Technology: The Biggest Challenge and Opportunity

Nolan Bennett, VP & CIO, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Americas
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Nolan Bennett, VP & CIO, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Americas

From Technology-Focused to Business-Aligned

Over the last year, Teva started to globalize the company and IT was one of the first functions to become a cohesive global function. In the Americas, we’re transforming from a very technology focused IT organization, which is what we had traditionally been, to a much more business-aligned IT function. From a technology perspective, there is a focus on implementing and harmonizing global systems to support the global functions and global processes that are being established. We recently started a global ERP implementation, just one of many new developments that the company has started in the past year.

Tradition in Conflict with Change

Generics is a fast-moving business and a dynamic and adaptive culture has an impact on the IT function, so we also need to be ready for change and ready to react on a constant basis.

"We have huge volumes of data that we are processing every single day. But the difficult thing is to really find where the true value is"

It’s been very exciting to realign the organization from a technology focus to a much more business-aligned focus, allowing us to react in a much better way. But change is hard and takes a long time, especially in an organization with hundreds of people who have traditionally been asked to focus differently. The good news is that our Customer Survey data shows that significant changes were made in areas like responding to customer needs, and gaining the respect of the business. For IT, the globalization of our functions and processes, and supporting that transformation is really a top priority. IT and technology underpins it all, whether it’s a global ERP tool or a global HR tool or a global procurement tool.

Technology—Biggest Challenge and Opportunity

Innovation is one of the most important things to contribute to the company and it is critically important for success—but it’s also difficult to put your finger on exactly what innovation is and how to enable it. From Teva’s perspective, we operate in a very crowded, very competitive marketplace. And since we want to stand out with our customers, one of our biggest challenges—and at the same time, one of our biggest opportunities—is to use technology to innovate and to bring that advantage to the company.

Narrow Core Business Deliveries As a CIO, what was really successful for us in the first year was that we took the time at the beginning to really decide: What are the things that we’re going to commit to doing this year? We have slimmed down to the key things that we were going to deliver back to the business and commit to doing them well—we stayed really focused through the year, and were very successful in the end— helping us build trust and credibility inside the organization.

Find Ways to Leverage Technology Three pieces of advice that an upcoming CIO should remember are: Number one is to hire the best possible people you can over-hire as much as possible. The second thing is to ensure that the day-to-day operations are running absolutely flawlessly as that’s how credibility is built. The third thing is to focus as much energy as you can on building relationships and finding ways to leverage technology and innovate.

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