CBR speaks to Scott Goodwin, CEO and founder of weavesys, about the nTwine solution, the evolving role of CIOs and just how important IT departments are to organisations.
What have been the latest developments at weavesys?
The last month has been a vital period for the business. We have been rolling out our nTwine solution, which is an extension of our work with telecoms service providers to help simplify their technology while boosting their profitability.
We have a vision for the telecoms industry where it's simple and quick to create, tailor and sell new unified communications products and services; where businesses are not limited by their technology and systems. nTwine aims to make that a vision a reality.
We are also preparing for the Broadsoft Connections 2013 event in San Diego where we will be exhibiting and offering an insight into the future of the telecoms industry and exactly why, if you use telecoms software such as Broadworks, you need nTwine.
The role of the CIO was originally created to ensure the CEO's technology vision would be optimised and delivered. To what extent do you think this has actually been happening?
In the early days of the CIO, it's fair to say the role was simpler and therefore more achievable than today. In the last 20 years the position has changed dramatically making it harder to deliver - and nowhere has this been more notable than in the telecoms sector. In fact, recent statistics have shown 70 per cent of all IT related projects fail to deliver the desired benefits they had set out to achieve.
This is because, through no fault of their own, CIOs have ended up fire fighting rather than delivering the company's IT vision. This is down to business growth and the inevitable acquisitions which follow. Ironically, the more successful a business becomes the more time and resources CIOs must spend to enable integration. In the fast moving telecoms industry, CIOs have been left running just to stand still.
What kind of impact do you think CIOs have had on companies?
Despite the challenges faced by the modern CIO, the role has had a huge impact on the way organisations are run. CIOs have supported the adoption of everything from desktop computing through to mobility and the use of big data. In essence, they have ensured digital technologies have been exploited by organisations of all types.
Unfortunately, more recently they have unfairly been viewed as a barrier owing to their huge and growing remit.
Why, with envious investment profiles compared to other departments, do you think IT has not delivered on the efficiencies or business transformation promised?
The changing role of the CIO and the huge demands placed on them are at the heart of this.
For example, if a telecoms service provider plans to launch a new mobile service to complement its VoIP and broadband offering it will require bespoke technology, integration with existing provisioning and billing systems and a huge amount more. That takes time and money to achieve, but is fraught with challenges and needs to be balanced with existing demands on the CIO.
Equally, if an enterprise wants to introduce new telecoms systems in-house, the path to success presents the same obstacles. As a result, by the time the project comes to fruition, it's often too late for the business to gain a lead on its competitors.
Creating the technology and information infrastructure without external support is just too costly and cumbersome for the CIO to deliver. This has led many to consider outsourcing certain aspects of the role simply to keep up with the demands from the business.
How do you think IT departments are perceived by other departments within companies?
There seems to be a negative stigma attached to the IT department, which is massively unfair. This animosity comes from them being removed from the rest - often characterised as being in the basement or the server room - despite being a vital part of business efficiency. It is also often the case that people only encounter IT when something goes wrong or when they are being restricted in their use of certain types for technology.
For example, with BYOD, staff can become irritated by the inability to use their own mobile devices at work, yet if this was rolled-out throughout a business, IT departments would be overrun with issues to resolve.
What kind of impact do you think cloud services have had on the CIO's role?
The advent of cloud services has enabled businesses to satisfy IT requirements on demand, which the vast majority of CIOs have welcomed with open arms to ease the strain on what is a very demanding role.
The effective and speedy launch of new services and applications is now viewed as the most important area of the CIOs role. Cloud capabilities make this a much simpler task. As a result, CIOs can avoid being seen as a barrier and truly deliver what others demand of them.
How apparent has this been in the telecoms industry?
The impact of cloud services in the telecoms industry has been clear for all to see, with the role of CIO transforming from leading and implementing a technology vision single handed to managing outsourced contracts, which is arguably their saving grace. They can now deliver a technology vision and add real value to the board.
What are the benefits and challenges involved with outsourcing?
With cloud now a standard part of the CIOs role, they are able to carry out tasks which previously were time-consuming, high pressure jobs at the click of a button; offering unified communication services for example.
On the other hand, thanks to the financial crisis, CIOs have been tasked with procuring such services at the lowest possible prices. By putting so much emphasis on offering these low prices, delivery and execution track records can suffer, which in turn harms the CIO - and ultimately the business as a whole.
What plans does weavesys have for development in the coming year?
We have a clear vision for our business and the telecoms industry as a whole. Firstly, we want to firmly establish nTwine. Perhaps more importantly in the long run, we want to foster an industry where communications service providers can thrive and grow while their customers benefit from the latest services and technology without fuss.
Communications technology is capable of delivering so much, weavesys wants to unlock those possibilities and drive innovation.
What industry sectors or geographical regions will the company focus on the coming year and why?
Currently our nTwine solution is available to service providers using BroadWorks technology throughout the world, but with a focus on the US and EMEA. As we cement our position, we'll look to develop new technologies and solutions for the industry.