by Peter High, published on Forbes
As chief information officer of Microsoft, Jim Dubois has one of the largest CIO roles in the world. A long-time veteran of the company, he held a wide array of positions around the world, and was the company’s chief information security officer prior to being asked to become CIO. When he was promoted, initially it was as the interim-CIO. The company sought candidates externally while giving Dubois a shot at the permanent role. As he notes herein, he did not believe he would get the permanent role, but he chose not to operate as though he was an interim. He charged ahead, focusing on revamping IT’s processes to help the enterprise increase productivity and business velocity. In doing so more readily than even he believed was possible, first he proved to himself that he could be the permanent CIO, and then he proved it to the company.
Dubois operates IT as customer one for Microsoft, leveraging the company’s products and services at scale, providing feedback to colleagues on what works well and what could be improved in the offering, and acting as an advocate for CIO customers of the company.
(To listen to an unabridged audio version of this interview, please visit this link. This is the 24th interview in the CIO’s First 100 Days series. To read past interviews with the CIOs of Intel, AmerisourceBergen, GE, Deutsche Bank, and CVS Caremark among others, please visit this link. To read future interviews in the series, please click the “Follow” link above.)
Peter High: Jim, I thought we would begin with your role. You are the Chief Information Officer of Microsoft. You were promoted into that role. You have been with Microsoft for over 20 years. How did you organize yourself upon receiving the promotion? How much of your vision was one of continuity versus fundamentally new strategies?
Jim Dubois: The whole tech industry is changing at a phenomenal pace right now, and Microsoft obviously needed to do the same to accelerate a lot of what we were doing as a company. That drove the need in IT to change the pace at which we worked. We needed to enable a faster pace within the company.
That was balanced on top of keeping everything going while we set out on this new mission to transform us into a platform and productivity company in a cloud-first, mobile-first world. We had a mission in IT that was “Create tomorrow. Deliver today”. That helped focus the team on what we were doing to enable this new transformation for the company, but also make sure that we continued to keep everything running and continue to execute on all that was happening across the business to begin with.
High: As someone who has been a part of the organization for some time, it was not as though you were joining a new company. I am curious how you prepared for your new role, and what sorts of steps you took as you prepared to ascend to the role of CIO?