Land O'Lakes CIO: Going all in on mobile

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CIO Mobile

The world has long since started going mobile. We are in the thick of it today, and that means that any and all interactions – whether with consumers, customers, partners, or employees – need to be consistent and effective across any device, anywhere, anytime, 24/7. Mobile-first thinking means shifting to an entirely new mindset.

And, it’s more than tech. Naturally, IT leaders have to integrate mobile technologies, seemingly everywhere. But mobile-first means more than that: We must reach beyond responsive designs and mobile security. That stuff is important, but it’s only a narrow part of a bigger whole. As IT leaders, envisioning the future (and ourselves firmly planted within it) requires us to look inward and encourage a radical shift — taking our organizations from a culture of risk aversion to a culture of openness.

While maintaining discipline, rigor and attention to our core, we must simultaneously embrace the new world of agility, speed to market, and unfailing customer focus. At Land O’Lakes, we’re learning that we must accept and embrace the fact that projects will get executed and measured differently. We’ve got to change the definition of what an interaction should be and what user experience should look like. And, we’ve got to wrestle with the big questions — and help our business partners see the value in asking those questions. We've got to ask questions such as: What are the real demographics of our mobile customers? Are we doing mobile for mobile’s sake, or is it economically viable? In short, we have to broaden our view while holding fast to the basics of good strategy and business value.

CIOs have to be willing to take risks. We gamble, with insight. We bet on which technologies will prevail, which consumer behaviors are yet to change, and how much to change our IT function to prepare for that future. For mobile, we’re past the time of dabbling and past the time of wait-and-see. It’s time to go all in.

Mike Macrie assumed the role of Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Land O’Lakes in June 2013. Prior to this position, he was Vice President of Ag Services IT. Macrie led the transformation of Ag Services technology and the rebranding of Winfield and Purina across intranet and customer sites.

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