The change making CIO

by Digitise & Automate08 Feb 2019

Chief Information Officers are at the centre of the technological and generational shifts that are changing the way we work. Here are some thoughts on how to maximise your company’s potential.

At Ricoh, we say we are in the “Business of Change”. But, really, we are all in that business today. Technological and generational shifts are disrupting the business status quo and the ways we choose to work. As a Chief Information Officer it’s likely you’re at the centre of the storm: pulled in opposite and equal directions to move with the times, avoid disruption of current practices too much and keep the pressure on reducing costs. It can feel challenging to set a solid course for the future, but it can also be very exciting. So much change and disruption means that there are appetites for experimentation and trying something new.

As the CIO, with your central role in managing and protecting the company’s knowledge, data and information and your window looking out at the possibility of new technology, you can help paint the picture of your organisation’s new, richer future.

Design Thinking for great outcomes

In a recent article on LinkedIn, Ricoh Australia’s CEO, Andy Berry, wrote:

Our mantra is to design for a great customer outcome. You can’t guarantee a great outcome because there are always so many real-world variables at play. So, in re‑designing each element of our customer journey, we aim to increase the likelihood of a great customer experience, regardless of the unusual or peculiar circumstances of their individual interaction with us.

Andy is a proponent of “Design Thinking”. At its core is the human experience. It’s about asking the right questions as opposed to solving problems. It’s about investigating through analysis and synthesis. Looking at an issue from multiple perspectives, discovering the current and future state relying on both evidence and speculation. In other words open up to the full world of possible solutions. Be prepared for a resolution that improves something already in place or an invention never previously identified.

Design Thinking processes in action

A great example of Design Thinking was the work that Ricoh undertook with the Law Institute of Victoria. As an organisation in the legal world document management, sharing and storage is central to their work. It was time for them advance into the Digital Age and the first step was to digitise their significant archive. As you can learn from this short customer story, it required a completely new approach and way of thinking about the task at hand as well as getting some good infrastructure, processes and systems in place.

Painting the picture

It’s also crucial for your people to join you on the journey. Disruption and change can be scary. New, more mobile and remote work practices can be confronting for some, as can having to interact with new technologies for communication and collaboration. So it's important that you empathise and listen to the concerns of your workforce. Be sure to engage them with a great story around any proposed change - what is its origin, why it has to happen and what the benefits will be, both for the day-to-day and the big picture.

Technology is just the enabler of great change. The outcomes are the real heroes of the story. With a clear focus on the outcomes, the end game and all of the benefits, your people will be more inclined to be proactive and adjust their behaviours and pre-conceptions.

The differences you don’t notice

One of the things we spend a lot of time on at Ricoh is helping our customers design workflows and processes that compliment the technology solutions we provide. It’s no use selling cutting edge printers or interactive whiteboards if the workers aren’t able to integrate them seamlessly into their work days. In some ways - we want our technology to be forgettable. Workers spend so little time thinking about how to connect their video conferencing, book their meeting room, manage their documents digitally or print their paperwork remotely it barely registers as a task. This is what we mean by designing for greater customer outcomes.

This is one of the key tenets behind our Integrated Cloud Environment (ICE) that works with ICE-enabled devices to deliver seamless scanning, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) file conversion, document delivery and mobile printing capabilities. As a secure cloud service, even the set-up is hassle free with no need for servers, system integration, software updates or maintenance. Just open an account to get it up and running. Our goal is to turn document management from a problem into a productivity enabler.

As a CIO it’s important that you have key goals like these to point to as your reasons for digital transformation. Cost saving is a good enough reason for sure but on its own, it’s not always a story that your workers can rally behind. So take the time to design an outcome plan and paint the picture for your people about the benefits they will receive and why it’s worth embracing. New innovation and great ideas will be just around the corner.