By Craig Douglas, VP & CIO, Safelite AutoGlass
Migrating Applications and Infrastructure
The economic savings that the cloud provides cannot be ignored. But because the pace of migrating applications and infrastructure to the cloud is accelerating, it creates a challenge in that reliance on cloud providers may require planned downtime or forced application upgrades on their schedule. Cloud provider Service Level Agreements of 99.9 percent availability may fall well short of our own internal standards. This means that many mission critical applications are better kept in-house for now. I personally look forward to more private and hybrid- cloud solutions that will address these concerns so we can continue the migration.
If you take the time, you can hear what your customers are telling you through their digital activity, website interactions, phone calls and verbatim text responses
Information Security–the Biggest Challenge
First, in the wake of some high-profile security breaches recently, I would have to believe that information security is on the mind of most CIOs. We are entrusted by our customers to protect their privacy. As the bad guys keep advancing, we need to stay two steps ahead. Second, innovation is sometimes illusive. We need to foster a safe environment for the next big idea to be developed. If we do not innovate fast enough, someone could create disruptive technology to change the game.
Utilizing “Big” Data in Business
Now that most companies have enough data to be called “big”, our focus is to utilize the data to make doing business with Safelite easy for our customers. If you take the time, you can hear what your customers are telling you through their digital activity, website interactions, phone calls and verbatim text responses.
These will enable us to create avenues for our customers to interact in their preferred method and tailor our services to meet their demands, not necessarily what is easiest for us to deliver.
My Role as a CIO
A large part of my role has transformed into one where building a high-performance team of engaged employees is a critical success factor. Our IT functional heads must not only be great managers, they need to be great leaders. There is a significant difference. Our Developers and Engineers need not only to be great technologists, but they need to have the mindset to look at the products we provide through our customer’s eyes. Hiring people who are “customer driven” creates the right talent for the future. Our people are ultimately the largest reflection on our brand.
Advice for Fellow CIOs
Imbed yourself and your team deep into the business. Answer phones in the call center, work on the sales floor, restock parts in the warehouse. This not only deepens your knowledge of how the real world really works, but creates a heightened level of engagement and trust with your business partners.