Forum on World Class IT - 346 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

Chris Scalet, Former Executive Vice President of Global Services and Chief Information Officer of Merck

In this interview, Chris Scalet, the former EVP, Business Services and Chief Information Officer of Merck, 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 Chris familiarizes himself in new environments through engaging business leaders
  • How Chris’ role expanded as Merck built a multifunctional shared services capability
  • How Merck focused on the three step model of consolidate, integrate, and optimize
  • The evolving role of the CIO, and how CIOs have more opportunities to see across the business
  • How the CIO role has evolved such that CIOs are more about the business than they are technology
  • Eye on the Trends: Mobility and how it changes the way we interact with customers, business partners, and employees; the need for CIOs to embrace and appropriately manage consumerization of IT, and how cloud computing will become more pervasive

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

John Marcante, Chief Information Officer of the Vanguard Group

In this interview, John Marcante, Chief Information Officer of the Vanguard Group, discusses World Class IT principle one, People, and principle four, IT & Business Partnerships, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • How he works with colleagues and customers to develop technology to serve clients and manage investments
  • What traits he believes CIOs need in order to be successful given changing technology trends
  • The rotational program within Vanguard to move employees between IT and other divisional roles
  • IT’s role in championing digital within the organization
  • The methods he has used to bring start-up methodologies within a much larger organization
  • Talent management, and how he trains and recruits for needed new skills
  • The advantage of having IT personnel within other parts of the organization
  • The benefits of having IT’s own employees as customers of the organization
  • Eye on the Trends: Predictive Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence Engines

Mike Heim, CIO of Whirlpool

In this interview, Mike Heim, CIO of Whirlpool, 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:

  • His responsibilities as CIO
  • The benefits of being a product owner as well as a leader
  • How dramatic change has allowed him and his team to become front office collaborators as well as back office support
  • The future of IoT and its effects on home appliances
  • How IT addresses security in an increasingly digital world
  • A glimpse into how he managed to transform the workplace using Google Apps
  • IT’s role in the collaboration and development of new ideas
  • The governance and culture required to create an organization that is able to respond quickly
  • Eye on the Trends: Cloud computing, 3D printing, Machine learning

Dan Olley, Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of Product Development at Elsevier

In this interview, Peter High speaks with Dan Olley, Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of Product Development at Elsevier. Among the topics they discuss include:

  • An overview of Elsevier’s business, including its focus on the legal field, the academic and health research fields, the business risk and financial fields, and their exhibitions business
  • Dan’s responsibilities as CTO, which include customer-facing responsibilities such as overseeing product development, as well as more traditional responsibilities such as applying technology to internal efficiency as well as revenue generation
  • Dan’s perspective on our rapidly accelerating digital world and the emerging symbiotic era, where intelligent conversational interfaces, mixed reality, and other technologies essentially eliminate the boundary between man and machine
  • The implications of machine learning at Elsevier, such as how it has enabled the creation of a new generation of products that move beyond providing static information and in to real-time recommendation and decision support
  • Dan’s perspective on the human element of AI, such as the idea that the human-machine system becomes greater than the sum of its parts, how digital intelligence can augment human decision making, and how Elsevier creates cross-functional teams with the necessary skills
  • How Dan’s background in agile development prepared him for his current customer-facing responsibilities, and his belief that customers must be embedded in the development process
  • How Dan aligns the fast moving R&D function with the broader, more traditional organizational strategy

Bill Schlough, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of the San Francisco Giants

In this interview, Bill Schlough, the SVP and Chief Information Officer of the San Francisco Giants and InformationWeek 2012 IT Chief of the Year, discusses World Class IT principle two, Infrastructure, principle four, IT and Business Partnerships, and principle five, External Partnerships, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • Delivering value through baseball competitive advantage, business optimization, and the fan experience
  • Partnering with innovative companies in the San Francisco Bay Area
  • Being CEO of the Giants’ Class A affiliate team
  • Seasonal planning, executing, and supporting around a baseball season
  • The value of a tech savvy executive team
  • Eye on the Trends: Leveraging cloud computing in order to refocus on core competencies and the power of social media, mobility, and TV everywhere in improving the fan experience

Joe Locandro, IT Director of Cathay Pacific

In this interview, Joe Locandro, IT Director for Cathay Pacific, the flag carrier airline of Hong Kong, discusses World Class IT principle two, infrastructure, and principle four, IT-Business Partnerships, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • How Cathay Pacific’s mission statement of having the best technology is translated
  • The rising importance of digital customer experience
  • Ways in which innovation is managed at Cathay Pacific
  • Similarities across industries based on Joe’s previous IT leadership experiences
  • Eye on the Trends: Mobile consumption and the changing form factors. Increasing usage of biometrics

Sophie Vandebroek, CTO of Xerox and President of the Xerox Innovation Group

In this interview, Sophie Vandebroek, Chief Technology Officer of Xerox and President of the Xerox Innovation Group, discusses World Class IT principle one, People, and principle four, IT-Business Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • Her roles as Chief Technology Officer of Xerox and as President of the Xerox Innovation Group
  • The creation of strategy and interaction with customers that the team focuses on
  • “Dreaming” sessions and the process of innovation at Xerox
  • What skills are growing in demand at Xerox
  • How the innovation and creative idea creation process are linked with the idea of fun
  • Xerox’s path ahead to bringing more female talent into the technical ranks of the organization
  • PARC (the Palo Alto Research Center) and its influence on the greater Xerox organization

Michael Baresich, CIO of Ally Financial Inc

This is one in a series of interviews with financial services CIOs conducted in collaboration with CIO Straight Talk magazine. Read additional articles by other technology executives at www.straighttalkonline.com.

    In this interview, Michael Baresich, CIO of Ally Financial Inc, discusses World Class IT Principle One, People; Principle Four, IT and Business Partnerships; and Principle Five, External Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include:

    • Importance of cross-functional team work to figure out product offerings
    • Keeping an eye out at various human interface platforms to integrate
    • Being involved with external partners to understand technology landscape
    • Incorporating technologies that serve the 21st century consumer
    • Glimpse into the importance of how IT affects decisions requiring acquisitions of companies
    • Strategic importance of being involved in Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley
    • Eye on the Trends: Human Machine Interface; Blockchain; Digital Assistants

    Gurmeet Singh, Senior Vice President, Chief Digital Officer, and Chief Information Officer of 7-Eleven

    In this interview, Peter High speaks with Gurmeet Singh, Senior Vice President, Chief Digital Officer, and Chief Information Officer of 7-Eleven. Among the topics they discuss include:

    • 7-Eleven’s multi-year journey to become a digitally-enabled organization, including Gurmeet’s “full stack transformation” approach which encompasses consumer-facing technology, back-end technology, infrastructure, and the organizational stack
    • How digital is a strategic pillar at 7-Eleven, mandated directly by the CEO
    • The critical importance of technical talent to 7-Eleven’s future, and Gurmeet’s strategy for attracting top talent – such as highlighting his credibility as a leader and telling a compelling story
    • The ways in which Gurmeet is redefining convenience with software, such as the recognition that the closest store to a customer is the phone in their pocket, and 7-Eleven’s use of APIs and new interfaces to create delightful experiences
    • The expansion of 7-Eleven’s loyalty program from its initial focus on beverages to as a full-fledged loyalty offering that is available on mobile, web, digital loyalty card, and even chatbot
    • 7-Eleven’s approach to experimenting with emerging technologies, including their distinction between technologies that are ready to scale and technologies that are still in the proof of concept phase, a new R&D center, and a CTO function that reports to Gurmeet