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Richard Raj of Frucor: Taking 'first mover' advantage in digital transformation

Divina Paredes | June 29, 2016
How ICT executives can apply their lessons learned in leading digital transformation programmes, to their respective roles.

He cites Apple as a model in this approach. "They think about the consumer foremost, although they run a business, they always think about what the consumer thinks.

''There may be some executives in businesses who believe IT should be in the back office. But everything we do today is IT.''

IT professionals who have been seasoned in it for the past 15 years, understand the business centrally, he says. They could very well be sitting in a sales or marketing meeting and reflect on what operations might be doing.

But ICT leaders should be proactive in highlighting their capability.

"IT should demonstrate they can drive the game and win the trust by demonstrating rather than talking about it.

Turning point

He says he has seen this transformation in his own role.

His current title is group digital solutions and innovations manager for business technology. The role was conceived a few months ago and covers New Zealand, Australia and some international activities.

Before this, he was group IT solutions manager, NZ and Australia. Renaming the IT department to 'business technology' better reflects this shift of focus from technology for mainly 'efficiency' to technology for 'business growth' utilising digital.

In the new role, three teams report to him - digital solutions, enterprise solutions, project office and he looks after the IT innovations that works across the business technology team.

The enterprise solutions team looks after the core technology, ERP and all the manufacturing, R&D and logistics. On the other side is the digital solutions team, where all the digitalisation projects are delivered by both contractors and permanent staff, look after the consumer and customer facing solutions.

Raj works closely with Pieter Bakker, CIO/Group IT director.

Last year, they launched some initiatives together that will demonstrate how their teams are applying the concept of agile and 'fast' delivery methodologies.

We said, "let start to utilise short sprints, even if we are delivering a million dollar mammoth initiatives.

"A lot of companies have an innovation process, but that is mostly to do with product development," he observes.

"IT teams have stopped doing innovation other than supporting a business product innovation. I wanted to create excitement in the team again.

"How do you make more people focused on digital? We decided to do exciting stuff and take it to the business."

He says Frucor produces great products. Their brands include 'V', Sparkling Oh, Ovi, Just Juice, Gatorade, Ribena, Fresh-up, McCoy, Citrus Tree, Simply Squeezed, H2Go, NZ Natural, G-Force, Rockstar, Mizone, Maximus, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, 7Up and Frank.

But he asked, "can we do something within IT, generated from IT that would also excite the business?"

Source:  CIO New Zealand


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