The Future of the Connected Enterprise:

CIOs Talk Blending People, Process and Technology

While many businesses and organizations had digital transformation and modernization on their roadmap for the next 2-5 years, the global pandemic caused many to fast-track these initiatives. Recently a group of technology leaders from the retail, healthcare, and higher education sectors got together to talk about how they’re approaching digital transformation and building connected enterprises that blend people, processes, and technology.

Ralph Divito
VP of IT
Raymour & Flanigan

Ralph Divito - Raymour & Flanigan

Angela Neria
Pittsburg State

Angela Neria CIO Pittsburg State

Saby Waraich
Clackamas CC

Vikki M. Massey
Deputy CIO
U of Tennessee HSC

Kenneth Libutti
Palm Beach State

Kenneth Libutti CIO Palm Beach State

Carolanne Kaye

Carolanne Kaye CITO CCS

“If you had asked me what my plans were for the next 5 years at the start of last year, I wouldn’t have anticipated COVID, fires, freezes all the crazy times we had,” Saby Waraich, CIO at Clackamas Community College said. “Now we’re looking at what our next year could look like, seeing how we perform, and how we do will set the vision for the next 4 to 5 years.”

At Clackamas, Waraich said he and his team are focusing now on the role technology is going play in connecting the business, and supporting things like hybrid classrooms, hybrid conference rooms.

In the last year we’ve taken a huge leap in technology, but it’s also created a bit of a digital divide, We need to find the right balance between modernization and disruption.

At Raymour and Flanigan Ralph DiVito, Team Leader of Technology and Business Intelligence, said retail has been extremely dynamic with a lot of disruptors – especially in the furniture and mattress markets where Raymour and Flanigan compete.

“Our technology strategy, as a result, is dynamic but it really needs to align with our organizational vision of driving the best customer and employee experience,” DiVito said. “We’ve been working on a technology roadmap that really allows a customer to do business with us at any time, while also making sure that our teams on the back end have the tools they need to execute on behalf of the customer. We’re really focused on technology that removes friction from the customer experience.”

Ralph Divito - Raymour & Flanigan

In the healthcare sector, the pandemic has shifted the way many offices and hospitals interact with patients, and medical schools have had to adjust as well so that students are well prepared when they graduate, “Our big focus right now is making sure we are well-positioned as an organization so as the technology needed in the patient care environment changes, we are able to keep up so our students are prepared for when they go into practice,” Vikki Massey, Deputy CIO at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, said.

The Future of the Connected Enterprise:

Supporting Remote Work with Technology

One of the biggest hurdles of the pandemic has been supporting distributed workforces and remote learning.

“There was a real focus on making sure we were communicating with everyone the best ways for them to get the support they needed to facilitate online classes and teaching,” Massey said. “We also had situations where we needed to support labs that had to be done in person, so we had support remote grading for those instances to make sure we maintained safety protocols and social distancing.”

For DiVito, being in retail presented some unique challenges.

I think one of the benefits has been that people now think of IT in a different light because we were able to give them the tools they needed, almost overnight, to be able to continue to do their jobs from home.

DiVito said, “We’re a 70-year-old retailer with 150 locations in the northeast and 6,500 team members. Our buildings went dark in late March, but our business was able to continue online because we had the right tools in place and the organization had confidence in IT to get any of the tools needed to support the remote workforce.”

Both Massey, DiVito and the others all agreed that one of the biggest challenges of supporting the remote workforce was fostering the human interaction and collaboration that happens organically when everyone is together in person.

Because everything has become so digital since the pandemic, a lot of people want to find answers to their problems quickly, and one way to do that is to provide more self-service tools.

“We’re looking to add in more AI learning, looking into how chatbots can help support our hybrid and remote initiatives. We are doing a POC right now just for employees to see how the service desk, facilities and human resources can utilize a chatbot to solve some of the redundant problems that we see all the time. If that goes well, we’ll roll it out to students.”

Ralph Divito - Raymour & Flanigan

We don’t have enough IT professionals, anywhere – there’s a huge drain and we’re all experiencing this

Angela Neria CIO Pittsburg State

Angela Neria, CIO Pittsburg State University, said. “We’ve talked about remote work for a long time, and we’ve known that we couldn’t really afford to pay someone to live in Kansas City with a Pittsburg wage – it just doesn’t make any sense. So, this was a great opportunity for us to look at how we could retain the talent we have here by giving employees the perk of working at home.”

Neria said the data they pulled from their TeamDynamix ITSM platform showed employees were more productive when working from home. “What we’ve done is really look at two things. One, how can we allow people to continue to work from home and keep that productivity up. And two, when should we look at third-party services to help support us.”

Going forward, Neria said employees will have the flexibility to choose how they want to work based on their position, “So far, it’s working very well for us.”

The Future of the Connected Enterprise:

Working Better Together with Connected Enterprise Service Management

In many instances, these organizations were successful in meeting the challenges of the pandemic because of their openness to embrace true enterprise service management.

Kenneth Libutti CIO Palm Beach State

“We, as an IT organization, started to put together a service catalog for the whole organization to use and really switched from being tactical to being service-oriented,” Ken Libutti, CIO at Palm Beach State College said. “This allowed us to be an example of what could be accomplished through solid service management and enabled business leaders across our institution to come to us and get started with enterprise service management.”

Now, HR, Finance, College Admissions, Instructional Design and Marketing all use the same platform for service delivery.

At Coordinated Care Services, it’s a similar story.

“In IT we had a very successful service delivery rollout,” Carolanne Kaye, CIO at Coordinated Care Services, said.

We had this really great internal team working on it that was made up of a cross-section of staff so we could make sure we had localized champions that could give us immediate feedback. We also included our marketing team to help promote the rollout and drum up excitement around the launch.

So, when it was time to roll out the platform to the rest of the organization, people were ready.

“Everyone saw it was a good way to highlight knowledge base articles for self-service and good data around what’s happening in our organization to help us better service delivery in all departments.” 

Carolanne Kaye CITO CCS

In addition to rolling out service management tools to groups outside of just IT, many of the CIOs said they were looking into automation and integration tools to further support employees.

“The integration of people, process and technology is really important to us,” Vikki Massey said. “What we’re doing now is looking at where we can automate some of those more manual processes so we can take what’s already an overallocated workforce and make sure we are allocating them to things that require more specialized expertise and a human touch. Using technology like TeamDynamix helps us better deliver our services and using the data we get from that tech helps us drive our decision-making. All of that together is helping us drive towards that digital transformation we are looking for.”

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