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: External Partnerships

Stewart Butterfield, Founder and CEO of Slack

In this interview,Stewart Butterfield, Founder and CEO of Slack, discusses World Class IT principle one, People, principle four, IT & Business Partnerships, and principle five, External Partnerships, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • The genesis of Slack
  • How Slack was scaled to an enterprise level application
  • What metrics are used to gauge the health of the business
  • External inputs into Slack and the value they add
  • Developers and partners in the Slack ecosystem
  • The Slack Fund and its role in driving innovative ideas
  • Stewart’s mentors and lessons learned from his entrepreneurial ventures
  • How culture can drive productivity
  • How talent management develops in a rapidly growing company

Kyle Nel, Executive Director of Lowe's Innovation Labs

In this interview, Kyle Nel, Executive Director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs, discusses World Class IT Principle One, People, Principle Five, External Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • Lowe’s Innovation Labs
  • Lowe’s uncommon partnerships
  • Maximizing efficiency and success by integrating internal and external talent
  • Lowe’s Innovation Labs’ Collider
  • The value of external partnerships
  • Incremental verses meaningful innovation
  • Lowe’s Narrative-driven innovation model
  • Using behavioral science to drive transformation
  • Metrics for measuring the success of innovation labs
  • Lowe’s Innovation Labs’ projects: Lowe’s Holoroom, self-roaming robots, additive manufacturing

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.

Ann Dozier, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits

In this interview, Peter High speaks with Ann Dozier, the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits. Among the topics they discuss include:

  • An overview of Glazer’s, North America’s largest wine and spirit distributor with over five thousand brands.
  • Ann’s role as CIO, where she is responsible for infrastructure, information security, the supply chain, digital, among other areas.
  • Glazer’s objective with digital as it relates to the customer experience, which is to ensure that customers and supplier-partners can interact with them on their terms
  • How Glazer’s has merged the IT organizations to ensure that the company is meeting State regulations while maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit within the company.
  • How the merger and integration with Legacy Glazer’s provided an opportunity to both integrate and update legacy systems.
  • How Glazer’s has leveraged their network of partners to drive the technology for the future.
  • How Glazer’s was able to complete a high-profile merger and add a national partnership while making sure the users did not feel the burden of all the movement by making excellent decisions and having the support of senior executives.
  • An eye on the trends: Business Intelligence, AI, IoT, Blockchain

Albert Hitchcock, Chief Operating and Technology Officer at Pearson

In this interview, Peter High speaks with Albert Hitchcock the Chief Operating and Technology Officer at Pearson. Among the topics they discuss include:

  • How Albert took on COO responsibilities beyond the CIO role by identifying the need to streamline not just the companies underlying technology, but the operational processes as well.
  • Albert’s responsibilities, which in addition to IT and digital transformation include product development, procurement, supply chain, customer service, and real estate.
  • The evolution of the CIO role from the back office to the front office and Albert’s view that the role has become transformative to the point where it needs to encompass the operating model of the business
  • The three-phased transformation Albert is leading, which includes radical simplification, platform strategy, and execution strategy
  • How Pearson is working towards a single platform, similar to Netflix for education, which would be highly scalable, global in nature, high-quality, and one that can deliver all of their experiences around the world to millions of learners.
  • An overview of the changes occurring at Pearson, including radical simplification and consolidation of systems, moving from data centers to the cloud, and people and culture changes.
  • How Pearson has looked to an innovation ecosystem for idea generation
  • How the company is using AI and augmented reality to make a difference in education and the workforce.
  • How Pearson is preparing for the skills revolution with its Technology Academy, and how they are working to assist other companies in doing the same.
  • Albert’s view on companies needs to re-equip their workforce and the challenges that arise with it.

Sunil Gupta, Edward W. Carter Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School

In this interview, Peter High speaks with Sunil Gupta, the Edward W. Carter Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Among the topics they discuss include:

