The CIO's Spice Rack

Praseed Thapparambil
CIO-National Assoc. of Boards of Pharmacy
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Praseed Thapparambil
Unless you are living under a rock, there is little chance for one to have missed the plethora of Technology topics in today's political and social landscape. We have seen how fracking technology has shaken up the oil industry and how governments are entangled in cyberattacks. We have watched helplessly how terror groups use technology to recruit and expand so rapidly. Net Neutrality, Hacking, Twitter Storm, etc., have all become common folklore. Soon, the sudden explosion of Artificial Intelligence software in the news, will toy with people's privacy and profile information. New technology is making impacts in economies to a great degree. We have no means or expertise to draft the do's and don'ts of any of these invasions into our lives. We pick our smartphones everyday diligently and wade through a barrage of social engineering traps, unwanted links, sponsored messages, manufactured news bits, offers-all yearning for our click. Technology Management has invaded our lives. So, a typical everyday person makes so many conscious and unconscious technical decisions which could have consequences. Similarly, computers can make sketchy decisions as well. Any piece of software can make a mistake, which would have taken humans many months of effort to commit. How about Technology professionals? They are bound to know how to wade through this jungle of Technical decisions. Right? These individuals make impactful decisions for the software being built which affect the Customer value created off it.

So how can a CIO plan and deliver solutions to the marketplace amidst all this entropy and array of decisions. Let's dissect this from a Customer perspective. A customer organization or person, is an embodiment of an organization much like ourselves. They are literally us. They seek value, a value they cannot produce themselves or choose not to, due to priorities. So, when a customer arrives at your web storefront, the expectations are to seek and achieve that value as soon as possible. Today's customers are armed with their own devices, an expectation of data security and identity protection, an expectation of spending little time seeking that value and an expectation of serving themselves and not interacting with a phone-tree of service-people. They view this as a drive-through experience-in and out. These customers will become repeat customers if the value was derived successfully. Amidst the multitudes of solutions in the marketplace, a repeat customer is akin to us preferring to watch a few cable channels repeatedly, although we have hundreds of channels to choose from. So, how do we go about building these customer engaged solutions. Let's look at some necessary ingredients.

"Value provided to a Customer to improve Identity trust and data security both in motion, and in rest requires changes in how you operate"

Ingredient 1: Cloud and Mobile Enablement

A typical Pharma tech solution organization needs to constantly engage in improving the overall customer value. Solutions should reach where the customers are. Customers are all over the globe and use disparate devices. Cloud infrastructure provides a necessary lift to reach and service these customers efficiently. CDNs, disaster recovery architectures, and caching-all of these play into this infrastructure. Moving systems to the cloud is no longer about buzzword compliance-it is to reach your worldwide customers in a ubiquitous and performant manner. Should all your systems reach the cloud? I would venture to start with things near and dear to the Customer. Back office operations may very well be on premise unless your employees also need to be reached and served across multiple, variant locations. Making applications device-agnostic takes us another step closer-respecting customer's technology diversity and preference. A case in point, if you look at today's employee manuals and corporate policies on mobile devices, you will observe a reticence to standardize on one platform. It is all about choice.

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