Forum on World Class IT - 281 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: Product Development

Ken Venner, Chief Information Officer of SpaceX

In this interview, Ken Venner, Chief Information Officer of SpaceX, discusses World Class IT principle four, IT and Business Partnerships, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • The need for business units and IT departments to communicate with and understand each other
  • The strategies he undertook to build a resilient IT workflow structure needed in a lean organization like SpaceX
  • Working with Elon Musk and deriving value and insights from other companies in his portfolio
  • The unique challenge of blue-printing and institutionalizing a CIO office at a dynamic organization like SpaceX
  • Eye on the Trends:Because of security regulations for aerospace companies, SpaceX aims to achieve efficiency and scale by vertically integrating all processes and maintaining full ownership of any solutions developed

Cathy Bessant, Global Technology and Operations Executive of Bank of America

In this interview, Cathy Bessant, Group Technology and Operations executive at Bank of America, the second largest bank holding company in the US by assets, discusses World Class IT principle one, People, principle four, IT & Business Partnership, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • How she manages multiple CIOs and senior IT executives that report to her
  • Reducing spending should not equate to under-spending, which curtails growth
  • The shifting away of focus on deeply technical and engineering backgrounds for IT executives at large corporations
  • The complementary roles of chief marketing officer and IT executives
  • How board work can be a valuable training for executives to rise within their own organizations
  • Eye on the Trends:It is a hard time for the banking industry in general, and firms like BOA will continue to reduce risk, integrate acquisitions, and decrease operating costs through superior IT

Umar Saif, Vice Chancellor of Information Technology University, Pakistan

In this interview, Umar Saif, Vice-Chancellor of Information Technology University in Pakistan, discusses World Class IT principle four, IT-Business Partnerships, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • How he leveraged experiences at Cambridge and MIT to bring back lessons to Pakistan
  • How LUMS first responded to the entrepreneurial ethos that Umar brought to the table
  • Umar’s innovations and projects that have had real social and private sector impact in Pakistan
  • Cultural and logistical constraints faced by tech entrepreneurs in Pakistan, including a murky intellectual property legal space
  • The rise of citizen journalism
  • Eye on the Trends: Fundamental changes occurring in the education and media fields, which create great opportunities for entrepreneurs like Umar in Pakistan

Gene Kim, Entrepreneur and Author of The Phoenix Project

In this interview, Gene Kim, Entrepreneur and Author of The Phoenix Project discusses World Class IT Principle two, Infrastructure, and Principle three, Project and Portfolio Management, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • The concept of DevOps and its impactful presence in tech giants such as Amazon, Netflix, and Etsy
  • The transferability of the DevOps perspective across a wide variety of industries, sectors, and organizational models
  • Characteristics, as noted by Gene, that the best and most impactful leaders managing DevOps tend to have
  • The confluence of changes in technology, people, and processes that has led to the era of DevOps
  • Themes from Gene’s forthcoming book, The DevOps Cookbook
  • Eye on the Trends: Containers as a mechanism for rapid, automated testing by developers

Gopichand Katragadda, CTO of Tata Group

In this interview, Gopichand Katragadda, CTO of Tata Group, discusses World Class IT principle one, People, and principle four, IT & Business Partnerships, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • His role as the within Tata, and his mandate as the first CTO of the organization
  • The ways in which he has pursued the goal of shifting the organization to become one of the 10 most technologically innovative companies in the world
  • The structure he has set between members of his team at the group level and on a company-by-company level
  • Areas of innovation that he has pursued
  • The extent to which he has focused on the Indian market compared to the global market
  • His role at General Electric India’s technology center, and how he has leveraged talent processes in India across the global reach of the company
  • The rise of Indian education and his diverse set of hobbies including film, writing, and music development

Rob Webb, Chief Information Technology Officer of the Etihad Aviation Group

In this interview, Rob Webb, Chief Information Technology Officer of the Etihad Aviation Group, discusses World Class IT principle 1, People, principle 4, IT and Business Partnerships, and principle 5, External Partnerships, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • Leveraging technology platforms across airlines to achieve economies of skill and scale
  • The role of the Chief Information Technology Officer versus the CIO and CTO
  • Implementing a cloud-first approach and mobility solutions
  • Parallels between the hospitality space and the airline industry
  • Investing in people to meet the demand rapid business growth places on IT
  • Enabling safe growth by focusing on better prioritization and program management
  • Using a strategic approach to external partnerships to realize economies of scale and human capital development
  • How Gulf culture encourages investment in leading-edge technologies
  • Eye on the Trends: Integrating data analytics from synthesized loyalty programs and location-based services to improve customer experience and targeted marketing.
  • 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

    Shamim Mohammad, SVP and CIO of CarMax

    In this interview, Shamim Mohammad, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of CarMax, discusses World Class IT Principle One, People, and Principle Four, IT and Business Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include:

    • Online finance and home delivery as examples of digital transformation at CarMax
    • Co-location and product teams
    • Dev Ops’ role in innovation and execution
    • Product teams consist of individuals from across the company and are responsible for business outcomes
    • Open houses to showcase product teams’ work and current projects
    • Recruiting top IT talent for the digital transformation
    • “cloud first, mobile first” strategy
    • Key trends: block chain, machine learning, mobile, cloud

    Lee Congdon, Chief Information Officer of Red Hat

    In this interview, Lee Congdon discusses principles two, Infrastructure, and four, IT & Business Partnerships, of World Class IT with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include

    • Red Hat IT’s priorities for the new fiscal year around business solution delivery, operations and process improvement, technology driven innovation, and capability growth
    • The close partnership IT has with product development as heavy users and beta testers of Red Hat products
    • The necessity of recognizing that IT is ultimately a service organization that should be business driven, and how establishing that culture earns trust from business partners
    • How he has organized his IT team to focus on innovation, most recently around telephony, consumer services, business intelligence, mobile technology, and developing a community support model
    • Eye on the trends:Consumerization of IT, rapid growth of mobile application and device capabilities, Software as a Service (SaaS) as a platform for faster and easier access to new technology, and the tremendous business opportunity for Red Hat in Cloud Computing and utility computing

    Tristan Boutros, COO at The New York Times

    In this interview, Tristan Boutros, COO at The New York Times, discusses WorldClass IT Principle One, People, Principle Three, Project & Portfolio Management and Principle Four, IT and Business Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include

    • Tristan’s role at The New York Times
    • The intersection between technology, product, and design
    • The creation of holistic portfolios and teams
    • Digital transformations internally and in consumer experiences
    • The changes in offered products as digital transformations occur
    • Organizational change in response to changing digital landscapes
    • Industry trends
    • Identifying skill sets for digital transformation
    • Discovery and Experimentation
    • Agile Project Management
    • Global team structure and communication
    • Eye on the trends: process driven leaders, enterprise level agile mindset, data driven insights