Forum on World Class IT - 359 Interviews and Podcasts

Welcome to the Forum on World Class IT podcast series, a collection of exclusive interviews with Chief Information Officers and other IT industry thought leaders. Learn from the experts on how best to establish a truly World Class IT organization.

Podcast tags Archives: Collaboration

M.S. Krishnan, Joseph Handleman Professor of Information Systems and Innovation and Professor of Business IT of the Ross School of Business

In this interview, M.S. Krishnan, the Joseph Handleman Professor of Information Systems and Innovation and Professor of Business Information Technology at the Ross School of Business of the University of Michigan, discusses World Class IT principle one, People, and principle four, IT-Business Partnerships, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • Challenges to the average CIO being innovative
  • Fostering innovation through sharpening business acumen
  • Creating a culture of innovation that balances experimentation and governance
  • Recruiting IT professionals with a curiosity for business and technology
  • Dangers of relying on a single group to drive innovation
  • Eye on the trends: Cloud based architecture and systems providing the “democratization of capabilities” for small and medium- sized businesses, and the organization’s ability to understand the talent they have through the lens of the ecosystem in which they operate

Stewart McCutcheon, EVP and CIO of Ecolab, Inc.

In this interview, Stewart McCutcheon, CIO of Ecolab, Inc., discusses World Class IT principle one, People, principle three, Project and Portfolio Management, and principle four, IT-Business Partnerships, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • The imperative of the IT organization’s strategy to look to become a source of competitive advantage for global organizations in the future
  • The various ways in which Stewart has built cross-functional capabilities to pull knowledge from the disparate functions of R&D, IT, and business, in a way that enables a greater understanding of the organization’s needs.
  • The important yet difficult conundrum of “build” versus “buy” in a global information technology organization, and the strategic importance of customization of systems and processes in creating competitive advantage
  • The challenges and opportunities Stewart identified when serving as the lead integrator of two merging companies with distinctive cultures and processes
  • Stewart’s unique promotion to CIO from the company acquired in a merger, and potential reasons behind the decision
  • Eye on the Trends: The success of high intensity, goal-oriented task forces formed to improve flawed processes, the growing trend of the CIO having core competency as a business person more so than a technologist

Kevin Steele, CTO of Cars.com

In this interview, Kevin Steele, Vice President of Technology of Cars.com discusses World Class IT Principle Three, Project & Portfolio Management, and Principle Four, IT & Business Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • How he thinks about the experience for both the car buyer and the dealership
  • His role as Vice President of Technology
  • The way he collaborates with other areas of the organization
  • How he gauges success amongst the customers of his organization
  • The growth of mobility as a channel and how that has evolved the customer experience
  • His strategic planning process
  • How he works to understand emerging technology trends
  • The move from Waterfall to Agile development
  • Common elements from the multiple companies where he has worked within IT departments
  • How he has gone about shaping and instilling the culture of the organizations he has worked in
  • Eye on the Trends: Mobile, Autonomous vehicles, and the Big Data space

Yvonne Wassenaar, CIO of New Relic

In this interview, Yvonne Wassenaar, CIO of New Relic, discusses World Class IT Principle Two, Infrastructure, and Principle Four, IT & Business Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • Being a CIO in a cloud based company
  • The importance of CIOs having both a horizontal viewpoint and a technological mindset
  • Taking intelligent risks
  • IT departments as integrators and collaborators
  • The role of CIOs on corporate boards
  • The internal and external functions of a modern CIO
  • Diversity in STEM fields

David Bray, Executive Director of People-Centered Internet

In this interview, David discussed World Class IT Principle Three, Project and Portfolio Management, Principle Five, External Partnerships, among other topics including:

  • David’s work as Executive Director of the People-Centered Internet, which seeks to create demonstration projects of the internet’s ability to measurably improve people’s lives and serve as a catalyst for change
  • The reason engineers are not well equipped to recognize the unintended consequences of technology, and the growing challenge as the pace of technological progress accelerates
  • How David prioritizes PCIs efforts, and their current focus on rebuilding power and communications infrastructure in Puerto Rico, helping restore the identity documents of those affected by the California wildfires, and providing internet services to Native American communities
  • David’s approach to developing partnerships bringing together diverse groups of positive change agents
  • The advantage of David having grown his career in the government, such as learning how to thrive in a resource-constrained environment, and how to navigate multiple constituencies
  • David’s experience as a Marshall Fellow in 2018, where he looks at the rise in preferences for direct democracy and mistrust of government
  • How and why David engages the academic community on topics concerning the future

Patrick Thompson, Executive Vice President of Administration and Chief Information Officer of Amedisys

