CIOs grapple with how to jumpstart innovation amid pandemic

IT leaders turn to emerging technologies from strategic vendors and VC partners to help keep collaboration and innovation humming in a work world gone remote due to the coronavirus.

The coronavirus pandemic has spurred a proliferation of rapid-fire transformations, with IT leaders working through punch lists of priorities aimed at preserving business continuity. But with work from home (WFH) decrees eliminating workplace tête-à-têtes, CIOs are wondering what will happen to serendipitous innovation.

As much as CIOs like to boast about IT staff productivity since they were sent home in March, simulating the water-cooler conversation that can spark fresh ideas is difficult. And humans who have glazed through scripted back-to-back Zoom sessions all day are unlikely to pivot to an ad-hoc meeting to expound on The Next Big Idea. Frustration borne by Zoom fatigue and the lack of face-to-face interaction mounts.

“This is going to prove to be very challenging,” says Craig Williams, CIO of networking company Ciena.

The pandemic could have come at a worse time

It’s hard to argue that a pandemic is well-timed, but when the coronavirus gripped the U.S., CIOs, who had met with their C-suites and boards in late 2019 to strategize their IT roadmap for 2020, were already executing on their digital strategy, says Carol Fawcett, CIO of Golden State Foods, a purveyor of condiments, dipping sauces and other foods for McDonald’s, Starbucks and other brands.

Inspired CIOs and their teams executed on their digital strategy, accelerating moves to Zoom, Microsoft Teams or another equivalent, boosting VPN licenses and network capacity and accelerating migrations to cloud software. They reprioritized projects as needed, Fawcett says.

Fresh research from the 2020 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey suggests this momentum will continue, as 47 percent of 4,200 IT leaders surveyed say COVID-19 has permanently accelerated digital transformation and adoption of emerging technology.

Read more HERE

CIOs reshape IT priorities in wake of COVID-19

Surfacing from crisis mode, CIOs find themselves redefining IT priorities, thanks to budgets in flux, a rising need to refine business processes, and new outlooks on the future of work.

Conn’s HomePlus CIO Todd Renaud spent the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic’s office shutdowns and store restrictions “just trying to get through the next day.” One month later, he’s setting his sights on what the next new normal might be, and what it will mean to the appliance retailer’s IT strategy over the next year.

“I’m going to assume that our remote workforce will be a larger percent than it is today,” he says. “How will that impact the company, assets and data? I’m thinking about the impact in our stores if we continue to have restrictions on the number of people” inside and other safety requirements. For example, Renaud is considering videoconferencing capabilities that could enable customers to virtually walk through the store with a sales rep serving as a guide to simulate an in-store sales experience.

 “The unspoken expectation is of me staying as far ahead of the curve from a technology and an impact perspective as I can,” Renaud says.

That same expectation has been heaped onto most CIOs as organizations look to technology to help them pivot quickly. The coronavirus pandemic is affecting IT leaders’ roles and priorities, and forcing them to consider its long-term impact on their IT organizations and on business as a whole.

An IDG survey of 414 IT leaders in April found that most budgets will either hold steady or increase in the next 12 months. They also expect a renewed emphasis on operational efficiency, expense management and cost controls. Meanwhile, business collaboration, hiring and training will take a back seat in the coming months. CIO.com compared these responses to its 2020 State of the CIO Survey, which posed similar questions to IT leaders in September 2019 about their organizations’ IT budgets and priorities for the coming year.

Here is a deeper look at how IT priorities have shifted since the coronavirus upended business operations — and how several IT leaders are responding to the challenge of uncertainty in the months ahead.

Budgets hold mostly steady — while initiatives accelerate

Some 40 percent of IT leaders say their IT budgets will hold steady. Only 25 percent say their budgets will still increase in the next year, down from 59 percent who believed so in September.

Some of the budget increases are being used to ramp up remote work capabilities. At mortgage servicing firm NorthMarq, CIO Dan Ritch suddenly had to enable 500 employees to work from home on infrastructure that was set up for only 165 remote users. In three weeks, the firm put $150,000 of core infrastructure in place, extended its Citrix environment, added a new Citrix VPN, and purchased 50-plus laptops for remote users, a capital investment that was planned to take place over 18 months. “We’ve been able to put a sense of urgency into the infrastructure investment,” Ritch says.

More than one third of IT leaders (35 percent) say their IT budgets will now decrease in the next year compared to the past 12 months, as a result of COVID-19 disruption. That’s up from just 7 percent who had planned to decrease IT budgets when surveyed in September 2019.

With no clear timeline for a return to “normal” business, IT leaders say they’ll focus long term on cost control and expense management (45 percent), up from 29 percent in September 2019. With that, IT leaders also expect a bigger emphasis on increasing operational efficiency, according to 37 percent of survey respondents, compared with 24 percent in September.

