Forum on World Class IT - 363 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: Digital

Roger Gurnani, Chief Information and Technology Architect of Verizon Communications

In this interview, Roger Gurnani, Chief Information and Technology Architect of Verizon Communications, discusses World Class IT principle one, People, and principle two, Infrastructure. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • What his title of Chief Information and Technology Architect encompasses
  • His strategic imperatives that he and his team are pursuing
  • The digital revolution and how he has handled the pace of change within the organization
  • ThinkSpace and the Internet of Things within Verizon
  • His career path and his experience within multiple areas of Verizon’s large organization
  • How talent management is undertaken at the organization
  • Eye on the Trends: Digital, Cloud Technology, 5G Wireless Technology

Vince Campisi, Senior Vice President Digital and Chief Information Officer

In this interview, Vince discussed World Class IT Principle One, People; Principle Three, Project and Portfolio Management; Principle Four, Business and IT Partnerships; and Principle Five, External Partnerships, among other topics including:

  • How United Technologies approaches IT and digital in a way that maximizes synergies
  • How IT and digital are organized and governed within the organization
  • How United Technologies manages offensive and defensive capabilities
  • How United Technologies organizes its innovation functions into United Technologies Digital and United Technologies Research Center
  • United Technologies Digital Accelerator in Dumbo Brooklyn, how priorities are set, and the unique processes they employ
  • Vince’s perspective on the advantages of companies operating at scale, versus the advantages of a digitally native organization
  • How United Technologies manages cybersecurity risk as an increasing number of its products are connected to the IoT

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

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

Tom Reilly, CEO of Cloudera

In this interview, Tom Reilly, Chief Executive Officer of Cloudera, discusses World Class IT Principle One, People and Principle Four, IT-Business Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • His organization, Cloudera, where it stands now, and the current priorities at Cloudera
  • The path to success for older organizations with large antiquated infrastructures and for Digital-native organizations
  • Industries that Cloudera is working with the most
  • How Cloudera maintains its competitive advantages
  • How he came to be at Cloudera after the founding of the organization
  • The way in which he has forged a strong relationship with the founders of the organization
  • How the organization thinks about remaining a private company compared to going public
  • The team at Cloudera and the methods he uses to build and retain the team
  • How he thinks about strategic planning and how the organization continues to pivot
  • The relationships that have been built with several MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses)
  • Some industry-specific use cases

Anil Cheriyan, Former Chief Information Officer of SunTrust

In this interview, Anil discussed World Class IT Principle Four, IT and Business Partnerships, Principle Five, External Partnerships, among other topics including:

  • Anil’s plans after he retires from SunTrust, including traveling, continuing to serve on advisory boards for late-stage growth startups, continuing to consult and advise companies, and pursuing a board position at a public company
  • How Anil came to advise growth-stage startups by developing relations during his tenure as CIO, and the ways in which startups benefit from a CIOs perspective, such as on the topics of attracting talent and pursuing revenue opportunities
  • How Anil addressed SunTrust’s fragmented approach to digital by hiring business segment CTOs, a Chief Data Officer, and an enterprise-level Chief Digital Officer, all of which reported to him as CIO
  • The siloed state SunTrust’s technology group was in when Anil joined, and how Anil broke those silos down over the course of a six-year transformation that implemented a new operating model to drive alignment, cost transparency, and strategic investment decisions
  • The advantages Anil sees to having been a consultant earlier in his career, including gaining experience in driving change management and business alignment, as well as working closely with the leadership team at SunTrust
  • SunTrust’s transition from an innovation strategy of ad hoc hackathons and collaborative office hours to a comprehensive framework that leveraged an agile way of working, a DevOps mindset, and new technologies like the cloud and AI

Jim Fowler, CIO of General Electric

In this interview, Jim Fowler, Chief Information Officer at General Electric, discusses World Class IT Principle One, People, and Principle Two, Infrastructure, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • How he has transitioned to the role of GE’s CIO, having come from GE Capital
  • His area of responsibility
  • The financial acumen required for the job, and how he associates with those that have a deeper financial background.
  • Digital, and his vision for it within the company, including the Predix platform
  • Succession and career planning within GE
  • How he has organized his first few months within the role of CIO
  • Security and how data is secured within GE

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

Jim Swanson, CIO of Monsanto

In this interview, Jim Swanson, Chief Information Technology Officer of Monsanto, discusses World Class IT principle one, People, and principle four, IT-Business Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • His role as Chief Information Officer of Monsanto
  • The digital revolution occurring in the agriculture industry
  • How IT works with other parts of the organization to develop digital plans across the enterprise
  • How the recruiting and skills needed within IT have changed
  • The internal brand of IT within Monsanto to assure its place within the enterprise
  • How IT interacts with the ultimate customers of the organization
  • His career path to agriculture through the pharmaceutical industry and others
  • Universal similarities across multiple industries within the IT department
  • Eye on the Trends: Decision science and analytics, predictive and prescriptive modeling, the Internet of Things

Bill Ruh, Chief Executive Officer of GE Digital and Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer of General Electric

In this interview, Peter High speaks with Bill Ruh, the Chief Executive Officer of GE Digital and the Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer of General Electric. Among the topics they discuss include

  • Bill’s perspective on the digital transformation taking place in the industrial sector and how this transformation will eventually impact all sectors.
  • The challenges of executing a digital transformation, and Bill’s thoughts on the critical “soft” elements, such as culture, leadership, and talent.
  • Bill’s advice on how to blend talent by bringing new people into work with existing employees as opposed to less effective approaches such as not bringing people from the outside at all or segregating new employees.
  • A rundown of the digital reporting structure at GE, where Chief Digital Officers report to the CEOs of their business, as well as to Bill.
  • An overview of the roles and responsibilities of the three programs created for digital:  GE for GE, GE for installed base customers, and GE for the industrial world.
  • The importance of realizing that change must be reflected by the entire organization and that it is something that cannot be done overnight.
  • An emphasis on how digital is able to drive greater productivity and efficiency while giving clear outcomes that companies can show to their customers, something GE always starts.