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Rethink how to Embrace IT Business Partners for Effective Results

By David Robinson, CIO & SVP, Lockton Companies

David Robinson, CIO & SVP, Lockton Companies

Vital Role of Technology

The largest trends from the broker side have been an explosion of activity around the areas of mobility, cloud, business social, data analytics, and information security. These trends are not unique to just our industry. At Lockton, we have developed specific strategies to build out and position our company and our Associates to leverage these technologies to increase efficiency and make our clients’ businesses better.

Proactive Use of Data

A shift in mindset must happen around the need for application and services to be fully aligned or standardized. The true common denominator for business is the data itself. If you can decide how that data is standardized, classified, controlled, and shared, then you can focus on where each specific piece of data is needed to drive your corporate objectives. This sounds a lot easier than it is, especially if environments have large custom applications and data sets. These challenges are a factor in the growing importance for the role of Chief Data or Analytics Officer.

Embracing the Cloud

If you are not embracing cloud computing at this point, you are likely falling behind and will find it tougher to compete. I am not saying that everything needs to be done in the cloud, but the benefits are fairly significant and the risks have been greatly reduced. Cloud adoption can likewise advance older legacy environments very quickly. At Lockton, we have a majority of our transactional systems running as software as a service (SAAS). We have also built out an extensive virtual desktop environment. This award-winning technology allows Associate to have access to the same in-house systems and services anywhere in the world. It has been a game changer for us.

“If you can decide how that data is standardized, classified, controlled, and shared, then you can focus on where each specific piece of data is needed to drive your corporate objectives”

Adopting the Culture of ‘Always On’

This paradigm shift didn’t really sneak up on us. The future was fairly clear based on the demand from the early Palm and Blackberry devices. Fast forward to today and the capabilities of mobile devices are absolutely amazing when compared to standards just 15 years ago. And this wave of innovation is far from over. But with good can come bad. With smart devices being ubiquitous and a culture of “always-on,” companies today need to be setup to meet these expectations. A great mobile device management solution is a good first step. Third party providers are also playing well in this space as a strong option. Companies will need to address their corporate policies and controls for both devices and the content they carry. It’s a brave new world and we will need to approach how we manage, operate, and secure it with very different thinking than what got us here.

Confronting Technological Changes

It is crucial to support people today who are mobile and online 24x7x365. If you are not already excellent at the fundamentals of corporate IT, you are behind. We have to embrace the reality that technology will continue to emerge from the business and not from the IT Group. Also It is crucial to support people today who are mobile and online 24x7x365. If you are not already excellent at the fundamentals of corporate IT, you are behind. We have to embrace the reality that technology will continue to emerge from the business and not from the IT Group. Also understand that you can’t do it alone. Rethink how you embrace your IT business partners to help your organization achieve goals. Finally, information security and corporate reputation is under ever-increasing risk – have the best practices in place to protect yourself, and educate your people to be the first line of defense.

CIOs – Evolving with the Business

My role has shifted from simply acting as a cost center to focusing on business strategies.If the things we are doing today don’t align to a specific business strategy, we will question why we are doing it. We serve as technology and project management consultants to the business. As such, we need to fully understand our core businesses and how they operate. We need to be knowledgeable about the company financials and profitability. You can’t be in the trenches and expect to be able to see the bigger picture. I would challenge everyone to check their vantage point. If you can’t see the whole field, you are in the wrong place. Our roles are evolving; we need to as well, in orderto help lead, develop, and execute company priorities.

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