innovation-banner-andrew-campbellCIOs are brought into companies for a variety of reasons. Some are viewed as “fixers” who are adept at modernizing infrastructure and operations. Others are tapped for their specialties, such as leading a global ERP deployment.

For Andrew Campbell, he was brought into Terex Corporation as CIO in November 2016 for two primary reasons: to drive a more operationally efficient company and doing so in a way that improves the customer experience. 

HMG Strategy recently spoke with Campbell about his current focus areas and his role in moving the company forward in its business lines such as scissor lifts and aggregate processors.

HMG Strategy: Tell us about Terex and the challenges you were brought in to help solve.

Andrew Campbell: We operate 3 primary business units: aerial work platforms, cranes, and material processing. We have about 15,000 people working across more than 15 brands. We have a global footprint, with manufacturing in 7 countries and equipment services across the globe.

When I was first brought in, we were a business that had lots of independent operations and we weren’t leveraging the scale of the corporation.

What are some ways that Terex is moving into the connected world? 

AC: As an industrial equipment manufacturer, we’re getting our machines connected and improving the customer’s experience, such as improving preventive maintenance. We’re looking to maximize their use of the equipment to improve their ROI.

Has the cultural lexicon changed since you joined? 

AC: It has, and it is shifting more into how we can think about how we can operate as a digital business. That shift is starting to take place and you can see how it’s occurring in our strategy sessions over the past two years. 

How are you communicating IoT opportunities to the business?

AC: IT had been viewed as important and necessary but not as a strategic asset. I started by putting in good housekeeping of IT to run enterprise services more efficiently. Now, business leaders are welcoming me in to have these strategic discussions now that we have this solid foundation in place.

We’re using this to help us work with our engineering and product management teams. Once you think about the connected world, there’s a heartbeat inside this equipment that can be used for insights we can then help customers to make use of. We’re demonstrating that IT is more than running the email and ERP, towards how IT can help to move the business forward. 

How has it been working out? 

AC: It’s been a lot of fun. We’ve been able to get the right team members in roles to keep the business running while adding people to focus on transformation and driving business outcomes.  We are steadily moving into being a strategic asset. 

What do you look for in transformation leaders?

AC: I’m looking for individuals who likely started their careers in a technical role because they found technology interesting but realized they had a curiosity about how a business runs and makes money and decided to become embedded in the business. 

How are you sharing these changes with the board?

AC: The company’s lexicon is the Terex Transformation – Focus, Simplify, Execute to Win.  To become a strong operating enterprise with customer focus we are showing how IT can not only provide the technology needed to run a modern business but are an essential ingredient to change management and programmatic execution.  

What do you foresee as your top challenges over the next 6-to-12 months?

AC: Being able to keep pace with the demand to become a more digital business.  This will create greater challenges to execute more parallel activities than we have previously. And as many of my peers will tell you acquiring the talent that we need is a challenge. 

What progress have you made with the master data management initiative at Terex? Have you been able to obtain buy-in from the CEO, the CFO and other key stakeholders?

AC: With our transformation as a company, we’ve undertaken a global sourcing effort where we will buy our categories of products as a collective company. What we found as we looked across our information is that we couldn’t tell if we were using common parts across businesses because we don’t have data standards. 

As a company, we have not thought of data as an asset. Data is created with the least friction possible for its first use. If it is needed later for other purposes, we make assumptions, cleanse and build cross references. And then repeat the process when the data is needed for yet another purpose. This often surfaces as a “system issue” that IT should fix.  Fortunately, discussing this with our CEO, CFO and other executive leaders has led to understanding that there has to be ownership of data if we are going to improve the quality of our data. We are now on the forefront of changing mindsets to value data not only for its first use but it next use and its yet unthought-of uses in the future. We are now on a path to develop the disciplines that are needed to truly manage master data. 

How are you connecting with the Executive Leadership team?

AC: The first thing I did was establish myself as a business leader, not an IT leader. A simple way to demonstrate that to the executive leadership team was to show that I understood how we make money. From there, demonstrating an understanding of their customers, suppliers and competitors. 

That then opens the door to input on what we can augment, introduce, or eliminate to grow margin and grow share.  And that’s how I communicate this back to our IT team. It’s paid off very well. Since I joined, each of the senior business units have added a senior IT leader on their leadership teams to help identify ways to improve the business.

What are some of the ways you’re helping the executive team to reimagine and reinvent the business in terms of driving new revenue streams?

AC: This started first with our parts, services and lifecycle solutions. Some might call it aftermarket parts but we don’t like that term, it engenders that it is an “afterthought.” This is now one of our biggest focus areas. The executive who leads that area is highly engaged with my team recognizing that the connection with the customer is going to be a digital experience. 

This will open new revenue stream opportunities. We have ecommerce capabilities today that I would describe a more traditional, search for a part by name, number, description. Imagine in the future a technician is working on a piece of equipment, determines a part is needed, pulls out his phone, opens the Terex app and points the camera at the parts and then clicks buy. That’s a totally different experience. Those are the reimagine kinds of ideas.

Key Takeaways:

  • It’s critical for incoming CIOs to quickly learn what the critical business focus areas are and work with the executive team to help move those forward.
  • Once a CIO has accomplished this, it enables them to work with the CEO and the executive team to identify new revenue-generating opportunities within the business or businesses.
  • Because of their expansive view across the enterprise, CIOs are extremely well positioned to identify how best to leverage the scale of the organization across various business units.