CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 60

The idea behind the initiative was to take a significant
amount of cost out of the IT organization. About four
weeks in my new job, I went to the board and said, “I
understand that you want me to take cost out, but a cost
reduction program is not going to help the organization in
the long-term.” My view was that it is a bit like going on
a diet. I can certainly cut lots of cost, but as soon as I stop,
we are going to put weight back on. In addition, just
cutting cost for the sake of cutting cost was going to hurt
our capability to drive change and add value to the
business, ending up with an infrastructure that was not fit
for the future.
I told the board that I wanted to create a world-class IT
organization. Being world-class, it will be by definition an
efficient organization. At the same time, it also means that
I can drive a stake in the ground with an inspiring vision
and get my team motivated to help me build something
new, rather than come to work and worry about whether
they are going to lose their job or help somebody else lose
their job. It was an important switch in focus and the
board bought into that very quickly and has been
extremely supportive in the process.
The vision calls for a world-class IT infrastructure that
provides the business with maximum flexibility regarding
its go-to-market strategy. This vision guided me and my
leadership team in developing a common set of values and
a set of operating principles which in turn guide everything we do. Once we knew where we wanted to go, we
decided on the few key things that we needed to do
quickly. For example, we have invested in networking all
parts of the business together to replace the five separate
wide-area networks that were not designed to talk to each
other.
Mutually-beneficial Relationships with Partners
Our vision for a world-class IT organization extends to and
includes our key partners. Here too, driving a stake in the
ground is a great way to manage the team. The overarching principle regarding our partners is that we will
create mutually-beneficial relationships by working
together to develop an IT infrastructure that will enable

efficiency and innovation, local and global competitive
advantage, through a world-class IT partnership. I intentionally included polar opposites in this statement because
I wanted people to step back and think about how we can
solve some of our challenges in a new and different way.
Today, we are a long way down the road toward designing
a hybrid IT infrastructure that will allow us to harness
these opposing forces – have innovation at the front-end
and be super-efficient at the back-end, be able to focus on
what the local needs are and at the same time take advantage of what we can deliver globally.
My approach is to see partners as an extension of the IT
organization. I have asked my three key partners to work
together and agree to joint commitments. I share my
business plans and IT strategy with them. Together we
work on finding solutions to our business challenges. I
have the option of creating an RFP or RFQ and wait to get
back a proposal that represents what they think I want in a
way that fits the way they want to do business. But I
would rather have them sit around the table and develop a
solution together. I know roughly what the business
problem is that I am trying to resolve. What I need is my
partners’ expertise and their IP on the table, telling me
what is the best way to deliver a solution.
By driving a stake in the ground you raise the stakes – and
the rewards – for everybody involved.

I can certainly cut lots of cost,
but as soon as I stop, we are going
to put weight back on. In addition,
just cutting cost for the sake of
cutting cost was going to hurt our
capability to drive change and add
value to the business, ending up
with an infrastructure that was
not fit for the future.

The Takeaway
“You can get a team to work together in a focused and determined way, by setting an audacious goal that stretches them beyond
their expectations, by motivating them with an inspiring vision that pulls them toward great performance or by establishing an
overarching principle that guides them in all their actions.”
How to ensure that a stake stays in the ground: “People would come to me and say, ‘Hey Richard, this is a really good idea and
I can see why you want to do it, but unfortunately, I won’t be able to have my area ready in time.’ My response was, ‘Great. I
have an hour on the board’s agenda every month. Would you like to have the last 10 minutes to explain to the board why IT is
going to be ready but you won’t be?’

60

// CIO Straight Talk



CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2

CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2
Contents
So What Do CIOs Want
Innovation at the Periphery
The CIO as Thought Leader
Career Move: From Managing Technology to Managing Change
Every CIO is in the Information Business
Analytics and Decision Making
Putting IT at the Center of the Customer Experience
Pick n Pay Focuses on Delivering Value to Customers
Bringing "Lean" to IT
Whither the Cloud in a Stormy IT Enviroment?
Management by Driving a Stake in the Ground
From Data Processing to Orchestrating Knowledge
Extreme Collaboration
Enterprise Mobility: Delivering the Connected Customer Experience
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - Cover2
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 3
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - Contents
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 5
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - So What Do CIOs Want
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 7
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 8
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 9
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 10
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 11
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 12
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 13
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 14
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 15
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 16
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 17
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - Innovation at the Periphery
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 19
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 20
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 21
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - The CIO as Thought Leader
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 23
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 24
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 25
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - Career Move: From Managing Technology to Managing Change
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 27
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 28
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 29
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - Every CIO is in the Information Business
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 31
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 32
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 33
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - Analytics and Decision Making
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 35
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 36
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 37
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 38
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 39
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - Putting IT at the Center of the Customer Experience
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 41
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 42
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - Pick n Pay Focuses on Delivering Value to Customers
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 44
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 45
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 46
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - Bringing "Lean" to IT
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 48
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 49
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 50
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - Whither the Cloud in a Stormy IT Enviroment?
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 52
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 53
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 54
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 55
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - Management by Driving a Stake in the Ground
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 57
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 58
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - From Data Processing to Orchestrating Knowledge
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 60
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 61
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - Extreme Collaboration
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 63
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 64
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 65
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - Enterprise Mobility: Delivering the Connected Customer Experience
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 67
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 68
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 69
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 70
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 71
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 72
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 73
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 74
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - Cover3
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - Cover4
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