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Nick Smither on Go Further

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 Ford’s CIO Shares Thoughts on How the IT Team Goes Further Everyday

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DEARBORN - @Ford Online recently sat down with Ford Group Vice President and CIO Nick Smither to discuss the company’s new Go Further global brand promise. Below is an excerpt from that interview.

Q. How did you describe Go Further to your team?
A. I’ve really described it as the next logical step in the One Ford journey.  We spent four or five years restructuring the business as we survived the recession.  We’re now past that tipping point and we’re now in the phase of profitable growth. It’s really the commitment that we all make to each other and all our stakeholders in terms of how we support that profitable growth moving forward.  And I think the important thing is that it’s not just about the product and marketing, it applies to everybody across the entire enterprise – whether they’re working with dealers, suppliers or their co-workers. 

And I think in terms of the reaction from the teams, they’ve really connected with it not only at a logical level but also at an emotional level.

Q. What does the Go Further brand promise mean to you personally?
A. I think it’s the commitment we all make to each other in terms of never being satisfied with the status quo.  You can look at a business requirement and meet it, or you can look to work to exceed it and deliver above expectations.  And I think that’s really the secret sauce behind Go Further. 

Q. In what ways does it reflect how you and your team have already been working?
A. There are so many examples across the entire enterprise. I think the one that really stands out for me across the world is how well our teams work in their communities. It doesn’t matter whether you’re here in the U.S. or in India, Germany or the U.K. – really all around the world – Ford employees are so giving of their time and their efforts and their talents to help ensure the communities that we live in are thriving. And that’s just a fantastic example. 

IT is just a huge opportunity. The technology is just moving so fast and there’s always the opportunity to not only meet customers’ desired needs, but togo beyond that for the unstated need and requirement to really move the business as well as the customers’ requirements forward. 

Q. How do you think the Go Further promise distinguishes Ford from its competitors?
A. I think in two important ways.  First, the brand promise extends beyond product and marketing to all aspects of the business.  I think the second way is that it’s really part of the Ford DNA.  If I think about when I first joined Ford, it’s really part of the Ford spirit.  And it applies across the entire enterprise. But I think at the end of the day, the way we can really make sure it differentiates us from our customers is by delivering on that promise and ensuring that we’re meeting the plan moving forward.

Q. In what ways do you feel the brand promise contributes to the transformation of Ford?
A. I think in many ways.  If I just reflect on the pace of change clearly as far as IT is concerned the technology has never been faster, but it applies across the entire business.  If you think about the customers’ expectations, think about government policy, the pace of change across the industry and across the world is huge. And I think Go Further is leverage we can take to actually ensure that we’re not only meeting the stated requirements, but also the unstated requirements to really surprise and delight all of our stakeholders. That’s really important.

Q. Do you see any changes ahead in the way that your team will operate under the Go Further brand promise?
A. I think it will evolve very quickly. As I mentioned earlier, people can connect with Go Further both logically and emotionally.  That’s very powerful because it motivates people.  It gives them a sense of purpose. And I think it will liberate our teams to work together to really surprise and delight customers and internal customers across the business. 



5/3/2012 9:30 AM