Is your company ready for a digital future? We would like to thank Mike McFarlane, Regional Capacity and Demand Lead at Cargill and Shawn Stavseth, Digital Advisor at Cargill for leading an engaging discussion on the topic: Digital Shift and their Effects on the Customer and Internal IT.  Also, a huge thank you to Cargill for hosting.  

Cargill had created a Digital Labs portion of their organization. Their mission is to prepare them for a digital future, and the purpose of creating Digital Labs is to have trusted partners who enable process, data, and technology that help their business thrive. Digital Labs has established a few guiding strategies such as enabling digital foundations, create a space for innovation, and being a catalyst for change. With these guiding strategies, they are hoping to generate substantial outcomes such as a thriving digital culture across Cargill and continual launching of new digital business initiatives.  

We had the opportunity to break out into small groups and collaborate on a few different questions (slide 15). You can find the answered as to what was discussed during this meeting below.  

What have you learned from attempts to create and launch new digital products? 

  • Fast is great but don’t forget compliance  
  • Get aligned (Executive, manager, team)  
  • Take an external perspective  
  • Accept failure as a learning  
  • Share learnings 
  • Align with all parts of an enterprise  
  • Partner with others inside and outside of the company  
  • Align with business drivers to solve a real issue  
  • Stick balance between “new” and running the operations 
  • As much as you need top-level support down, you need to be able to tell the story from the bottom up as well.  

What is working well at your company?   

  • Difference groups resolving for the same challenges (doubling efforts) 
  • Using different KPD’s to quantify value, don’t directly tie it to the money  

What is not working well at your company?   

  • Struggle to operationalize  
  • Silo’s between business and IT  
  • Expressing failure rate 
  • Trying to get people to adopt this idea early on, they don’t realize it’s a need until they’re in pain 

What, if any, ethical challenges are evident in the technology solutions your teams support? 

  • Do not make the least advantaged worse off  
  • Do ensure that benefits are sufficiently widespread to keep society healthy  
  • If you eliminate jobs there must be an available alternative for workers 
  • Balance with not getting rid of the SME’s thereafter their jobs  

Each organization has a different model to serve their business. Cargill’s approach to using Digital Labs is just one of many approaches that can be used. Just because it works for them, doesn’t mean it’ll work for your organization. Thank you to everyone who was able to attend our IT Leadership meeting last Friday, we hope you were able to gain some insights from other organizations to improve your own digital journey!

To learn more about what was discussed, check out the slide deck here.