Africa

Americas

by Divina Paredes

CIO50 2019 One to watch: Wilson L. Alley

Interview
Mar 28, 2019
Business ContinuityCloud ComputingCRM Systems

Delegat Group is in the process of executing their second roadmap, enabling our move into the Digital era, says Wilson Alley, CIO of the super premium wine company supplier.

Alley explains that the first roadmap focused on getting 80 per cent of their businesses into a single enterprise application platform.

Having completed this, the leadership team contributed to a new roadmap called ‘2020 Vision’ focusing on a new user experience, digital and data.

He says more than 60 percent of the group users have moved to a fully SaaS environment.

“We have always wanted our business processes and the users that operate them to have technology optimised for transaction execution and user experience,” he says.

They started with moving the enterprise platform online for their 150 sales staff around the world. “We wanted them to continue to enjoy the best possible technology, for their use case, in order to achieve our sales planning and delivery objectives,” says Alley.

He says priority was given to this side of the business because the strength of their in-market sales teams is a unique differentiator in the NZ wine industry.

“We want to continue to evolve the technology that supports them, and ensure we maintain optimised call rates, recognised brand value and higher retail and consumer response than our competitors.”

The global sales team complete their planning and execution processes on next generation tablet devices and smartphones, online and 24×7 around the world.

They delivered the CRM component of the enterprise platform within budget, and to deadlines agreed with the global sales leadership.

Other parts of the business have begun to join this new environment and are now enjoying the greater availability and ability to respond to requests and opportunity, he says.

They are now looking at how IoT and associated technologies can help them optimise processes in their “long and asset heavy supply chain”.

“Realising the advantages of conforming our data and bringing the disparate sources from the MIS and Machine (IoT) layer together, will further embellish or competitive position,” he states.

The transformation of the user experience of staff also initiated wholesale change in the way they deliver and operate their own ICT processes.

He says the digitisation of the user experience has demanded that IS change its own support and delivery models.

“Some may say it is about eating our own dogfood,” he states.

He notes that there has been little resistance from the ICT team on these changes as they see this as a chance to prepare for the future.

“There is a bigger story here,” says Alley. “All of this is also about being ready for the next generation of talent.”

“I want Delegat to be ready for that change, for how the next generation of super premium wine consumers want to engage with us will also be how our next generation of employees want to work,” he says.

“Both within and outside the IS team itself, Delegat staff are encouraged to retool and prepare now because if you try and do it when the need is nigh, it will be too late,” says Alley.

“IS staff members are managed by objectives and encouraged to learn and lead in the technologies we are pursuing for business outcomes,” he says.

“We are seeking an iterative, ‘agile-like’ delivery approach in almost all we do which has been great for buy-in to the likes of the new data design and reporting approach,” he says.

The wider user community at Delegat is also involved in discussions around SaaS, online and IoT.

“Hardly a day goes by without voicing my core phrase ‘future-into-the-present’ and my focus on preparing for that next generation of customer and talent,” he says.

Part of this discussion is around diversity, which Alley is conscious of in his own team. He says there are four nationalities represented in the IS team and a near even split between men and women.

“For a small team, Delegat IS has a high profile across the organisation, given its reach across the global business and increasing realisation from the various stakeholders that we are key agents of change,” he says.

Alley reports directly to the managing director and works regularly with the board audit and risk sub committee and IS Steering Group on areas they need to keep ahead of, as well as opportunities for the company.

Prior to becoming CIO at Delegat, Alley worked in various ICT leadership roles across the globe for the dairy industry.

“In all those experiences, I have learned the need to accept the responsibility of being a change agent and being able to manage change,” says Alley.

“Similar to the likes of the Bronze Age and the Industrial Revolution before it, the Information Age we find ourselves in is transforming society, but at a pace unknown to any societal influence before it,” he says.

The ICT leader in the information age, more than ever, has the responsibility to be the vanguard of change in the organisation so that they both survive and remain relevant, he states.

“What is important is to recognise the change that the ongoing revolution and evolution of technology is offering organisations and broader society and to leverage it for the good of both,” he says.

“The ability to embrace change – technology or otherwise – and take others on the journey is a lesson in capability that is infinitely reusable,” he says.

He says the importance of these skills is supported in the shift of recruitment methods that ICT teams are taking, as they look for “behavioural attributes rather than a particular technical skill set”.

“As Richard Branson said, ‘You can’t teach personality.”