IT doesn't exist any more. We don't have IT."
Mike Faiers is the eBusiness Director of BSH Home Appliances Limited, a large company wholly owned by Robert Bosch that boasts a number of market-leading domestic appliance brands, including Bosch, Siemens, Neff, and Gaggenau. The company makes what Faiers describes as 'the big stuff you can't lift, such as fridges and ovens', as well as smaller appliances such as kettles, toasters, and vacuum cleaners.
In a wide-ranging and fascinating conversation with CIO UK editor Edward QualtroughFaiers told us about his vision for driving and supporting digital innovation throughout BSH. He describes an eBusiness department that has successfully merged the IT and digital functions, and is now a consultative enabler of change rather than just a service that fixes things. He talks about an exciting future for BSH as a customer-centric developer of connected products that enhance people's lives.
Faiers has learnt a lot in his career and his time with BSH, and offers valuable advice for all disruptive CIOs. He talks about the value of finding good agencies and suppliers, and building good relationships throughout your organisation and beyond. He urges technology leaders to employ good people and support them, whilst focusing on what you are good at. But the key message of all of our conversation with Mike Faiers is simple: think big.
Digital and IT as one
We began by asking Mike how he came to head up the eBusiness team at BSH. This is, after all, not a typical CIO job title.
"My background is varied," he said. "I had about three years working with an IT service provider, initially in sales and then moved on to head operations. I then moved to Audi for around six years. Initially I launched the Audi R8 into the UK, and then I moved into the digital world and managed all of Audi's digital presence online.
joined BSH about four years ago. My brief was to create a team of digital experts. We were the guys that looked after the websites. We introduced social media: Facebook pages and Twitter and YouTube. We built some apps. Then I was appointed eBusiness director."
So what does an eBusiness department do, we asked. The answer will be relevant to all CIOs who are helping to digitally transform their organisations into taking a customer-centric approach.
"We're definitely not a typical 'IT' department. We are what used to be 'digital' and what used to be IT, in one team.
"To start with we had two very different teams who in theory had a lot of overlap and interactions in the projects they ran and the mindset of the people. But they were two very separate entities."
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