CIO Straight Talk - Issue 11 - 44

hybrid of front-office and back-office initiatives.
I still have oversight of the corporation's internal
technology solutions, but I also have a lot more
customer-facing technology responsibility. The
work that my team does has very direct impact
on the overall experience NCR customers have
with our company.


The evolving
responsibilities of a
veteran CIO at an iconic
134-year-old company
- from back-office
to front-office, from
hardware products to
software- and servicesled solutions - is
emblematic of the CIO's
changing role.


ike a lot of companies, NCR has been
going through a shift from product
manufacturer to solutions provider. Since the
company's founding 134 years ago, our primary
goal has always been to help companies better
connect, interact and transact with customers.
Naturally, over the course of so many years,
how you do that has changed dramatically
as a result of technology advancements. In
1879, for example, we did that by introducing
the first mechanical cash register - hence our
name, which stands for the earlier, and iconic,
"National Cash Register."
Today, NCR provides hardware, software and
services solutions that enable nearly 700 million
business transactions daily across the financial,
retail, hospitality, telecommunications and
technology industries. Reflecting the evolution of
the industry, NCR now goes to market with our
software solutions and attaches the hardware
and services, as opposed to leading with
hardware and attaching software. This approach
yields greater benefits for NCR customers as
they transform their consumers' banking and
commerce experiences.
As this shift has occurred, my job has likewise
evolved. In the early years of my tenure, I played
a traditional back-office role. The work was
focused primarily on operations and efficiency
- for example, consolidating ERP, creating
VOIP networks, and setting up development
and services centers for cost efficiency. Today,
I provide strategic leadership of the full IT
portfolio across NCR, and my role is more of a


In almost everything I do, I keep the question
"How will this affect the customer experience?"
top of my mind. I need to think about how they
acquire our technology, how they on-board
it, how we invoice for the product or solution,
and, essentially, its whole life cycle. How we
procure, build, ship, and maintain the hardware
and software that support the client relationship
are all impacted by the work I do as CIO.
Security is also a much more significant part of
the job today, which includes the up-time and
compliancy of our SaaS data centers.
One of the things I've been most excited to
see as our company has evolved - as we have
focused on driving ever more value to our
customers - is the real-time awareness and
visibility we have into our products - millions
of endpoints all told. Internet of Things sensors
allow us to monitor the up-time and availability
of those endpoints. We're able to push software
downloads, so that we can perform ongoing
health checks, check the statuses of faults
and alerts, and obtain more precise location
information - a data point that is extremely
useful for our service technicians, who used
to spend a lot of time simply trying to locate
the client's machines. IoT can also help the
device be self-healing or self-correcting,
because the endpoints are actually learning
about the customer's products and services as
they operate.
Preventive maintenance is another area in which
we have been leveraging IoT. We collect large
amounts of historical data about our machines'
operations, and that's all fed into a data lake. We
use visualization tools to spot trends and Big
Data algorithms that mine the data and predict
things like where failures might occur or what

parts we will need in our inventory, so we can
reduce the time we need to get a part to the
As we look at our path ahead, we will focus on
rolling out more self-service capabilities for the
B2B customer. We know these customers want
to see their whole business on a single page
and follow this "digital thread" from end to end
- the status of their orders, shipments, invoices,
asset inventories, service incidents, their ability
to transact repeat orders. Clients demand an
"Amazon-like" experience, so we have to design
our websites to have a similar ease of use. As
the lines blur and things become more IoT,
or endpoint, related, we expect we'll see the
consumer having even further influence on our
product designs.
My work will continue to become more and
more customer-facing. I'm already doing some
leading-edge IoT work with external customers.
And now that IT is coming out of the back office,
our employees are acquiring more consultative
skills and building with the end customer in mind.


Internally, the boundaries are blurring as well.
For example, we now have two types of funding
for business initiatives. If a services division insources a project to my team, they pay 100% and
they get 100% of the benefit. The second type
is a shared initiative with two or more interested
parties - either business units or corporate
functions - that have shared use of the system. If
the business case shows you will get 80% of the
benefit, we'll give you 80% of the cost allocation.
My overall IT budget is changing too, as a
growing portion of spend is on transformational
programs that cut across multiple functions
of the company. Roughly half my budget
today is customer or product facing - though


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CIO Straight Talk - Issue 11