Before enterprises embark on new projects, CIOs need to do lot of groundwork and lay out a good strategic plan. This should begin with defining our objective, pre-analysis of all the IT requirements and be able to show cost justification. The strategic plan should involve project prioritization, risk analysis, and also take into account all the escalating factors.
We need to understand that we can make a good beginning only after refining and integrating our operations. Most enterprises operate dozens of applications from various vendors, creating a disparate environment where little information is shared across applications. Critical integration not only includes Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications, but CRM, SCM and other similar applications as well.
As a CIO, my priority would be to find out as much information about the relevant solution that fits out bill, as possible. Preferably find out case studies or inside stories of enterprises that have already implemented such similar solutions and their rate of success. This would enable a fair understanding of a range of solutions and their competitive price and performance available. For example, product and price profile of different ERPs available for an industry like ours, would also provide us with a ring side view of the reason behind enterprises going for a particular solution and a comparative analysis can be done for models that suits us best.
Besides, it is critical for CIOs find out the kind of vendor support post implementation as well as during implementation also as both are crucial phases for any new projects roll out. Most importantly, CIOs have to figure out what a 'customer focus' means to their business and the impact it will have on their organization. It is essential to participate proactively in formulating the company's strategic business plan.
Information sources like the media, Internet or domain experts will do good if they come out with information on various implementation methodologies and orientation towards various solutions and applications like ERP will help us immensely. This will go a long way in enabling CIOs to keep updated about all the latest and emerging fields. With these broad visions, I feel, CIOs can then analyze their scope, identify the gaps, and draw a clear road map achieving the set goal.
(As told to Sandhya S.M.)
(G.Chandrasekhar is the CIO of Mangalore Chemical and Fertilizer Limited and can be reached at email@example.com)