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How one UK CIO changed IT from a support service to a business enabler driving innovation

Matt Egan | July 15, 2016
BSH eBusiness Directer Mike Faiers heads up a team that is driving change at every level of the business.

"What this means is that we're engaging everybody, everyone's aware of what we're doing, there's total buy-in, total alignment. We're all united in what we want to achieve. And we're challenging each other to make sure we're still on the road to delivering what we've set out to achieve.

"The days are gone of a brief coming into IT and IT making a solution and giving it back to the business. It's much more consultative right from the beginning, all the way through."

And then there is innovation.

"As part of launching eBusiness we created an innovation team who run hacks, build proof of concepts and champion 'tech' in the business. We are at a point where we're inspiring and engaging the wider organisation. People are now talking about the possibilities of what can be done.

"We get people coming up to show us new things. We've developed a show room app that uses iBeacons. We're developing an employee companion app.

"We're going to build an innovation lab so we've got somewhere to showcase new tech, and not even stuff that's necessarily directly relevant to our business, but to inspire people about what else is possible. Actually a lot of the stuff that's possible in some way can be translated in value back to the business. That, I think, is what's really exciting.

"What this work stream is, and what this team offers is, a framework to tease ideas out of the wider workforce, and actually do something with them. We're seeing a lot more ideas, a lot more proof of concepts.

"People thrive off the feeling of being part of something bigger."  

Tech tools

Of course you can't innovate without having the tech tools to build new things. So we asked Faiers for some specifics on what tech is driving change at BSH.

"AR [augmented reality] is a great example. There are a whole range of appliances available that you will never be able to see in one retail space without using AR. And you can see what an oven looks like in your kitchen at home rather than in the store.

"iBeacons are a really interesting approach, too, augmenting a retail environment and bringing that content to life."

He also feels that being able to demonstrate the full capabilities of BSH's products requires some level of virtual or augmented reality, and personalisation.

"There's so much technology in domestic appliances and bringing them to life in a meaningful way is sometimes difficult. Your buying cycle for a domestic appliance can be 10 or 15 years. Everything has moved on significantly since you last bought an oven, so suddenly being put into that environment and needing to research and understand why you would buy a particular product is quite challenging. Technology can be used to better explain and bring to life new features."


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