In this interview, Patrick Thompson, Executive Vice President of Administration and Chief Information Officer of Amedisys, a $1.5 billion dollar healthcare company that provides home health and hospice services, discusses World Class IT principle one, People, principle two, Infrastructure, and principle four, IT-Business Partnerships, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • How broader responsibilities enable elimination of inefficiencies and departmental silos
  • The unique role of a Business Systems Analyst
  • The importance of integrating IT infrastructure during M&A
  • ROI-driven IT investments and partnerships with Finance
  • Eye on the trends: Mobile agility and computing as it pertains to enabling clinicians in the field, and collaboration technologies as it relates to supporting the continual care of Amedisys’ patients

Suren Gupta, EVP of Technology & Operations at Allstate Insurance Company

In this interview, Suren Gupta, EVP of Technology & Operations of Allstate Insurance Company, discusses World Class IT principle one, People, and principle four, IT-Business Partnerships, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • The innovative ways in which Allstate has structured its organization to most effective facilitate a significant business transformation, specifically the various mechanisms used to capture and fund innovative ideas from the ground up
  • The various ways in which Stewart has built cross-functional capabilities to pull knowledge from the disparate functions of R&D, IT, and business, in a way that enables a greater understanding of the organization’s needs.
  • The importance of sourcing technologists that are first and foremost businesspeople when building talent
  • The challenges and opportunities Stewart identified when serving as the lead integrator of two merging companies with distinctive cultures and processes
  • Suren’s hesitance, throughout his career, to focus on getting to that “next level” and his prescribed alternative
  • The increasing importance of a flexible and effective organizational structure through which the key principles of operation, execution, enablement, development, innovation, and differentiation are supported
  • Eye on the Trends: The societal changes and possibilities that will come with leveraging data for wisdom, Allstate’s “innovation councils” composed of senior technology and business leaders with the purpose of bringing new ideas to life

Anne Margulies, University CIO of Harvard

In this interview, Anne Margulies, University Chief Information Officer of Harvard discusses World Class IT Principle One, People, and Principle Four, IT & Business Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • Her role as the CIO of Harvard University
  • The strategic plans and future priorities of the IT organization
  • The IT Academy and how she builds new skills for her staff
  • How the IT Academy is administered, and how it functions
  • The toolkit of every IT professional and how she determines what skills are necessary within IT teams
  • Her history with massive open online courses (MOOCs) including edX and HarvardX
  • Eye on the Trends: The Internet of Things, Online Learning

Bill Miller, SVP & CIO of NetApp

In this interview, Bill Miller, CIO & SVP of NetApp, discusses World Class IT Principle One, People, Principle Two, IT Infrastructure, Principle Four, IT and Business Partnerships, and Principle Five, External Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • Bill’s role in NetApp’s transformation from a data storage to a data management company
  • NetApp’s internal product testing initiatives: Customer-1 and NetApp on NetApp
  • The development of NetApp’s Data Fabric for seamlessly managing data
  • The valuable feedback loop created when your CIO or IT peers are your customers
  • How a culture of fraternity and flexibility encourages innovation
  • The three topics on every CIO’s mind
  • The importance of civility and collaboration for successfully running an IT department in a tech organization
  • Pre-working the First 100 Days plan
  • Eye on the Trends: Companies utilizing a hybrid of cloud-based utilities; Pay-as-you-go cloud model

Toomas Hendrick Ilves, Former President of Estonia

In this interview, President Ilves discussed World Class IT Principle Two, Infrastructure, and Principle Five, External Partnerships, among other topics including:

  • How President Ilves’ international upbringing shaped his worldview, including the influences of growing up bilingual, being a child of refugee parents, and learning to program at a young age
  • The role that President Ilves played in pushing the digitization narrative, both before he was President as part of the underground Communist resistance, as well as during his presidency
  • The impact that becoming a newly independent nation around the time that the internet was exploding had on Estonia’s ability to recognize the power of a digital society, and Estonia’s early digitization efforts such as e-identity and the X-Roads distributed architecture which was implemented in 2001
  • The collaboration required between the government, the private sector, and the public that was required to digitize the nation, why the private sector and general public have been more enthusiastic than the government due to the business efficiencies and personal conveniences, and how thee digital system is decoupled from politics in the mind of the Estonian people
  • Estonia’s cyber-war with Russia, which was the first of its kind, and how it resulted in the creation of the NATO Center for excellence in Cyber Security, which is located in Estonia
  • The features of Estonia’s e-residency program, such as being able to become an e-citizen and set up an online business registered in the European Union, and how that helps Estonia’s economy compensate despite its small geography and population
  • President Ilves’ focus since leaving office, including his academic focus on threats to democracy in the digital era, and work with other nations that are interesting in emulating Estonia’s digital society