Trevor Schulze is Global Chief Information Officer at Ring Central, a rapidly growing provider of unified communications as a service. Before joining Ring Central, Schultze held CIO and other IT leadership positions at Micron Technology, Broadcom, AMD, and Cisco Systems. \nWith its global customer base approaching 350,000 businesses and its annual revenue edging toward $1 billion, Ring Central needed to ensure that its internal IT operations could keep pace with its rapid growth. The company brought in Trevor Schulze in late 2018 to serve as the CIO guiding that process.\n\u201cThey brought me on to level up the maturity of the IT organization and to put us in a position to grow to become a multibillion-dollar company,\u201d Schulze explains.\nAchieving that objective requires not just IT solutions that can scale, Schulze says, but that can also deliver on three core business objectives: improving revenue, customer experience, and employee experience. In pursuit of those goals, Schulze is willing to look beyond the default applications that come bundled as part of multifunction enterprise resource planning (ERP) suites.\nWhile the major ERP suites deliver many advantages, the strength of the individual functional elements can vary significantly.\n\u201cYou may realize that one area is a point of weakness in a large suite and conclude that the vendor isn\u2019t going to adequately invest in it,\u201d Schulze says. \u201cIn that case, you have to look for alternatives.\u201d\nRing Central is a cloud-native company and its IT department is fully cloud based. As such, any complementary IT solutions that Schulze considers must also be cloud-based services.\n\u201cWe believe that the cloud gives you competitive advantage for speed, cost, and productivity,\u201d he says.\nMost critical, however, is the requirement that any solution aiming to replace or extend an ERP suite\u2019s built-in capabilities must give Ring Central a clear strategic advantage or some form of competitive differentiation. Schulze also evaluates each candidate vendor\u2019s track record, its financial stability, and its future prospects.\nAs an example of an innovative company that has found \u201cthe sweet spot\u201d in this regard, Schulze cites Coupa, a leading provider of a cloud-based spend management solution suite.\n\u201cCoupa is an established company that has strong revenue and backing, and they\u2019ve found an operational area where they can really show good differentiation,\u201d he says.\nNot surprisingly, spend management itself is a critical area of focus for Schulze, as for most CIOs. Given that \u201cthe demand signal is always three to five times your capacity,\u201d Schulze has to prioritize which demands to address with his available budget.\n\u201cI need to make sure our IT spend is going against the most critical things to move our company forward,\u201d Schulze says. That means continually tracking investments to ensure they\u2019re supporting core business objectives.\nIf those investments are helping to drive revenue growth, making customers happier, or improving employees\u2019 experience and productivity, the IT department shouldn\u2019t have to worry too much about external budget pressures. By clearly supporting these critical business needs, \u201cYou\u2019ll have fewer executive conversations along the lines of \u2018Is your IT spending meeting your expense targets?\u2019\u201d Schulze says.\nBusiness Spend Management leader Coupa gives companies the visibility, control, and insights they need to better manage their spend, and in so doing, facilitates IT and business unit partnership. For further information about Coupa\u2019s platform, go to https:\/\/www.coupa.com. \nClick here to read this ongoing series of interviews about how the role of the CIO is evolving as digital transformation initiatives mature.