It’s no secret that technological advances will continue to improve consumers’ experiences. While CIOs will always be responsible for keeping their organizations safe, secure, and sustained, successful businesses must harness the power of new digital solutions to drive better business decisions, and outcomes and ultimately grow the business.
Depending on who you ask, doing business in a digital world can mean different things. To some, it means adopting consumer-facing digital offerings like e-commerce, mobile apps, and digital marketing; to others, it means digitizing operations and processes internally. To continuously evolve and adapt to forever-changing consumer expectations, CIOs must take an end-to-end approach to digital – focusing on four areas: People, Process, Technology, and Data & Analytics. If you do this, you will realize the value it can add to your organization.
- Focus on your people.
For me, it’s all about people – having the right people delivering through great partnerships with the key stakeholders across the business, understanding their needs, pre-empting, and then responding to them. A recent Gartner poll stated that talent is a top challenge for CIOs in 2022. To attract and retain the right people, we need to satisfy their hunger to experiment, fail fast and learn.
When our Kellogg IT team told us they didn’t see enough growth opportunities, we knew we needed to take a new approach to learning and development. We built our Year of Development Always (YODA) initiative with a vision to cultivate our childhood curiosity and an eagerness to learn. We created several tracks in the program for technical training, career strategies, and shadow programs to help our colleagues learn and explore new facets of the overall IT function. The program has seen great results, team engagement is at an all-time high.
- Don’t frown on the word process; embrace it.
When we think of ‘process,’ many people immediately imagine a rigid and inflexible approach. I challenge this perspective - we sometimes have to slow down, to speed up. Processes can be flexible while still providing structure for business growth - they're what drive progress every day!
Part of doing this is closely linked with People because Process can be about engaging business colleagues at the right time with the right solutions. Being a trusted partner means bringing the company along the digital journey with us, which is essential for our future success.
- Integrate technologies that delight consumers and drive better business outcomes.
We know that building scale and leveraging our platforms will deliver value for the business, but what about delighting our consumers?
In 2020 a team member attended an event and learned that more than 2 million people in the UK live with sight loss and cannot simply read the information on packaging. It sparked an idea to add NaviLens technology to our packaging, allowing visually impaired people to access all of the information on our packaging via their smartphones – either by having it played aloud or by using accessibility tools.
We partnered with our Packaging and Design team and launched a successful pilot making Kellogg the first ‘food’ company in the world to include NaviLens technology on our packaging.
Our company’s purpose is for everyone to have a place at the table, and we want all consumers to be able to access important information about the foods we sell.
- Making better business decisions with data and insights.
Data has always been available but never in the abundance that it is today. While CIOs may not manage every corporate data program, the IT function is critical in ensuring commercial and functional teams understand what data is available and use it to fuel insight-driven actions.
At Kellogg, we’ve re-imagined our data & analytics approach and focus on data ownership, quality, ethics, and governance. This is the recipe for making better business decisions.
The real magic happens when you join forces with other business areas, like Marketing, to combine our insights and analytics capabilities with innovation, e-commerce, and more. This has allowed us to create a rich omnichannel experience that ensures we have the right foods, attractive pricing, and tailoring the right message to our diverse consumers.
Freeing data from silos is critical to meet consumer needs and preparing for the future consumer experience. We recently commissioned research that looks at what consumer shopping trends we can anticipate by 2035; we are making investments to prepare for those consumer expectations.
For example, in 2035 and beyond, the retail environment will fit the needs of each shopper. Shoppers will see the personalization of products and shopper journeys as a baseline expectation to fit their unique attitudes and needs. Traditional online and offline environments will become increasingly integrated, supplemented with AI and innovative technologies to offer data-driven capabilities.
Digital is the driving force behind any business, and IT is in the driver’s seat. Commercial business leaders can and should partner with their IT teams to help prepare for digital shifts to create more personalized experiences that create brand affinity.