  • The four parts of an organization that should be the focus on any digital transformation effort, including business strategy and business model, internal operations, customer touchpoints, and skills and operating model.
  • Gupta believes that transformation should begin with an examination of customer pain points, rather than bigger technology changes.
  • How the blurring of industrial boundaries is forcing companies to ask, “What business am I in,” and develop competitive advantages by creating compliments and network effects.
  • How Best Buy redefined its business to successfully compete with Amazon by changing its cost structure with the store-within-a-store model, and then used that revenue to build out service and subscription offerings.
  • How the New York Times successfully moved to a profitable subscription model, despite traditional media facing challenges in realizing significant online advertising revenue.
  • How John Deere changed its business model and began hiring data scientists after realizing it wasn’t in the business of selling farm equipment, but rather, was in the business of farm management and making farmers more productive.
  • How the nature of competition has shifted from across products to across ecosystems and platforms, and why companies should look to partner externally to succeed here.
  • Why innovation labs alone are not effective, and companies instead need to focus on transforming the core of their business proposition and not just the sides.
  • The responsibility senior management has to retrain employees in order to stay competitive, and how Unilever has done so by pairing junior and senior employees to create a diverse mentorship platform.
  • Advice on how to pitch a multi-year digital transformation to a skeptical management team or board

Mike Volpi, General Partner at Index Ventures

In this interview, Peter High speaks with Mike Volpi, a General Partner at Index Ventures. Among the topics they discuss include:

  • Why autonomous vehicles are beneficial such as creating a safer driving environment and the reduction of traffic and parking lots.
  • Why Mike believes autonomous vehicles are still a few years away, including the immaturity of technology, the integration the technology requires, and the location-specific difficulties.
  • An overview of the legislation and regulation component, and Mike’s view that will be the equivalent of a driver’s license for self-driving cars.
  • How traditional automakers are taking different approaches – including building, buying, and partnering – to develop autonomous capabilities.
  • How legacy organizations are transforming for digital competitiveness, including the need for new technology across all departments as opposed to just IT, and the switch from servers to the cloud.
  • An overview of the wide range of business functions that SaaS solutions are offering, and why first-generation SaaS systems need to evolve to meet evolving customer needs.
  • How open source software has become increasingly popular in companies due to its superior security and ability to avoid vendor lock-in.
  • Mike’s reflection on his time at Cisco, including how his expectation that the internet would take off led him to Cisco, and how he surrounded himself with innovators and risk-takers who embrace transformative changes in the world.
  • Index Ventures’ perspective that when making investments, it is more important to look at the entrepreneur and founding team, as opposed to the specific sector.

Mike Capone, Chief Executive Officer at Qlik

In this interview, Peter High speaks with Mike Capone, Chief Executive Officer of Qlik. Among the topics they discuss include:

  • An overview of Qlik’s, a leading provider of analytics software and visualization analytics, and their focus on the user experience.
  • How Qlik engages their diverse customers, which include end users, department heads, functional areas, and IT.
  • How Qlik solves a larger problem than their competitors by focusing on the entire data platform as opposed to just end-user analytics.
  • How the complexity of analytics results in a slightly slower transition to a full cloud model, and how Qlik is at the forefront of that transformation.
  • The value Qlik provides its customers by giving them an integrated platform to solve all their analytics needs.
  • How Mike’s experience as a former CIO allows him to better understand the product and persona Qlik is selling as well as empathize with the customer’s difficult task of dealing with a heterogeneous vendor environment.
  • Mike’s decision to hold a variety of different experiences in his 26 years at ADP as opposed to holding the same title at multiple firms.
  • Advice to CIO’s looking to advance beyond the CIO role such as ignoring those who say it is not possible, leveraging your network, and having the willingness to take unique experiences that force you out of your comfort zone.
  • Qlik’s free data literacy program, and the company’s social responsibility to increase data literacy around the world.

Bill Murphy, Chief Technology Officer at Blackstone

In this interview, Peter High speaks with Bill Murphy, Chief Technology Officer at Blackstone. Among the topics they discuss include:

  • Blackstone’s IT strategy, which focuses on the coordination of many small use cases across an extremely broad spectrum versus
  • Blackstone’s focus on optimizing their business to ensure that all professionals have a secure and stable set of applications and the tools needed to be as efficient as possible in driving productivity.
  • How larger companies have been overtaken by startups by failing to update their legacy technology, and how Blackstone has worked tirelessly to ensure that the innovation-preventing technical debt does not accumulate.
  • How the CTO role has evolved, and its current focus on integration solutions.
  • Why companies need to embrace and dream ahead with technology, how the CIO and CTO roles vary in difficulty based on the CEO’s approach to innovation, and the difficulty across all companies to find the necessary talent to innovate.
  • Sapient’s culture of teamwork and collaboration, his role at Capital IQ focused on what their customers were being delivered, and Blackstone’s long-term view of investing, which originally drew Bill’s interest.
  • Google, Microsoft, and Amazon’s innovation in a space that all companies can take advantage of.
  • An eye on the trends: The cloud, Machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence [AI]

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