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How IT Transformation is Enabling Nationwide's Digitization

By Michael Carrel, SVP-IT & CIO, Enterprise Applications, Nationwide

Michael Carrel, SVP-IT & CIO, Enterprise Applications, Nationwide

There is a digital revolution in progress and businesses everywhere are undergoing a transformation in response. Our business requires new capabilities from IT to serve our customers who deserve services delivered cohesively and swiftly. IT’s role in a company such as ours is critical as a strategic enabler of digitization. How does the IT function of a large enterprise rapidly respond to their business needs with the capabilities required to remain competitive and differentiate itself?

Nationwide IT has established a Digital Enablement program that will come alongside our business partners and enable us to compete, disrupt, and move our company into the future. We’re partnering to develop roadmaps with our business, helping them see the art of what is possible through technology. These roadmaps inform the digital enablement program’s technology focus to align with business priorities.

There are three pillars of our program which are key to our success. These include adopting core technologies, accelerating and consistently applying these technologies through well-defined delivery practices, and equipping our associates with the skills and knowledge required to use them creatively to solve business problems.

Nationwide IT is intensely focused on adopting technologies that will be the building blocks of Nationwide’s digital foundation and making these readily available to the business. We’re currently concentrating on technologies such as Application Programming Interfaces, Mobile, Virtual Assistants, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, and Robotic Process Automation. We augment each technology domain with product selection, statements of direction, technology standards, accelerators, and reference architectures.

Technology availability and capability alone is not enough to transform at the pace our business requires. An IT workforce of our size can be prone to waste due to slow change adoption, sub-optimization, and redundancy. We’re taking measures to mitigate these risks and decrease barriers as we transform by creating best practices, business engagement models, and design patterns for our digital technology domains. These measures will accelerate technical change, speed, and harvesting of best practices, as well as help us to avoid waste.

What good are powerful technologies and methodologies without a well-trained, capable workforce pushing our ideas and ambitions into existence? We’re providing opportunities for our associates to grow in these areas by defining a path to craftsmanship and surrounding them with a community of practice. Our IT profession owners are ensuring technology trends are reflected in learning plans across all of our workforce. Additionally, vendor partnerships are being tapped as a resource to bring fresh perspectives to the table. Ultimately, we want to position our associates to drive business value through appropriate technology application.

We’re using a technology-centric capability model to measure success against our goals. The success and maturity of our IT transformation is measured through multiple dimensions. The first dimension is resource skill availability and ensuring we have the right capacity to meet our demand. The second is technology capability readiness, or the depth of our preparedness to offer the capability. Our third dimension is operational support, and how pervasive the technology usage is across our business units. Most importantly, our fourth dimension in measuring success is business strategy enablement and delivery of our roadmap commitments for the business. This is to ensure we are transforming not just for the sake of transformation, but that we are generating meaningful value to the business. We continually measure our maturity across these four dimensions as we transform our digital landscape.

Digital enablement requires a continuous evaluation of where your business is heading as well as the deployment of leading these digital capabilities across the entire spectrum. Nationwide began with mapping our customer journey and we’ll continue transforming the business in response to evolving customer expectations and technology innovations. We need to stay nimble and prepare our organization to respond proactively. We do this by maturing our technology, methodologies, and workforce so we can stay ahead of the change.

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