Interview with Coca-Cola Bottling Consolidated CIO

Niamh Madigan

Onyeka Nchege, CIO of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, the U.S.'s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler spoke recently to Enterprise Mobility Exchange about CCBCC's mobile strategy.

He shares his thoughts on how consumerisation has made the enterprise worforce hungry for the same technology that they use at home and shares tips on educating the workforce and putting together a simple design for internal apps while onpenly dicussing how BYOD is working in their organisation.

Enterprise Mobility Exchange (EME: How can mobile technology help you as businesses achieve your key objectives as CIO?

Onyeka Nchege: When it comes to mobility and the enterprise, I think what we're finding today is just about every organisation out there has gotten to a place where mobility has become a big strategic piece of how every business goes to market. So if you take Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated, we'll go to something like manufacturing; and the supervisor there has got all the information available to him on a smartphone, on a tablet, that he doesn't have to leave the floor.

So mobility becomes such a huge piece of how we do business and that flows across all functions within the enterprise, so it's become a real big strategic builder for us.

EME: What are the biggest challenges you're experiencing in your current mobile projects?

Onyeka: There are probably two or three big challenges that face not just ourselves but probably others as well, and that is the 'consumerisation' of IT. And that is where the things that I use at home I fully expect that when I come into the enterprise, but we're finding not everything that I have access to as a consumer is really good for me from an enterprise perspective, for whatever reason. Some of it's security, some of it's not enterprise grade level yet. So there are a number of reasons why I wouldn't want to necessarily bring it into the enterprise.

The challenge I face is educating my user base on why something can or cannot be used in their enterprise. And so a big part of it is education and helping the enterprise understand what mobility is and why mobility either works or doesn't work in a given situation.

The other piece is simplicity. As a consumer, I expect that if I go to an any app store, and I purchase an app, I'm expecting that I can access it straight away. There's no manual, there's no user training that comes with purchasing an app. So if it's not intuitive enough, if the design is not easy enough for me to use right away, I'll discard it. Whereas in the enterprise you don't get to discard it or you don't get to discard it openly. And so the challenge to my organisation from an obstacle perspective is let's design something that's easy to use, that's intuitive enough and simple enough so that as a user it can be adopted very easily.

So that's probably two of the biggest things; education and putting together a simple design.

EME: What kind of supplier community do you need to help you overcome these challenges?

Onyeka: I always talk about extending the reach of my organisation using technology partners. So it's like being on Highway 66 and as a bricks and mortar enterprise, I don't get to get off Highway 66. But technology partners have exit ramps that they can get on and off. They can come to my organisation, they do work, they get off at the exit and they go to another organisation and they do work there. They can merge back onto Highway 66 with me at some point in the future. My expectation is that they will bring all the knowledge that they have gained from what other enterprises do and bring that into my organisation. Because I have finite knowledge, but in my mind my technology partners have way more knowledge about a specific component than I could ever have within my organisation. So I use that as an extension of my IT organisation and I view my technology partners as part of my IT organisation.

So they can help educate my organisation about mobility in particular, since that's the topic we're talking about, and then also help us understand how we simplify design, because I only do things the way I know to do them. So I really do see technology partners as being a big, big extension of my IT organisation.

EME: You've spoken at our exchanges about setting mobile strategy in your business. How do you engage IT and lines of business in setting your mobile strategy?

Onyeka: A lot of what happens has a lot to do with relationship. You've got to build and maintain the right relationships between IT and the business. We always talk about IT and the business being aligned. And so one of the things that we've done is created an enterprise mobility advisory group, and the role of the enterprise mobility advisory group really is to, one, take complete ownership of mobility so that mobility is everyone's responsibility and there is a true accountable body responsible for mobility, which helps us make progress and push mobility forward. That team consists of not just IT associates, but also folks from our business as well, who participate in helping to set direction.

EME: Bring Your Own Device or BYOD is of huge interest to our network. How have you incorporated BYOD into your mobile strategy?

Onyeka: Yes, so we've tried that, and quite frankly, BYOD works for some organisations, but not others. At Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated we tried it and from a capital outlay perspective there is a tonne of value there because instead of me having to put out the capital to purchase new devices we put the accountability on the user group to say, if you like a particular device... then absolutely bring whatever device you feel you need to get your job done.

The thing about doing that is we also put the accountability on the employee to support that device and take care of that device. We'll put whatever tools and solutions on there to help you manage your business, but you get to support that. And in some cases it works. In our case, what we found as part of that is that a lot of folks just didn't want to. They expected us to support the device as well. And from that perspective, what we've had is several of our users say, just give me the device that the company is going to give me and I will use that device.

Now, from our side, what we've also realised is there is something to preference and choice because if I give you something that you want, something that you like, you have to take care of it, versus I give you something that you don't really care much about. Chances are if it's sitting on the side of the table you don't pay that much attention to it, but if it's something you really want you push it back off the side of the table to make sure that it doesn't fall off. And so that's one of the things that we've realised. So we certainly do give our users choices, but we try to limit the number of choices we give out because we're not in the business of necessarily maintaining and supporting every device that's out there, but we do provide some level of choice.

Categories: Coca-Cola Bottling Company, CIO, BYOD, Consumerisation, IT, Security, Onyeka Nchege