Technology - The ROI driver for Food & Beverages Industry

Carlos Amesquita, CIO, Hershey Company A Business-driven and results oriented IT and Shared Services executive with extensive experience, Carlos has led one of the broadest digital programs in the industry

Tapping Technology for Effective Business Strategy
My role fundamentally is to translate business strategy into IT strategy. Technology can be a competitive advantage, but only if properly used in the context of a business strategy. In the absence of this context, technology will always be perceived as a‘hammer looking for nails’. As CIO I have the obligation(and privilege)to influence management to use technology to drive collaboration, productivity and reduce costs. However, the ultimate value I can provide comes from the ability to provide an ecosystem to systemically translate data into insights to help us win in the marketplace. You can drive bottom line growth to a certain point, but the ability to drive top-line growth with the help of technology is unlimited.

Balancing Business & Technology
More often than not IT is seen as a black box: a cost center rather than a profit center. Successful CIOs are able to translate capabilities into concrete business outcomes. The ability to explain the complexities of IT in simple and understandable terms providing investment choices with defined ROIs is key for success.
At times we see brilliant CIOs with deep technology understanding, at other times we see great CIOs with great business acumen. However, it is not as often that we see both combined into one. In my opinion it's an ambidextrous leader(as defined by Tushman, Smith and Binns) who will be able to make his or her business counterparts think differently about the importance of IT.

We are shifting to more of an asset-less IT, with more cloud services and less traditional inhouse data centers

Relentless Technology Innovation
The evolution of technology in the area of cognitive, machine learning and analytics in general is what keeps me up and excited. Data is being generated everywhere. From sensors to apps and social media, more and more data is being collected and streamed. The challenge becomes how to make sense of all that data to provide contextual information and insights to anticipate outcomes and course correct before things happen.

Leverage Technology to Stay Nimble & Productive
Packaging is an area ready to be disrupted. Packaging that changes color when product reaches expiration dates packaging that can change graphics to convert from seasonal to non seasonal. While this vision may become a reality in the future we are currently working to have the latest product safety and health and nutrition information displayed through smart phones via an onpack code linked to a webpage that can be updated as needed versus the traditional static on-pack printed information. These and many other technology opportunities will help our industry be faster more nimble and operate in realtime when providing information to its consumers.

The Constant Shift in IT
We are shifting towards a bi-modal IT. A combination of agile with traditional waterfall approaches, depending on the area. We are shifting towards the ambidextrous leader, with a Technology foundation and a strong business acumen and executive influence. We are shifting from gathering data to analyzing data to become more predictive and less prescriptive. We are shifting to a more robust posture in cybersecurity, in a world of daily attacks, cyber theft and operational disruption.