The Era of the IT Executive: 25 CIOs Speak Their Minds

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Kevin Frederick

ProSource

How does your vision of IT support ProSource’s Mission?

Our mission is to be the “Partner of choice, helping customers win with Office Equipment, Document Automation and Technology Solutions.” We deliver solutions through a combination of systems, software, people and process. Our mission permeates every area of our business. For IT, that means our systems have to allow customers to reach us, and make accessing and activating our solutions simple, quick and reliable. It also means providing a delivery system for our team that allows us to respond quickly and effectively. If customers can't reach us when they need us, we put our customers and our business at risk.

Understanding how people work, and making it simpler and more effective to get the job done, is a win for our customers and our team. I believe the more flexible and accessible our technology, the stronger the business today and for the future.

How do you correlate business risk back to IT?

All of our assessments of risk come down to the impact on customers and our team. We plan, budget and measure our success daily based upon how our customers rate us through real time surveys, our response and our customers’ access points to our services.

Sometimes the risk includes embracing a technology, such as the new evolution of mobile devices like the Microsoft Surface, and putting that idea to a real-time test. We are doing that now with our sales team – deploying enough to test, and assessing how the devices impact our team response to customers.  The risk is that the technology fails to deliver to expectations; we negatively impact our customer relationships along with losing the money and the time invested.

Growth means that our core systems and infrastructure become more formal, more process oriented, and as a result, we risk being slower to react to the changes in the marketplace. Riding the wave between necessary process and the flexibility to make changes that deliver a better customer experience is a daily decision that impacts the entire organization, not just IT. The mechanics to measure risk are the same: did we deliver to the customers’ expectations, and did we improve our relationship or not? The risk with IT for us is that customer impact.

How do you direct the relationship between IT and the rest of the staff away from being simply transactional?

ProSource is a community, individuals sharing a common vision and a set of values. Starting with relationships, and supporting one another as people first, we focus on the outcome. This makes transactions a means to the end, rather than a roadblock. Relationships are all about trust, and trust is all about vulnerability. Vulnerability is the willingness to be transparent and say, “Something is wrong, and I don't get it,” along with the willingness to hear that message and react to solve the problem. Negativity or fear on either side of that conversation builds silos, holding back people and the organization. All of our team, including IT, is enveloped in this culture of support, willing to engage for a solution through collaboration.  I believe this is more about leadership and not direction; if my team sees me as engaged and trusting, they adopt the behaviors.  

 

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The Era of the IT Executive: 25 CIOs Speak Their Minds

11 of 27

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