What is the best approach to a business transformation? Most CIOs are tasked with transforming the business operations to ensure their relevancy for the digital age. Yet the challenge has been likened to changing the tyres on a car while the vehicle is moving. You must support today’s issues while simultaneously creating the operating model for tomorrow. The evidence highlights that big transformation projects rarely succeed but, without that intensity of effort, how can you effect the desired change?
Gavin Wood has been Chief Information and Digital Officer at Newcrest Mining since 2014. In his opinion the IT department must be in front of the business to help it navigate more effectively towards its desired future state. In this regard Gavin argues that IT must help the business distinguish between what it thinks it wants and what it actually needs. In particular he advocates the importance of laying the correct foundations for IT so the business has the base on which it can more easily adapt and evolve. He also emphasises the importance of utilising data and metrics to bring evidence and objectivity to IT decision making.
In this presentation Gavin and his colleague Suzanne Boothey will outline the digital transformation they have overseen at Newcrest over the last three years. They have deliberately taken a lean and incremental approach yet they have been able to deliver transformation on a number of fronts. Their strategy has been underpinned by three key philosophies – the need to simplify, to standardise and to save. Initially, the focus was on establishing the appropriate IT foundations on which to build in areas such as process control, governance, data integrity, analytics and the use of Cloud. With these pieces in place Newcrest has found it can move much more rapidly when implementing change. This has been reflected in the recent introduction of digital initiatives that have helped generate over $50m in additional cash flow.
Gavin argues that key to their success has been care in the selection of projects. While the portfolio of activity is large projects are assessed against their potential business outcomes and are tracked against the benefits that are realised. As a result, IT has been able to use McKinsey and other industry data to benchmark its performance to demonstrate the effectiveness of the IT function. This has helped engender a strong working relationship between IT and the business which has been reflected in an increase in the IT headcount, a business willingness to increase its investment in IT and the empowerment of IT to work on innovation and R&D initiatives to help the business.
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