By Peter High, published on Forbes
Fletcher Previn is the youngest chief information officer in the history of IBM. He rose to the role in May after having spent 11 years at the company. He sees his role as helping to make his colleagues productive, to attract top talent, to be the digital front-end of the cultural transformation that IBM is ushering in, and to do all of this in a secure manner.
It is a fifth area that may be the source of highest value, however. Previn notes that his department has a role to play in ushering in the cognitive enterprise. This dovetails with the company’s focus on artificial intelligence through its Watson unit, but Previn notes that his team is working on artificial intelligence and machine learning initiatives independently, as well.
Peter High: You have been the Chief Information Officer of IBM since May of this year. How did you find out that you were going to be selected as the CIO of IBM? Likewise, what sort of preparations did you go through before taking on the role?
Fletcher Previn: I had worked in the IT Department at IBM for some time and had supported two previous CIOs in various capacities. One was a kind of Chief of Staff role, and the other was an executive capacity running the workplace and service and back-office functions. I had a pretty good sense of what the job would entail. That allowed me to hit the ground running and have less lead time in terms of getting up to speed and being able to execute our strategy.
High: Once you took the role, to what extent was it a case of continuing with the strategy versus refashioning it in various ways?