Forum on World Class IT - 316 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

John Bowden, Chief Information Officer and Vice President of IT of Lifetime Products

In this interview, John Bowden, Chief Information Officer and Vice President of IT of Lifetime Products, discusses World Class IT principle two, Infrastructure, principle three, Project & Portfolio Management, principle four, IT-Business Partnerships, and principle five, External Partnerships with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • John’s role in the organization and how Lifetime Products keeps technology on the leading edge
  • Lifetime Products’ Global IT team, and the “follow the sun” process they employ
  • How certain portions of marketing report to IT, and the advantages this relationship entails
  • Lifetime Products’ practice of limiting vendors to create a simple, cost effective, and standardized environment
  • Eye on the trends: Mobility and business intelligence, and how the business intelligence environment can be extended to mobile devices so that employees can make quicker decisions from wherever they are

Taso Du Val, Co-Founder & CEO of Toptal

In this interview, Taso Du Val, discusses World Class IT Principle Four, IT & Business Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • Toptal’s mission
  • Finding, screening, and monitoring talent
  • Toptal’s two engagement models: Talent Model and Toptal Projects
  • Taso’s entrepreneurial journey
  • Advantages Toptal has gained by developing their own CRM, ERP, VPM systems
  • Future talent verticals

Michael Blake, Chief Information Officer of Hyatt Hotels Corporation

In this interview, Michael Blake, Chief Information Officer of Hyatt Hotels Corporation, discusses World Class IT principle two, Infrastructure, principle four, IT-Business Partnerships, and principle five, External Partnerships with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • Michael’s role in the organization and his major goals
  • IT’s growing role in the hospitality industry
  • Creating an ecosystem of partners that allows Hyatt to align with leading edge product offerings
  • The shift in skills as a result of forming the ecosystem of partners, with a greater emphasis on business analysis and vendor management
  • Eye on the Trends: Cloud computing and how it can help Hyatt capture economies of scale, despite having fewer properties than their main competitors. Mobility and how it can bring capabilities that ultimately improves the customer experience

Tony Scott, Corporate Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Microsoft

In this interview, Tony Scott, Corporate Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Microsoft, discusses World Class IT principle one, People, principle three, Project & Portfolio Management, and principle four, IT-Business Partnerships with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • The genesis of Microsoft IT’s transformation to align to business processes
  • How IT must go beyond collaboration and digitally connect the organization across business units
  • How Microsoft employs an IT transformation method referred to as “GET”
  • The new skills that need to be promoted as a result of the transformation
  • Eye on the Trends: Cloud computing and how it facilitates the digital process journey Microsoft is undertaking through improved scalability and flexibility

Jim Whitehurst, Chief Executive Officer and President of Red Hat, Inc.

In this interview, Jim Whitehurst, the Chief Executive Officer and President of Red Hat, Inc., 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:

  • How open source enables constituents to contribute and make significant improvements to products
  • How a good deal of innovation in IT comes from users
  • How Red Hat acts as a catalyst of communities, and seeks to influence as opposed to manage
  • The evolving role of the CIO, and how CIOs have more opportunities to see across the business
  • How Red Hat seeks to engage and collaborate with leading edge companies

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