San Francisco Giants’ CIO Pitches Innovation, by Peter High in CIO Insight Article

April 06, 2015
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Peter High


Excerpt from the Article:

Bill Schlough has been the CIO of the San Francisco Giants since 1999. As an IT executive operating in the Bay area, it is no surprise that the Giants are among the most innovative and tech-savvy teams in baseball. The depth of the use of that technology by the front-office, the players and fans is remarkable, however. As Schlough tells CIO Insight contributor, Peter High, a culture of innovation begins with the Giants’ mission statement, and it imbues everything the team does.

CIO Insight: Congratulations on a third World Series championship for your Giants this decade. What role would you say technology played in the Giants’ success?

Bill Schlough: Well, I’d have to admit that I might be a little bit biased on this topic. But the reality is that innovation has been a fundamental driver, if not the fundamental driver, for our success on and off the field for as long as I’ve been with this franchise. The San Francisco Giants are dedicated to enriching our community through innovation and excellence on and off the field. That’s our mission statement. And technology enables much of this innovation: dynamic ticket pricing, our @Cafe social media hub, free Wi-Fi, contactless payments and Apple Pay, and pitch/hit/player tracking are just a few of the examples. Each and every member of my technology team played a role in ushering in the Golden Age for this franchise, and they each have a ring (or three) to recognize their contributions.

CIO Insight: How do you create a culture that embraces innovation?

Schlough: Well, it helps when it’s one of the most significant words in your organizational mission statement, and a core value for not only your IT division, but the entire company. When you have a budget meeting with the CEO and CFO, and 90% of the meeting is focused on how we can leverage technology to grow the top line as opposed to reducing expenses. When your CEO publicly recognizes the efforts of anyone in the organization, regardless of the department or role, who thinks creatively about how to grow the business. I certainly can’t take credit for creating the Giants’ innovation-friendly culture–that belongs to my boss, Larry Baer. But I certainly look to perpetuate this culture by reinforcing innovation as a core value and recognizing/rewarding innovation whenever I see it, anywhere in our business.

To read the remainder of the article, please visit CIO Insight

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