Shift toward a 'Total Communications' Approach

By Andrew Morawski, President & Country Chairman, Vodafone Americas [NASDAQ:VOD]

Andrew Morawski, President & Country Chairman, Vodafone Americas [NASDAQ:VOD]

How has your IT operating model changed during the last five years?

We’ve undergone a digital transformation over the past few years, as many organizations have. Part of this involves our Network 2020 plan, which is focused on the ability to configure networks automatically and with agility. This means we’re increasing virtualization across our network as well as re-educating engineering teams on how to build properly in virtualization as well as looking at how new technologies like Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence can impact our business.

As a technology provider, we have the opportunity to work with our customers as they embark on their own digital transformation journeys. What we’re seeing in many businesses in terms of IT operating models is a shift toward a ‘total communications’ approach, where a consolidated network of partners assists in the deployment and management of telecommunications technologies. Engaging in this type of approach offers several benefits to businesses moving toward fully-digital environments—for example, consolidating communications allows businesses to be more agile, gives leadership better visibility into telecommunications infrastructure, and helps to create more flexible and productive processes for employees. We expect to see more organizations move toward this type of model in the coming years.

What do you think are the biggest challenges that telecommunication technologists face in working in a more agile and outcomes based model?

Today’s technologists are challenged with ensuring employees within their organization have the right communications technology and strong, reliable network connections to communicate effectively in a fast-paced digital environment. For example, we are seeing a trend toward today’s workforce working remotely—in fact, Vodafone’s study on flexible working, “Flexible: friend or foe,” found that 75 percent of companies worldwide have now introduced flexible working policies. In those cases, technologists must make sure employees have access to tools like mobile, video conferencing and VoIP that allow employees to connect with colleagues and clients from anywhere, at any time.

“Technologists are challenged with ensuring employees within their organization have the right communications technology and strong, reliable network connections to communicate effectively”

Security is of course a concern for technologists as well. Implementing a total communications approach like I mentioned can help businesses secure their technology against security threats—a communications provider can help companies develop robust security strategy and monitor their assets.

What set of skills do you think is required for technology leaders to be successful in the new enterprise landscape?

The role of a technology leader (and specifically the CIO) has evolved a great deal in recent years. As companies in all industries work through digital transformation and build technology into every part of their operations, the CIO has become much more prominent in many ways. Many CIOs have seen the job change from one in which their primary function was as a technology expert, to a more strategic role, where they are playing an important part in determining the direction their business will take.

Given that, I think technology leaders must be skilled in aligning enterprise technology with business outcomes. They need to embrace new solutions and implement technologies that will help their organization reach strategic outcomes, whether that means building in solutions that will help employees communicate more efficiently, or help the business better service customers. These leaders need to not only understand how technology works, but also how it affects the way their organizations operate and how employees work. Technology leaders also need to be skilled in communicating the value of new technologies to other business leaders in order to ensure the organization remains competitive in its offerings.

Which growing or future technology innovation are you personally excited about?

Digital technology is part of everything we do in business today, and the ubiquity and availability of technology is causing lines to blur among businesses units within companies. It’s exciting to see more businesses embrace technologies in new and different ways, and to being open to adopting next-generation technologies, like the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is all around us, from the smart lighting in your home helping to keep energy bills down, to the connected utilities in our cities that are helping to secure infrastructure and better customer service. I think we’re at a pivotal point in terms of how we use IoT—we already benefit from it in countless ways, but we’re only just starting to see its full potential, and how it can give us greater control and visibility into how systems and appliances function. We’re seeing more businesses around the world recognize the potential of IoT—in fact, according to Vodafone’s annual IoT Barometer, 76 percent of companies consider IoT to be critical to future success.

We are all dealing with technology every day. How does technology drive your life?

Technology inspires me every single day and I embrace it in both my personal and business life. From posting internal updates on our Vodafone Yammer community to being active on LinkedIn and Twitter, I think technology has the power to enrich and change lives as well as keep an open line of communication. In my role at Vodafone, it’s incredible to see how our team, customers and partners use the power of communication through technology to drive business across every industry—whether by improving patient care in hospitals or making cities safer.

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