“The biggest challenge in the CIO world—in my world—is to give the business solutions much faster,” says Eyal Ben-Amram, EVP and CIO of ZIM. Having led the cargo shipping company’s IT strategy for more than five years, he observes this shift first-hand.
“The business today is impatient,” he elaborates. “What could wait for months before is now expected in days.”
Agility & Speed
Under his leadership, Ben-Amram built a highly agile IT infrastructure that can keep pace with the fast-changing needs of the organization and absorb rapid technological advancements. “Our digital strategy defines the speed at which we can respond to changes in the market, as well as time-to-market, for the best and most up-to-date services for our customers.”
Accelerating IT During COVID-19
Like so many businesses worldwide, the pandemic disrupted global supply chains and ZIM’s operations. ZIM’s organizational focus on speed and agility helped it respond quickly.
“During the coronavirus outbreak, the flexibility of our IT infrastructure enabled us to deliver business continuity. We did not lose even one day, and we maintained our high level of customer experience,” he says proudly. “But it required even more acceleration in the delivery of IT projects, as well as the fast delivery of brand new apps that we needed due to the crisis. We had to move thousands of employees to a work-from-home model all over the world, including our customer service teams.”
ZIM’s agile approach underpins its innovation. Ben-Amram recently moved the software development team to a cloud-native model. “We’ve empowered our developers to move faster with access to the right resources for building and delivering modern apps. This helps us deliver the customer experience excellence we need to differentiate us from our competitors even faster than before.”
Advanced Technologies Require Advanced Skills
Ben-Amram has a CIO mindset that acknowledges the need for continual transformative change. And he’s excited by the potential of some technology trends in his industry. “AI is becoming a useful technology, mainly in the field of revenue management, helping optimize pricing decisions. Blockchain will also have a big impact, significantly increasing the efficiency and transparency of supply chains across the world.”
But he adds a note of caution. “The main challenges these technologies bring is finding the right people with the right skills to handle them. That’s both in the IT department and in the business. Because using advanced technologies also requires advanced skills from our employees, this is a big challenge.”
3 Tips to Inspire Change
Ben-Amram offers a few suggestions to other CIOs who want to inspire change:
- Build the right infrastructure to enable rapid change in the business.
- Work closely with the business units and become the enabler for the business.
- You cannot do it alone. You need a winning team. You need the right people with the right skills and the right motivation.