as CIO in 2004 with responsibility for the company’s global IS/IT. One of my first projects was to give our senior leadership greater transparency into our IT investment strategy and to help clearly define our process to source and manage vendors. Starting in 2009, I became responsible for finding synergies between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and transforming the IT organization in both companies. We’ave led a number of initiatives since 2014 to create converged functions that support engineering, supply chain manufacturing, purchasing and HR. It is a delicate task to preserve the independence of both companies, navigate two different governance structures and still find opportunities for a common IT platform between  the two.

We have an incredible opportunity as CIOs to guide our companies through all the technological changes needed to drive business transformation. We must be nimble and reinvent ourselves along the way or else we will fail. Today’s CIOs rarely have the same CVs and diverse academic, cultural and business backgrounds make for more enlightened  IS/IT leaders. They each bring their own strengths to the table and their organizations are stronger for it. They have experienced many changes and are eager to help their organizations evolve – be it through technical or managerial change.

I am proud to lead a global organization of more than 3,000 professionals who support the business strategy for Renault-Nissan Alliance. I have a very strong team   and I’ve learned to empower my direct reports around the world to make decisions since I can’t be in  every region simultaneously. Clear communications and transparency is critical as is an understanding  of our business goals. We’ve had an IT framework since 2011 called VITESSE, which is French for  velocity or speed. We translate itinternally as “Value,” “Innovation,”“Technology,” Simplification,”“Service” and “Excellence.” We use this framework across the Alliance and within Renault and Nissan. A clear understanding of our shared  KPIs between both organizations is also very helpful to ensure everyone is working toward the same objectives.

Leading through the Technology Challenges

Technology continues to have a profound impact on multiple areas of the automotive experience –from how we design vehicles to how consumers purchase and drive them. It’s a very exciting time to be in the industry.Today, I feel that with the expansion of digital world our executives are becoming more and more interested in knowing  how IT can enable the success of  our business.

Auto manufacturers have access to an increasingly high volume of data as more “connected cars” join the roadway. We are able to collect a large amount of information from a vehicle’s cameras and sensors and utilize big data to help our engineers improve performance, reliability and the driving experience. We see great potential to capitalize on the industrial IoT. We have invested a lot of resources into traceability in our production lines and combining with the connected vehicles we are creating a different model for improving the quality of our products and services.

Our IS/IT organization regularly collaborates with our partners in engineering and Research & Development, too. We’re integrated  into Nissan’s Research Center in Silicon Valley and innovating in the emerging technology that powers autonomous vehicles and connected cars. Our priorities for autonomous in the near future are improving the quality of our cars and making the driving experience safer.

The Internet has made shoppers  more informed than ever before –from Yelp to Amazon, consumers have unlimited outlets to share information about products and  services. In fact, 80 to 90 percent of the car-buying experience now starts online, making it even more important for us to use digital engagement for brand-building and  direct-response marketing to get information about our products and brands to consumers. At Nissan, our HELIOS project is a great example of using the digital experience to grow the relationship between our brand  and its consumers. The platform offers a customer-centric car buying experience – building it around their journey rather than the technical Capabilities of a vehicle. The internet is now our biggest showroom, so we’re evolving our dealership experience to recognize that consumers will have done most of their research before they come to speak with us. And bringing our Digital Marketing Platform with our Connected Vehicle Platform together will unleash a completely new way of interacting with our customers.

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