Operational efficiency had always been on CIO Bron McCall’s mind at Extra Space Storage, especially when it came to enabling remote lease-signing for its storage units to save additional paperwork and physical steps. “I’ve been talking about that for years, but we had become hesitant to change processes that were already working well,” McCall says. 

But when COVID-19 temporarily shut down offices, executives quickly came on board. “Within three days we were able to deploy remote lease-signing capabilities for customers,” from development to testing to releasing code into production. “That cycle time is what people hope to have with DevOps, and we’re actually realizing it,” McCall says. “I also realized that if we were all onboard with doing something, how quickly we could do it when we took down all the barriers.”

Read more HERE

The pandemic pivot: IT leaders innovate on the fly

Already accustomed to moving quickly, CIOs are testing and scrapping new solutions to accommodate customers. Their work could provide blueprints for future innovation.

As the coronavirus forced Aspen Dental Management to shutter its offices in March, the company quickly moved to connect patients with doctors virtually.

But a problem cropped up: Many patients didn’t care for Aspen’s self-service telemedicine portal. “For the most part, they abandoned it, so we said this is not going to work,” says Yogish Suvarna, CIO of Aspen Dental Management, which provides business services for more than 830 offices.

The solution? Aspen quickly added call center representatives to broker virtual care sessions between patients and doctors. Problem solved.

Pivots such as Aspen’s are playing out all over the world as the coronavirus roils industries forcing organizations to adapt more quickly to satisfy customer preferences, as well as technical and business hurdles.

Rapid-fire digital solutions built in sprints provides a schema for how IT organizations operate going forward, says David Clarke, digital strategy and innovation leader at PwC, adding that IT leaders should view the pandemic as a digital accelerator rather than a deterrent. Seventy-eight percent of CFOs PwC polled in July said they cut investments, though only 17 percent say those cuts extend to digital transformation, Clarke says.

Read more HERE

Direct-hire Sr JD Edwards Consultant Opportunity in Grapevine, TX

The mission of our client is to solve the difficult, challenging and seemingly impossible problems for our clients. We know that the right solution requires the right people, a better process, and better technology and the Business Integration Consultant must operate effectively at all three layers. We recognize that our strength is in our people and the foundation of our organization. We therefore only recruit the best and brightest talent to be on our team.

SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES WILL DEMONSTRATE:

  • Strong JD Edwards functional skillset
  • Proficiency in Homebuilder and Finance and Job Cost modules
  • Excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Leadership skills, be highly motivated and be multitask oriented
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Ability to work independently, as well as in a team environment
  • Strong organizational, multi-tasking, and time-management skills
  • Professional demeanor and presence
  • Proficiency in MS Visio, MS Word, MS PowerPoint, MS Excel
  • Exposure to MS Project

MAIN DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES:  

Implementations and/or Upgrades

  • Document current business processes
  • Create and modify of test scripts to fit the client
  • Test the system and provide support to business users testing effort
  • Lead support during go-live

Managed Services

  • Provide support to managed services clients
  • Leverage support knowledge to create process improvement opportunities
  • Build relationships with clients for lasting partnerships

PREFERRED EXPERIENCE AND CONSIDERATIONS:  

  • 4-year degree
  • 5+ years of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.x Homebuilder experience
  • Experience with BI Publisher, Orchestrator, UX1, OneView / Watchlists
  • Experience with JD Edwards World is a plus
  • Ability to work with clients and managers to interpret and document business requirements
  • Experience in Business Process Optimization and Improvement
  • Ability to produce functional and technical designs for systems, interfaces, and business applications
  • Ability to develop estimates and project plans for configuration and testing
  • Ability to travel up to 25%

If you have this experience, feel you are a fit for this position, and are interested, please answer the questions below:

Your Email (required)

Position You Are Applying For?

What is your availability to start?

Are you open to a direct-hire position?

What is your current salary or pay rate?

Are you currently eligible to work for any employer in the US?

When is the best time to contact you and what # can you be reached at for this opportunity?

Upload Your Resume

Regards,

Mike Hanes
ProVisionTech

Direct-hire JD Edwards Technical/Functional Consultant Opportunity in Grapevine, TX

The mission of this client company is to solve the difficult, challenging and seemingly impossible problems for our clients. We know that the right solution requires the right people, a better process, and better technology and the Business Integration Consultant must operate effectively at all three layers. We recognize that our strength is in our people and the foundation of our organization. We therefore only recruit the best and brightest talent to be on our team.

SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES WILL DEMONSTRATE:

  • Excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Leadership skills, be highly motivated and be multitask oriented
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Ability to work independently, as well as in a team environment
  • Strong organizational, multi-tasking, and time-management skills
  • Professional demeanor and presence
  • Hands on work experience using a modern programming language
  • Proficiency in MS Visio, MS Word, MS PowerPoint, MS Excel
  • Exposure to MS Project, VBA, SQL, Web Development, Python, SSIS, Soap

MAIN DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES: 
Managed Services:

  • Provide support to managed services clients
  • Leverage support knowledge to create process improvement opportunities
  • Build relationships with clients for lasting partnerships
    Implementations and/or Upgrades
    Assist in documenting current business processes
  • Assist in modifying the test scripts to fit the client
  • Assist in testing the system and providing support to business users testing effort
  • Assist in support during go-live


Customizations:

  • Assist in gathering and documenting business needs
  • Leverage knowledge of system to design custom process
  • Write spec for any custom code & create test script
  • Unit test and then test with client
  • Support during go-live

PREFERRED EXPERIENCE AND CONSIDERATIONS:

  • 4-year degree
  • 2+ years of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.x application experience
  • Experience with BI Publisher, Orchestrator, UX1, OneView / Watchlists
  • Experience with JD Edwards World is a plus
  • Ability to work with clients and managers to interpret and document business requirements
  • Experience in Business Process Optimization and Improvement
  • Ability to produce functional and technical designs for systems, interfaces, and business applications
  • Ability to develop estimates and project plans for configuration and testing
  • Ability to travel up to 50%

If you have this experience, feel you are a fit for this position, and are interested, please answer the questions below:

Your Email (required)

Position You Are Applying For?

What is your availability to start?

Are you open to a direct-hire position?

What is your current salary or pay rate?

Are you currently eligible to work for any employer in the US?

When is the best time to contact you and what # can you be reached at for this opportunity?

Upload Your Resume

Regards,

Mike Hanes
ProVisionTech

Direct-hire Solution Architect Opportunity in Grapevine, TX

This Solution Architect is responsible for technical pre-sales support, architecting design solutions, and providing input regarding solutions, structure, and growth. The ideal candidate will primarily be a pre-sales technical resource for our sales team assisting existing and prospective clients with complex technology requirements capture, solutions architecture, system design and presentations

This client company compensates our associates with compensation and a benefits package that includes a health care plan, dental, 401k with match, PTO and paid holidays. We recognize top performers with elevated bonus and growth opportunities. We are a highly collaborative team that enjoys working together that performs well and celebrates our successes. 

Responsibilities

  • Solution Architecture for customer projects — providing the right infrastructure, software and people resources for client’s IT challenges as a technical resource on our sales team
  • Technical scoping and budgeting of projects
  • Create technical proposals and review with clients
  • Write and review detailed SOWs
  • Lead solution architecture and advanced solutioning for sales pre-work.
  • Can architect complex solutions that may include Hybrid Multicloud Infrastructure & Storage, ERP, Integration, monitoring and provisioning software from our partners like IBM, Red Hat and Oracle combined with Implementation, Continuous Delivery and Remote Managed Services from company.
  • Assists with internal technical initiatives and other duties as assigned.
  • Achieves certifications as needed.
  • Participates with marketing by creating content for webinars, events and trade shows.
  • Participates in an Advisory Role with clients and prospects.
  • Develops reusable content for sales team to use with clients.

Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree or higher in an applicable field.
  • 5 to 9 years of experience in a solution architect type role.
  • Demonstrated excellent verbal and written communication skills: needs analysis, positioning, business justification, and sales closing techniques.
  • Ability to persuade others through presentations, demonstrations, and written communication.
  • Advanced knowledge of Microsoft Office products.
  • Ability to travel as needed is required.
  • Core value fit:
    • Better Together – Together, we work hard, collaborate constantly, lift one another up, and challenge each other to do our best work.  
    • Client First! – We exist to serve our clients.
    • People Matter – We love computers, but people are our biggest source of success.
    • Take the High Road – Trust, integrity, respect and accountability in all relationships.
    • H3 Hungry, humble, hustle.
    • Being Good is Not Good Enough We aspire to be the very best.
  • No sponsorship / must be US citizen
  • No H1B Visas
  • Candidates are required to pass a drug test before beginning employment

JOB TYPE: Full-Time Consultant / Employee position. 

LOCATION: Dallas, TX 

TRAVEL REQUIRED: Up to 25% domestic travel may be required to work (to Client specific locations).

If you have this experience, feel you are a fit for this position, and are interested, please answer the questions below:

Your Email (required)

Position You Are Applying For?

What is your availability to start?

Are you open to a direct-hire position?

What is your current salary or pay rate?

Are you currently eligible to work for any employer in the US?

When is the best time to contact you and what # can you be reached at for this opportunity?

Upload Your Resume

Regards,

Mike Hanes
ProVisionTech