CIO Spotlight: Brian Duffy, Chief Information Officer at MacLean-Fogg Company

Brian Duffy has built his career on the philosophy that the more you know, the more valuable you are. As the Chief Information Officer at MacLean-Fogg, a global enterprise with facilities across six continents, Brian has transformed the role of IT within the company. In his “spare time” Brian volunteers with his wife at a dog rescue organization, and fosters dogs who are in need of a home. He also spends time with his three children: two daughters who are currently students at the University of Kentucky, and a son who will be joining his sisters on campus next year.

Terillium is honored to be a trusted partner of Brian and his team at MacLean-Fogg. Terillium and MacLean-Fogg worked together to implement Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, and create one source of truth across multiple plants and business locations.

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge CIOs face today?

Brian: Keeping up with the rate of change for both technology and the business is the hardest challenge. The fast pace, of both the technical and business side, affects everything we do as far as workloads, budgeting, and everything else.

What is one strategy you’ve implemented as CIO that has paid off the most?

Brian: Having our IT team trained in business as well as customer service has definitely paid off. This training broadens our team’s perspective to think outside of IT.

CIOs are often tasked with making decisions on big budget purchases. What factors do you consider when determining ROI and deciding what technology tools are best for your company?

Brian: The end-user is heavily factored in to our decisions. We have to make sure we have end-user buy-in, and that the system we are considering is the right solution for the end-user, before we can even look into ROI and go through the other steps. Implementing technology just for the sake of technology’s sake doesn’t pay off. You have to have user adoption.

What has been the most helpful resource for you as CIO (examples: SIG groups, professional networks/organizations, user groups, trade shows, websites or magazines, colleagues, company leadership)?

Brian: The most helpful resources to me are professional networking groups and having trusted vendors. I’m a member of TEN, a technical network of CIOs in the Chicago area – and that has been a helpful resource. It’s good to meet with other technology leaders and find out what everybody’s doing.

Having trusted vendors, like Terillium, that we can rely on for guidance is also key. We truly value our partnership with the Terillium Team, they are a great asset to our team.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?  

Brian: Years ago I saw a guy get fired – and I was shocked by it. He was a very productive person, worked at least 60 hours a week. I asked the CEO why he was let go, and he explained to me that even if the guy would work 80 hours a week he was still a bottleneck for the department. Because he wasn’t enabling his team and others to be productive, everything had to go through him. With him removed, other people on the team could step up and suddenly the team is collectively putting in hundreds of productive hours, versus his 60 individual hours. The lesson I learned was: don’t be a bottleneck. And be aware of bottlenecks and remove them – it could be people, it could be processes.

What advice would you give to a budding CIO? 

Brian: Focus on leadership, teamwork, and business acumen. If you pair those skills with technology – that’s the key. The CIO role is more of a business role, than a technical role. I don’t get to do as much of the techie stuff as I used.

What advice would you give to a CIO considering an ERP/JDE implementation?

Brian: Don’t underestimate the resources you’ll need across the board as far as people, money, and time. If you underestimate those things, you’ll fail. You also need to be aware that it’s not an IT project – it’s a business project.

What’s the next big project for your team?

Brian: We are working on implementing IoT technology for both our JDE system as well as other systems, so that will be a focus over the next few years.

What was the most memorable moment working with the Terillium Team (so far)?

Brian: We were getting ready to go live on JDE at our first site, and management was delaying because they were afraid to pull the trigger. Terillium’s President, Dave Woodworth, gave us the support and confidence we needed to move forward with go live. His assurance that everything was going to work and go smoothly gave our team the peace of mind we needed. Since then we’ve gone live at four more sites and working on dozens more. Throughout our many projects our partnership and trust in Terillium has been further strengthened and solidified.