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Overcoming the challenges of technology with innovation
SI Team
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Headquartered in Texas, Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHI) is one of the world's largest oilfield services companies that operates in over 90 countries. Providing the oil and gas industry with products and services for drilling, formation evaluation, completion, production and reservoir consulting the company has a market cap of $20.67 billion.
Mobile technology and cloud services are challenging our traditional thinking on how we operate our businesses on a global basis. The rapid growth and adoption of mobile devices with seamless connectivity, GPS location services, secure commerce and consumer available products/services are creating new opportunities, competitive advantages and fundamentally changing the way we work. Mobile technology is increasing its outreach in every dimension of life, making it a necessity. Adding to the revolution are the cloud services which are enabling faster, lower cost and scalable computing platforms. While both technology trends will create new security and support concerns, these technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way we design, manufacture, sell, and support our products/services

Organizations are increasingly embracing cloud applications to help them innovate and transform their business. Cloud applications are ubiquitously being employed across all industries. However, there are increased concerns about security and compliance of sensitive information. The extensive use of virtualization in implementing cloud infrastructure is bringing unique security concerns for customers or tenants of a public cloud service. A wide range of regulations and privacy laws make organizations directly responsible for protecting regulated information, but when this data is stored in the cloud, they have less direct control over leaks, theft or forced legal disclosure. There is an absence of a comprehensive threat analytics and response technology that proactively predicts, detects and defends security threats of major corporations. In government sectors we rely on various intelligence agencies, highly trained personnel, and innovative technologies and in some cases interaction with foreign intelligence relationships to defend against security threats. But, in the corporate environment this technology is lagging and it is giving a reactive risk posture to the industry. Even if businesses do pursue security incidents, they are way behind the curve.

CIOs today operate in a more complex environment than ever, which calls for shifting priorities and changes in IT management practices. The biggest concerns for CIOs of today are Cyber security and the shift of IT from necessary evil to strategic business partner. Some of the challenges that I see are in determining where to invest, managing change and speed/agility of IT to meet business needs. Most IT organizations struggle to keep up with demand for new investments and often end up in the position of playing a critical role in determining where to place the big bets. Then we struggle to deliver the value (ROI) because we often underestimate the change management aspects. Additionally, we face difficulty in keeping pace with the needs of the business. We are improving our ability in these areas by using the PDM stage gate process for all of our investments to have greater consistency in the evaluation, planning and execution of our initiatives. The need for speed is accelerating the movement beyond "traditional IT" to cloud or SaaS offerings and other technologies. New tools, technologies and capabilities always help us mature, but it is still the partnership and alignment with the business that is key to overcoming most of the challenges.

While overcoming the challenges, there is also a need of innovation to help the business grow. Innovation can help you discover what opportunities exist now or are likely to emerge in the future. Successful businesses not only respond to their current customer or organizational needs, but often anticipate future trends and develop an idea, product or service that allows them to meet the future demand rapidly and effectively. Any organization's ability to adopt change drives competitive advantage. Regardless of how you choose to generate new ideas for your business, it is important to be organized and to have effective ways to capture and develop them. For example you could organize events such as workshops, to tease out ideas for specific business areas, and have formal processes to catch, log and evaluate the strength and detail of each one. We use innovation workshops where we bring together multi-discipline teams to explore the value of new ideas, technologies and business processes, most of which come from outside our industry. The key is to ensure that we are innovating with a clear focus on creating business value.

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