Are IT professionals providing solutions or solving problems?

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Members of the CIO Council at the CIO Roundtable during the IoT and AI Summit 2018

IT professionals have been advised that they need to start solving problems as opposed to providing solutions which may not necessarily be critical to the operations of the business and therefore have marginal impact. This message came from the discussions at the CIO Roundtable at the on-going IoT and AI Summit organized by CIO, East Africa in Nairobi.

There seems to be a lot of hype on new technologies being pushed form the supply side of the technology and CIOs and other senior IT executives need to identify the core problems and use technologies to solve these problems.

“We need to start using IT to solve business problems as opposed to deploying systems which are good to have but do not help the business achieve its objectives,” said Michael Odhiambo, Head of IT, Kenya Wildlife Society (KWS).

According to John Wachira, Head of IT, Mabati Rolling Mills, IoT and AI have been there for a long time especially in the manufacturing industry but its only now that it is getting much attention due to other new generalist use-cases that have emerged recently.

“There is a lot hype and excitement on these two technologies. These are not new technologies, they have been there for a long time, we need to be careful not to be swallowed into the hype without carefully aligning the technologies with the business objectives,” said Wachira.

Like in the CEO Roundtable, the CIOs are now advocating for customer journey maps as the starting point for any technology acquisition and deployment. “For technology to make sense to the business, we need to look at what the business is struggling with and then position technology to solve those problems,” said Jack Maina, COO, Britam.

Several companies have already implemented some kind of IoT and/or AI to try and increase operational efficiency, monitoring facilities and fighting fraud. The IoT and AI Summit which has attracted over 150 delegates ends today 17th August.

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