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Two Speed Strategy

Two Speed Strategy

CIO

Mikael Larsson, IT Director- GKN Aerospace Engine Systems

What do the IT function/CIO have to have control over in a two speed IT strategy?

Our business is on the one hand becoming increasingly dependent on IT and other is seeing more and more opportunities that IT can offer.  

As an IT function you need to adjust and relate to that other business functions of the company are involving themselves in regarding designing,  developing and testing different IT solutions.

Information technology becoming an enabler in almost all changes and therefore of general interest of the whole company. 

This paradigm change in Information technology´s role for the development of the business is more important than ever and we, as the IT function, must embrace the change and not hang on to the past.

The change will be a big challenge for the majority of the IT coworkers but necessary for the paradigm change of what Information technology can bring to the business. It is crucial the IT function is involved in the strategic, tactic and operational planning of the company. This will enable us to utilize our competence to secure future IT solution to be robust and secure.

The challenge will be for us to work in two dimensions – time to market and long term strategy with robust solutions. Solutions that needs to be stable for years in our industry area, but industrialized in a much shorter period of time than we traditionally are used to. A truly alignment between Development and Operations. 

With today’s requirement on time to market no function has the time, or knowledge, to do a complete requirement specification and then hand it over to the IT function. Months later get the result, then redo parts- as the reality has moved on- and start all over again.

The new ways of working has to be based upon a quick turnaround between dev/test/change.  Hence the business functions needs to see result at the same time as develop is ongoing is very important.

Cyber security threats has increased substantially last years and the IT security needs to be incorporated in developing and operating our IT environment. All the new areas where IT solutions are involved now demands a higher security awareness. Not only because of the IT environment’s complexity but also the impact on the business survival if having a severe breach. IT function has a clear role of being the guard of the digital assets of the company.

Traditionally the IT budget, and reporting line, has been under the finance function and therefore seen as SG &A (Selling General & Administrative expense), a non-production cost.  
Information technology needs to be divided into two parts.

One part supporting the production/operation of the business and one supporting the development of the business. Both parts need to be in close collaboration with either operation or business development.

The operational IT shall be of world class with as much as possible automated. Where the divider of the successful companies and less successful will be in the future is how quick a company can adopt to new information technologies available and use them to their advantage. 

And that is best done by a close alignment between the IT function and the other business functions with the IT function being able to work according to a two speed strategy without losing control of the IT environment.

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