Successful Technology Initiatives: It’s All About the People

Published on May 30, 2017 in Technology
Shaun Smith
Shaun Smith
Chief Information Officer

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For many, the phrase “information technology” brings to mind things like computers, cell phones, satellites and coding.  But there is a vital component of this industry that is often overlooked – people.  Information technology initiatives cannot achieve successful results without strong relationships between the IT teams deploying the systems and services, and the end users.
 
When I joined Phillips Edison & Company as Chief Information Officer three years ago, my first, and most important, priority was to work on building strong relationships with team members at all levels of the organization. I met with department heads and individuals team members, both formally and informally, asking them not only what kind of assistance they wanted to see from my team, but also what kinds of processes they used in their daily work and what challenges they were facing.  These conversations have created a collaborative environment where our associates feel comfortable coming to me and my team about their IT wants and needs, and brainstorming as to how technology can help their teams reach higher levels of success. 
 
Once I had an idea of how I could better assist the various departments, I began working with my new team to promote a service-oriented approach into our interactions with the business units.  As an IT department, we provide a service to the associates and the company as a whole, and we must continuously seek to provide a superior customer experience.  As part of this, my team and I work side-by-side with the associates, meeting monthly with each department in the company, to check in on current projects, ask them about any problems they may be having, and explore potential future technological initiatives to make their jobs run more efficiently. 
 
One of our biggest recent initiatives, which highlights the benefits of a collaborative IT team, was the implementation of MRI X, our commercial management and leasing platform.  We were able to create significant efficiencies, automate multiple processes and save considerable dollars by upgrading our legacy MRI software to this new version and incorporating custom solutions designed to address specific user requirements.  Now, department heads can view a wide range of financial reports with the push of a button anytime they want and all of our important information is stored in one central location that can be accessed from anywhere.  This could not have been accomplished without ongoing support and input from every team in the company. The people, and my team strong inter-departmental relationships, made these kinds of results possible.
 
As a result of the partnerships that my team and I have developed with each business unit, we have been able to develop solutions that touch every area of the company.  From better ways to process invoices to transferring important data into more effective systems, the IT team has made a tangible impact on Phillips Edison’s business and bottom line.  It really is all about the people.
 
Shaun Smith
Shaun Smith
Chief Information Officer