Building Industry: You Dream It, We Make It!

Krish Mani, CIO, JELD-WEN
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Krish Mani, CIO, JELD-WEN

Krish Mani, CIO, JELD-WEN

Bridging the gap between technology and consumer experience

We make windows and doors globally. The biggest technology challenge in the building industry is to help consumers experience virtually what they are buying for their home that is real close to reality. You dream it, we make it! And then make the entire buying and install experience a joy to the consumer leveraging technology. The other technology opportunity is to leverage IOT to make doors and windows “intelligent” in the home and integrated to say home security systems. Doing all this, while lowering cost to the consumer.

Integrating data to gain bird’s eye view of consumers

We, at JELD-WEN are on this journey for the quite some time. First, you have to own your data (both structured and unstructured). This requires a concerted effort around having a data organization within your company to own and manage data that is well connected to Sales, Marketing, Engineering, Operations, Finance, and HR. Second, organizations have to have a futuristic data model in place that integrates cloud, on-prem, and private cloud system’s data that is driven by each functional system (ERP, Sales systems, HR systems, social media etc.). The hint here is to start data modelling from the end consumer perspective in mind. Third, identify single source of truth data (customer, supplier, products, etc.) and ensure they are carefully managed. Finally, systems and process to capture consumer experiences within your company. In the new internet age, 360-degree consumer view starts when we become “aware” of a consumer looking for products we sell and owning their experience end to end. This is more difficult than a traditional model of 360 degree view, starting from a customer asking for a quote.

“In the building or consumer industry, this is all about owning the consumer experience life cycle”

Technology angled towards competitive edge

In the building or consumer industry, this is all about owning the consumer experience life cycle. So technologies that enable us to help consumers dream their window or door and able to visualize “close to reality”—how a particular window or door would look like in their home. Then able to quickly quote with variations for the consumer to  decide. Technologies that enable this quote to order experience provide competitive advantage. Second, integrated supply chain technologies enabling to build, deliver, and install the product with the shortest lead time, highest quality, and enabling the consumer to track their product through this life cycle are a key competitive advantage. Also, technologies to shorten the lead time from product innovation to production readiness to selling through global collaboration are key.

Missing solutions can be nightmares

The key Challenge for CIOs is to ensure complete focus on business win without compromising the RUN portion of IT. So any technology that will enable RUN per SLA at the lowest cost with minimal focus on RUN is the key to CIO and IT organization success. For example, technologies to minimize support at various plant locations for File/Print sharing, Key application servers, backup, capacity management that minimizes time spent by IT personnel but providing the SLA (Service Level Agreement) is key. Technologies like email on cloud has minimized the need for email servers at site, and the administration (monitoring, backup etc.).

Advancing technologies altering business environment

Mobile, cloud, and IOT are changing the way we do business and the speed with which business is conducted today. Ubiquitous, secure, contextual, relevant information to make decisions available on any device is changing our industry and how we do business. At JELD-WEN, we are exploiting cloud services to lower our TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).

Changing IT landscape diversifies CIO’s role

The traditional CIO model looked at IT’s contribution to the company in the RUN-TRANSFORM-GROW model and IT organization’s alignment to various business functions to facilitate business transformation. However in this connected internet age, while we have to focus on this model, the bigger challenge for a CIO and IT organization is to foster “connected technologies” like mobile devices, IOT, and rapid changing technology innovation landscape to help the company be nimble and agile with speed to market for business win. Additionally, the CIO has to get their arms around data, cloud, mobile in a “secure” ubiquitous environment as I mentioned earlier. So CIO’s changing role in data management, security management, and owning the consumer technology experience is exciting. Also, we allow innovative suggestions and technology solutions to come from various business groups, but then prioritize and negotiate with the business in driving delivery with ongoing “run” support. The CIO’s emphasis on influence, collaboration, and coming with high self-esteem to negotiate business win is an exciting time.

Can we lean on to CSO’s shoulder for complete security?

Security is an integral part of the CIO function. I see the CSO organization as part of the CIO team working closely with the entire business as well as the business risk and compliance group. Of all the risks of security breach (financial loss, reputational impairment, operational impairment, undetected risks), undetected risks that can potentially cause other impacts mentioned is the most significant, and requires the security team and the IT foundation team to work very closely together with all employees in an ever changing technology environment in the company.

Few words for fellow CIOs

Great industry for a CIO because this industry is undergoing more transformation than other industries. In the building industry, the supply chain is more complex due to the dynamic Bill of Materials and the need for variant configurators to create consumer quotes. This also makes the supply chain more complex to manage (there-by technology playing a large role for business value add).

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