by Mark Chillingworth

CIOs that disrupt deliver business savings

Nov 05, 20122 mins
IT Strategy

Disruption is something often talked of as happening to organisations and CIOs and usually it is technology from outside the enterprise causing that disruption. 
But that needn’t be the case, as the October  lead CIO profile story depicts.

Growing a new business environment at Unilever

Disruption shouldn’t be something we lie in wait for, it is something that as passionate, motivated and insightful individuals we cause. 
Looking across an organisation and assessing where spending is high and then looking for services technology can offer to reduce these costs is central to the strategic role CIOs should and are offering to organisations. Not only is the CIO reducing spend, but increasing organisational. 
Willem Eelmanand Unilever’s strategy of pulling all its advertising and marketing resources into a central, Unilever’s owned and managed digital repository revealed the true value of its advertising spend.  Marketing and advertising agencies are famed for their hyperbole, black magic and time consumption. When you consider the dozens of brand names rattling out of Unilever factories and the span of its globalisation it quickly becomes clear that Unilever has plenty of room to reduce its advertising spend. 
Unileverat a board level has realised that the world is becoming ever more digital. Their existence as an organisation will always be dependent on the physical products it manufactures and that we eat or wash with, but the interactions beyond the creation and usage of these products has and will remain digital. If margarine has a digital future, so too will almost every other product and service organisations offer and CIOs interact with. 
Technologically there has never been a better time for CIOs to lead disruption. The extensive use of Amazon Web Services by Unilever utilises cloud computing to its core strengths – distributed sharing, enabling collaboration, reducing the need for infrastructure investment and scalability. 
There are many who call on the CIO to work more closely with the CFO, CMO and COO, as if they aren’t already, what Eelman demonstrates is that the working conversations with C-level peers can take on a whole new level when discussing how together you can disrupt and drastically cut the use of costly services like advertising agencies.