Embracing Microsoft for a Successful Journey
An Inside View
I consider Delek US as a Microsoft Shop. Other than SAP as our ERP vendor of choice most of our applications are built on Microsoft tools. Our standard database backend all runs on SQL and our custom built programs are written on VB6 with a current migration to .Net. We utilize Office SharePoint, and rely on Active Directory for basic login credentials. The standardization on these tools has reduced the complexity in our environment, allowing IT resources to develop focused expertise which has enabled us to deploy solutions to customers that “look and feel” the same.
Implementation of One Drive
For example, when we migrated to SharePoint 2013 there were issues related to security access which slowed down our deployment. In addition, there have been challenges associated with implementing OneDrive especially for users who have a personal 365 account as well as a corporate account.
Keys to Success
The keys to our Microsoft Solutions success are: Having a dedicated internal resource who can commit time to learning and understanding the new tool sets available, A knowledgeable and available Microsoft representative who can provision technical resources in a timely fashion, and consistent commitment of the IT management team (including IT Security).
A Simplified Approval Process
There are two innovative solutions we have deployed. We leveraged SharePoint 2013 and built our first enterprise wide Intranet automating numerous work flows that greatly simplified many internal approval processes. In addition we build a mobile payment platform in which the customer could purchase fuel at our retail convenience stores through use of the customer’s personal cell phone.
The key lesson learned is that even though the Microsoft solutions are deemed to be simple to use and implement, there are many hours of preparation behind the scenes that must be taken into account prior to deployment. Planning for new tool deployment requires a larger planning commitment and dedicated internal knowledge development.
“We leveraged SharePoint 2013 and built our first enterprise wide Intranet incorporating numerous work flow related solutions that greatly simplified many internal approval processes”
Role of CIO Unleashed
The role of CIO continues to evolve over time. Over the past 10 years, there has been considerable discussion in regards to the CIO gaining a seat at the executive table and becoming more of a trusted business advisor to his/her colleagues. This continues to be true with one caveat. The new CIO must retain or continue to seek understanding of new technologies and how they can be applied to the business. An effort to balance time and value between technology and business is in order as many CIO’s have successfully transitioned to their new role as business partner but have lost knowledge and expertise that reduces their overall effectiveness. They must retain some traditional skills in order to be effective without falling too deep into the hole of being viewed as the technical guy. The new role of CIO is not just Trusted Business Partner, but Trusted Innovation Partner.
Driving Innovation and Commitment
Just as in many situations, fundamentals are the most important factor in achieving goals and building an effective and proficient IT organization. There are three attributes that I focus on in developing an IT organization. They are - develop consistent, repeatable processes when possible, align activities with the business, and give IT the opportunity to be a part of something special. Many of the activities we pursue in IT have a repeatable pattern associated with them. It is important to standardize on them whenever possible. This reduces variation, rework and greatly improves communication. In addition, if the work of IT cannot be directly tied to business value or efforts are not made to closely partner with the business, the work of the IT organization will not be realized. We will continue to build the wrong thing, at the wrong time, and for the wrong customer. Lastly and most likely the most important point. The IT organization must see their work as making a difference and resulting in something special they can be proud of. This will drive innovation and commitment to success for attributes.