Deltek CIO on not rushing into things in a fast-paced tech landscape

30 Oct 2020

Ronda Cilsick. Image: Deltek

Ronda Cilsick is the chief information officer at software company Deltek, having worked there for more than a decade.

Deltek is an enterprise software provider that works with global institutions. Ronda Cilsick is group VP and CIO of the company, overseeing a team of 130 IT professionals.

Here, she tells about how the Covid-19 pandemic has influenced digital transformation and how the shift to remote working will impact IT teams.

‘Companies need to be able to continue collaborating, and it will be on IT teams to drive innovation’

Describe your role and your responsibilities in driving tech strategy.

Within our company, the IT organisation is focused on enabling the business by providing technology, tools, infrastructure and thought leadership to deliver business value in support of Deltek’s strategy.

It is IT’s role to deliver technology to build the business to scale, understanding the business needs to target technology solutions to help the company grow and be more efficient with tools and technology that will support their ability to deliver on their business goals and objectives.

In addition, we are thought leaders in areas like automation, data and analytics, and technologies that support the broader organisation to be more productive. My team focuses on implementing technologies that solve business problems and supporting Deltek teams as they change and evolve their business processes.

Are you spearheading any major product or IT initiatives you can tell us about?

We’re focused on enabling the business to grow and scale and are continually looking for ways where we can leverage tools and technology to support the business. Over the last year, our company has focused on driving efficiency in the organisation, enabling our ability to scale.

Some of the major digital transformation projects we have undertaken include implementing a procurement-to-pay tool to automate our finance processes and the development of an e-commerce platform that makes it easier for our customers to do business with us.

Due to Covid-19, we are also focusing on collaboration technologies that will enable our team to work more productively in a virtual world.

In addition, another area of focus for us is data and analytics. As we continue to grow, we are focused on leveraging data to drive business decisions. One area we are looking to leverage AI tools, for example, is around our sales opportunity management and forecasting process.

How big is your team?

Our IT team includes 130 IT professionals focused on implementing new technologies, managing our IT infrastructure and supporting 3,100 Deltek employees in over a dozen countries.

What are your thoughts on digital transformation and how are you addressing it?

Digital transformation intersects with a lot of the initiatives we are focused on. It is all about how technologies replace manual processes and leverage data analytics to drive productivity and speed across the organisation.

We’re implementing technologies that simplify manual and laborious day-to-day activities to give employees more time to spend on value-add activities.

We are continuing to look at technologies that leverage machine learning or artificial intelligence to help streamline our business processes and increase our effectiveness as an organisation, along with automation technologies like RPA and bots to help automate day-to-day activities.

What big tech trends do you believe are changing the world and your industry specifically?

It’s my job to analyse technology trends to see which ones fit our business needs and ensure that we’re not rushing into things in this fast-paced landscape. It’s about the quality of the technology being implemented and the value it brings to the business.

Due to the pandemic, the virtual world that we are living in has driven tech trends around unified communication tools. Companies need to be able to continue collaborating, and it will be on IT teams to drive innovation and the search for tech tools that can streamline and enhance everyday processes to boost productivity and efficiency.

Deltek had already embraced the virtual working environment before the pandemic, with a significant portion of our staff being remote workers. From an infrastructure and technology perspective, we were not affected by the move to 100pc virtual during the pandemic, and our employees were able to pivot to working from home full-time with no impact on their productivity.

As we start to prepare for the post-Covid world, I think we will see more employees choosing to work remotely and shifting our focus to being more conscious about the remote employee first when it comes to technologies and support. Moving forward, the hybrid environment will be key, and Deltek already has an advantage with our culture we had established in the organisation.

In terms of security, what are your thoughts on how we can better protect data?

The key is to constantly review and audit current environments to mitigate risk. As more tech enters the market and becomes widely accepted, there will always be ways to improve and boost security measures.

I think a good place to start is to focus on educating staff so that they understand the complexity of data security. They need to know what sensitive data is and that it requires extra care.

Understanding one’s infrastructure is also vital, as you have to know how to work with the systems and build tight security checks. At Deltek, we’re able to monitor and respond to risks in real time and have trained our technicians to think ‘security first’ in everything they do.

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