(US & Canada) VIDEO | Focus On the Business Side of the House to Measure Success — Harris Company Sr Director Business Automation and Intelligence

Akira Togawa, Senior Director of Business Automation and Intelligence at Harris Company, speaks with Mark Johnson, Regional VP, New Era Technology US and Editorial Board Chair, CDO Magazine, in a video interview, about the role of collaboration, scaling up, measuring success, and prioritizing key indicators.

Shedding light on the role of collaboration in digital transformation at Harris, Togawa shares that his group was initially treated as a start-up within the organization but in the past year, it went “public” as a real institutionalized firm.

Collaboration played a massive role in gaining the current status, says Togawa, which involves working with the business to hear their needs. The key element is in assessing how data teams and other teams across organizations can work harmoniously, and not do technology just for technology’s sake.

Continuing, Togawa observes the need to be mindful of the fact that data teams are there to support technologists for larger business cases, across industries. While hiring talent for building teams, he prefers having people with industry experience and relevant secondary degrees to work in these ecosystems.

When asked about scaling, Togawa says that it is like agile development, wherein after starting a digital practice, one has to realize where it is headed and circle back if necessary. Currently, Harris is at a point where scaling has been done to a point that now demands revisiting, he adds.

Elaborating, Togawa states that some may refer to it as “tech debt,” in which one ditches the massive codes and bunch of dashboards that were once considered great. This becomes necessary when the organization realizes the need for an entirely new framework, and that modifying would require more work than starting over.

In addition, Togawa asserts that it is critical to think about the sunk cost fallacy, appreciate the work done in the past, take the learnings, and start over. He maintains that while teams can come up with scaling strategies, it must be understood that the technologies are new and the businesses are ever-changing.

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(US & Canada) VIDEO | Focus On the Business Side of the House to Measure Success — Harris Company Sr Director Business Automation and Intelligence

Therefore, it is crucial to comprehend that to scale up, the organization must look forward to the needs of tomorrow, rather than basing on the work done in the past.

Commenting on measuring success and prioritizing key indicators to determine tangible ways for business leaders, Togawa believes in doing the right things for the right reasons. He notes that while context is important, it is critical to focus on the business side of the house to measure success.

Some executives need to see performance, therefore, it is imperative to drive what those metrics will be, especially in a construction company, which requires real-time metrics.

However, as a knowledge worker, Togawa maintains that success cannot be measured by how many dashboards were created.

Therefore, he puts success in two buckets: quantifiable and qualitative. In the quantifiable part, he ensures that the task is done on schedule and budget. He opines that these are not success determiners but good housekeeping numbers one needs to know.

The quantitative metrics are complementary to the qualitative ones, affirms Togawa. The qualitative metrics include having meaningful retrospectives with end-users or customers about the provided solution.

Furthermore, the firm also engages with executives to understand how much time is spent on initiative and business priorities. In conclusion, Togawa states that by aligning efforts with key initiatives, organizations can drive effectiveness and ensure doing the right things for the right reasons.

CDO Magazine appreciates Akira Togawa for sharing his insights with our global community.

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