Eugene Roman, Executive Vice President, Digital Excellence and Technology Advisor, Canadian Tire Corporation, discussed the role of business disruption and innovation, and how they can be used to drive transformation, in his presentation to Argyle's CIO membership at the 2017 Chief Information Officer Leadership Forum in Toronto on September 27. In his presentation, "Disruption + Innovation = Transformation," Roman examined the role of digital in the global business landscape, along with provided tips to help CIOs build successful digital strategies.
According to Roman, digital tools and technologies are reshaping the way that companies connect with customers and one another. Yet many businesses fail to capitalize on the digital tools and technologies at their disposal.
How a company deploys digital may impact its immediate and long-term revenues. If a company possesses top-notch digital tools and technologies, as well as digital expertise, it may be better equipped than ever before to drive business growth.
"Digital touches everything, just like the internet touches everything," Roman said. "[Digital] is the most powerful disruption to hit retail in more than 50 years."
Meanwhile, the deep web remains a work in progress. As the deep web continues to evolve, companies will need to revamp their day-to-day efforts to keep pace.
"The evolution of the deep web continues to shape our business and how our customers behave," Roman stated. "And it only gets more complicated every day."
A "global village" of partners is available to businesses, Roman said, and this village is driven by digital.
"The evolution of the deep web continues to shape our business and how our customers behave."
If CIOs understand how to optimize the value of the digital tools and technologies that are available, they can discover top-notch partners. Then, CIOs can build partnerships to deploy state-of-the-art digital tools and technologies more quickly and effectively than ever before.
"Old school has no place in web 4.0," Roman pointed out. "We're dealing with vendors that you've never heard of … and our job as technologists is to know how to work with [web 4.0]."
Although many CIOs have limited time and resources at their disposal, a commitment to innovation can make a world of difference for any CIO, at any time.
An innovative CIO can identify opportunities to foster digital transformation and use digital tools and technologies to help a company achieve its goals. Plus, this CIO may be better equipped than others to discover unique ways to help a company use digital tools and technologies to stay ahead of its rivals.
"We can stay ahead of the curve. Otherwise, our business will suffer," Roman noted. "You have to be faster than they [your competitors], and you have to have better ideas than they do."
In many instances, CIOs are reluctant to search for third-party vendors and foster partnerships with them. However, failure to build global partnerships may cause severe problems for a company, regardless of its size, stature or industry.
"Digital touches everything, just like the internet touches everything."
CIOs who embrace collaboration can find partners who possess digital expertise in a wide range of areas. As a result, these CIOs can work with first-rate partners to maximize the return on their digital investments.
"A lot of IT people are not trained to partner properly. These people are trained to do the work," Roman indicated. "You don't need to learn to trust us. We need to learn to trust you."
It often takes a global village to build a successful brand, Roman noted. As such, CIOs should search globally for partners and determine which vendors can offer the right digital expertise, for the right company, at the right time.
"The global village dictates where the centers of excellence are," he said. "The global village is a multi-cultural place … and we can take advantage."
Lastly, Roman indicated that collaboration plays an important part in how the global business landscape operates. But many CIOs fail to understand exactly how collaboration works.
"Collaboration is a much overused term," he stated. "Collaboration in a business unit involves a person telling you how to do your job. But most people have no idea what is possible with collaboration thanks to the technology that is available to them."
With a collaborative approach, CIOs will be open to hearing about new digital tools and technologies. These CIOs can review a vast array of digital tools and technologies and determine which options can make a difference for their respective businesses. That way, CIOs can make informed decisions about digital solutions.
"People try to knock on my door all day long and try to sell me things. But there are great ideas, and there are great start-ups in different spheres, and there are great companies that can make a difference," Roman indicated.
Eugene Roman is Executive Vice President, Digital Excellence and Technology Advisor, for Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC) and previously served as the Corporation’s Chief Technology Officer since 2012.
Eugene has a passion for connected retailing – the art and science of engaging and serving our customers through digital experiences, whether they choose to shop online or in store. In this role, Eugene analyzes and advises on CTC’s opportunities to adopt new and emerging advanced technologies.
Eugene started his career in telecommunications and has worked for Nortel Networks Corporation, Bell Canada Enterprises Inc., and Open Text Corporation. In progressively senior technology and business roles in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K, Eugene was responsible for integrating critical technology and business processes to better deliver innovative programs. He has also led efforts to increase productivity and improve performance in order to deliver current and ‘next generation’ services more efficiently within a large organization.
Eugene holds a Master’s Degree in Administration, Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, is a Certified Management Accountant, and is a recent graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors program. He is a frequent speaker on “The Future of Digital Content” and was recently appointed as a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, where he will continue his outstanding work in advancing innovation in Canada. In 2015, Eugene was named CIO of the Year by RIS News and Canada’s CIO of the Year (Private Sector) by Information Technology Association of Canada. He is an industry professor in Design Engineering at McMaster University, and was recently appointed to the Board of Governors at York University, Toronto, Canada.