Forum on World Class IT - 337 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: Customer Focused IT

Abbie Lundberg, President of Lundberg Media

In this interview, Abbie Lundberg discusses principle four of World Class IT with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include

  • The “CIO’s Dilemma” of competing demands to be agile and innovative, while being responsible for cost cutting
  • Cloud computing and how the concept of making businesses more agile is a great opportunity for IT
  • How CIOs are increasingly focusing on the external customer, whether that be through business intelligence or directly customer facing applications
  • The evolution of the role of the CIO in the years ahead
  • The necessity to “get one’s house in order” in order to first develop credibility with business partners before earning the trust necessary for a seat at the strategy setting table
  • The importance of not only CIOs, but all IT executives that interface with business partners to be able to communicate effectively

Kevin Hart, EVP and CTO of Cox Communications

In this interview, Kevin Hart, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Cox Communications, the third-largest cable entertainment and broadband services provider in the country, discusses World Class IT principle one, People, principle three, Project and Portfolio, and principle four, IT & Business Partnership, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • The uniqueness of his role at CTO at Cox
  • His first 100 days plan for his CTO role
  • How he has implemented a faster pace of innovation within technology at Cox, in order to compete within the rapidly-evolving video entertainment market
  • Eye on the Trends: Aligning IT initiatives with overall business goals at firms through evolving roles of the CIOs and CTO, and the steps Ken has undertaken to institutionalize formalized training programs such as CIO University

Christopher Hjelm, Senior VP, CIO for The Kroger Co.

In this interview, Christopher Hjelm, Senior VP, CIO for The Kroger Co., discusses World Class IT principle two, infrastructure, and principle four, IT & business partnerships, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • His role at Kroger
  • How his team manages to interact with customers and vendors within this industry
  • Innovation in self-service and customers’ adoption of and interaction with developments in technology
  • His experience as a board member on Kindred Healthcare, Inc. and Rehabcare Group, Inc., among others
  • Eye on the Trends: open sourcing of technology to increase productivity and increasing data analytics

Ron Ross, Fellow of the National Institute of Standards and Technology

In this interview, Ron Ross, Fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, discusses World Class IT Principle Two, Infrastructure and Principle Five, External Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • His organization, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and his role within it
  • The paradigm shift in the complexity of technology and our ability to protect it
  • How the Internet of Things complicates the security problems already in place
  • NIST’s publication – Systems Security Engineering: An Integrated Approach to Building Trustworthy Resilient Systems
  • Who NIST engages for their publications and how they engage with their partners
  • TACIT Security – Threats, Assets, Complexity, Integration, and Trustworthiness
  • How people-centric security problems can be better addressed
  • The role that business continuity and disaster recovery plans play in security
  • Building security into systems to increase the level of confidence in systems

Mark Settle, CIO of Okta

In this interview, Mark Settle, CIO of Okta, discusses his book, The Truth From the Trenches: A Practical Guide to the Art of IT Management. He also discusses World Class IT Principle One, People, Principle Three, Project and Portfolio Management, Principle Four, IT and Business Partnerships, and Principle Five, External Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • The nuances between the role of leadership and management
  • Importance of financial management to help drive innovation within IT
  • A need for IT to be involved with business partners beyond transactional relationships
  • Demand management from the business partners to meet IT’s capacity
  • Strategic techniques of attracting and retaining talent in Silicon Valley
  • The importance of innovation labs to gather feedback from the broader organization
  • Significance of how IT affects relationships with customers
  • Eye on the Trends: Agile Methodology, DevOps, Integrations

Carl Ascenzo, Former SVP & CIO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA; Principle Consultant at Ascention Consulting

In this interview, Carl Ascenzo discusses principle five of World Class IT with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include

  • Customer orientation as a key skill for anyone working in IT
  • The importance of pursuing vendor management
  • How to structure, build, and run a vendor management office
  • The importance of cultural fit when choosing strategic vendors
  • How getting the lowest price from a vendor may not always be in a company’s best interest

Marc Saffer, Chief Information Officer of J.Crew

In this interview, Marc Saffer, Chief Information Officer of J. Crew discusses World Class IT principle one, People, principle two, Infrastructure, principle three, Project & Portfolio Management, and four, IT & Business Partnership, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • The structure and dynamics of the CIO office at J.Crew
  • Marc’s focus on company culture, business strategy and people management in preparation of his role as J.Crew’s new CIO
  • Marc’s multi-staged people assessment and project selection strategies in the first few days in his new job
  • Eye on the Trends: The critical role of business and IT alignment in success of J.Crew’s new projects: international expansion and supporting websites, enterprise selling capability

Jim Fowler, CIO of GE Capital

In this interview, Jim Fowler, CIO of GE Capital, discusses World Class IT principle one, People, and principle four, IT & Business Partnerships, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • An Overview of the position of CIO at GE Capital
  • The role of IT at GE Capital and the development of a digital strategy
  • Jim’s view of how technological innovation should be developed and how it can add value to all the business ventures of GE and their customers
  • The importance of setting up IT as the technology arm of the company trough effective development, training, and recruiting programs
  • Jim’s approach to problem solving by understanding how and where to leverage technological developments across business units
  • How IT should treat data as an asset and have it move through an IT value chain
  • The critical role IT plays in keeping a company like GE Capital ahead of the curve
  • Eye on the Trends: The Internet of Things and Financial Services Marketplaces

Michael Baresich, Chief Information Officer of Ally Financial

In this interview, Michael Baresich, Chief Information Officer at Ally Financial, discusses World Class IT Principle One, People and Principle Four, IT-Business Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • His company, Ally Financial
  • How his organization transitioned from 70% government ownership, and the role IT played in that transition
  • The culture of the organization
  • Metrics used to gauge progress during his initial time at the organization
  • How he maintained the balance of IT activities needed for growth with cost-cutting in the wake of the recession
  • Digital, and how he partners with other parts of the organization from a digital perspective
  • The extent to which he has in-sourced some IT activities and how he set the organization on that path
  • His strategy and priorities for the future
  • The skill inventory of the organization and how he builds out the skills needed within his team
  • The process he uses to ensure that his team is up to date on new technologies
  • Eye on the Trends: Existing consumer technology being optimized for enterprise uses

Mike Giresi, CIO of Royal Caribbean

In this interview, Mike Giresi, CIO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, 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:

  • Digital Transformation journey at Royal Caribbean
  • Importance of Executive sponsorship for IT
  • Role of CIO to as an interconnector between Enterprise strategy and IT implementation
  • Value of technology from a customer point of view
  • IT’s ability to gain customer feedback in a B2C organization
  • The needs of Data management and analytics
  • Implications of shadow IT
  • Bleeding technology trends for IT
  • Relevance of cross functional teams to help push innovation within IT forward