Embracing the Modern Way
CIOREVIEW >> Cloud Canada

Embracing the Modern Way

Jeremy Bucchi, vice president of Cloud Transformation, Lincoln Financial Group
Jeremy Bucchi, vice president of Cloud Transformation, Lincoln Financial Group

Jeremy Bucchi, vice president of Cloud Transformation, Lincoln Financial Group

Technology is a key driver for every business from how it competes and serves its customer base, to how it supports its employees and enables to effectively perform and meet customer needs. And now more than ever, as companies have shifted their workforce to a remote or hybrid model and adapted distribution strategies, the enterprise IT organization has been integral in changing how we deliver products, solutions and services that deliver value.

With a company like Lincoln Financial Group that’s been operating for more than 115 years, there’s a historic advantage to having gone through a variety of significant changes in all areas of business including product offerings, customer needs and regularly creating and implementing new technology. But building a solution from the ground up isn’t always a differentiator, and creating custom, bespoke solutions won’t always generate maximum value or return on investment when there are already strong solutions in the marketplace. As such, an IT organization turns into a technology integrator. Sourcing the best-in-class solutions shortens timelines to meet a need, resulting in faster workplace integration, greater speed to market and improved customer response.

Focusing on our roles as integrators allows us to devote more time and resources to homing in on modernizing legacy systems. This not only drives strategic intentionality around cloud transformation but introduces greater opportunity to balance our data center, cloud and colocation to create a resilient IT ecosystem. A flexible, hybrid approach positions us to maintain a more agile and DevOps-centric operating model.

Business partner buy-in is critical to technology advancement and adoption. Enterprise IT itself has recently overcome one of its greatest challenges: owning a seat at the corporate table. The shift from the perception that IT is just a service provider, to IT is a value center has been an important industry milestone. IT is a strategic partner to all business lines, supporting growth, customer experience, product delivery and the bottom line. For example, while driving widespread cloud adoption has been the hot topic of IT organizations for the past several years, understanding of its full value is just now reaching the enterprise level—in a few years, everyone will look back and wonder how we ever operated without the efficiency and flexibility cloud offers.

Asking business partners to invest in any change requires transparency and education. It’s imperative to be deliberate about where the IT organization asks its business partners to invest by getting out ahead of what that investment looks like, developing a plan for what the next 18 month to three-year commitment looks like and providing them with a vision of the intended outcomes. After achieving buy[1]in from business partners, the challenge becomes matching our advancements with the customer experience. Customer adoption is just as important to IT’s success, striking the right balance between self[1]service and efficiency while still offering personal interaction where necessary or requested.

“Focusing on our roles as integrators allows us to devote more time and resources to homing in on modernizing legacy systems”

This all comes with a positive, yet challenging culture change. From development to implementation and upskilling to expense management, the transition to a new IT operating model is a journey. A purposeful education and training plan coupled with commitment at all levels of the organization will ensure a great chance of success when it comes to implementation.

As technology evolves, so too do skillsets as the move to a DevOps and agile-based model requires more persistent teams.

IT is a highly competitive and quickly evolving environment, but through consistent communication, tight collaboration with all areas of the enterprise and a well-executed plan, IT organizations will continue to have a huge hand in delivering value for the company and its customers, now and in the future.

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