Whew! Where to begin? I spent the day out in Dearborn, MI attending a CIO Executive Summit organized by Evanta and the CIO Leadership Network and I must admit, I was very impressed. As the CIO of Billhighway.com I tend to participate in a number of local and national events, conferences, workshops, you name it – but the quality of content today was just superb.
The opening keynote by Ed Ruggero, Former U.S. Army Office, Author and Military Historian re: A Winning Culture: Leadership as Competitive Advantage set the stage for a very productive day. Mr. Ruggero is a great story teller and excellent speaker – making countless comparisons between the military and IT leadership. The CIO Leadership Network will be publishing videos of each presentation soon, and I’ll be sure to post a link once its available.
After a short break, Phillip Bertolini, Deputy County Executive & CIO of Oakland County along with L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive had a unique presentation about the “marriage” between the CEO and CIO, which was very well done. They touched on the typical stages leading up to and into a successful marriage; courting, building trust, communication and partnership. A couple noteworthy highlights:
- CEO Vision + CIO Tools = ROI
- CEO must have some understanding of Technology
- CIO must have some understanding of Business
- To gain the trust of the CEO, the CIO must build and delivery dependable, predictable, repeatable strategic technology solutions
At 11am there were several break out sessions, in which I attended “Achieving Higher Performance in your Current Role and How to Successfully Transition into Your Next Role.” A couple of the takeways I found here were:
- Have executive/leadership presence (this is something I’ve been hearing alot lately)
- Be inspirational, captivate, motivate and lead by example
- Handle touch situations with confidence
- Build Relationships
- Enhance Collaboration
- Integration your Personal Values
At lunch, Andre Mendes, SVP, Strategic Planning & Global CIO of the Special Olympics International gave a talk on Crisis-Driven Innovation: The Ultimate Change Agent, which I found very uplifting. Not only is Mr Mendes extremely intelligent, but a great speaker – very TED esq. touching on a broad spectrum of topics, where we’ve been, where we’re going and the speed of change, often unrealized by industry that’s so closely engaged in the day-to-day business affairs. This will be another great talk to catch online, once it’s available. A few takeaways here, for a CIO’s to-do list:
- Build abstraction layers
- Consolidate – streamline line of business applications, investigate SaaS
- Virtualize – reduce hardware footprint, increase manageability
- Co-locate – ping, power, pipe are commodities, leave this to the pro’s
- Cloud IT – have the applications you want, without any of the headaches
Lastly, Mr. Mendes challenged CIOs to get out of your comfort zone, expose yourself to the unknown and take [managed] risks. Abstract technology, focus on the business. Scalability, availability and security all have their place – in the abstraction layer; don’t let them choke innovation. To me, this means if you’re spending any respectable amount of time here, GET OUT OF THE WEEDS – you, as the CIO are not allowing your business to realize the value of your role. Oh yea, and don’t be a “NO” man, as we get older and more experienced, it’s natural to become complacent – not embracing “change”, however if/when opportunities get presented to improve X, you might be better served by giving it a try.
The day closed out for me with a session about eight simple rules for Survival, by Greg Schwem, president of Comedy with a Byte who was very entertaining, keeping things on the lighter side and some pointing out some (often overlooked) examples of Do’s & Don’ts. Closing keynote was by Kevin Summers, Corporate VP & Global CIO of Whirlpool Corporation who shared some rare insight into the operational aspects of overhauling a nearly 100 year old, multinational organization. His 10 Transformational best-practices were:
- Create a strategic roadmap
- Implement a formal change management program (and team)
- Adopt (and standardize) an Enterprise Architecture early
- Invest time/energy into Value Chain Integration (it works)
- Align vision/strategy with business partners
- Leverage strategic partners (reduce key vendors where possible)
- Manage IT like a business
- Talent management is key (yet more about Top-Grading, if you’re not familiar with it, take time to read up!)
- Ensure stable operational practices exist
- Markets (and opportunities) will return – so be ready!
That about summarizes it, overall GREAT day, packed with invaluable content, excellent speakers and thought-provoking subjects. I literally took pages of notes, but this should suffice for those that couldn’t make it. If you get the opportunity to attend this event next year, or in another city, I highly recommend it! For more information visit: http://www.bycios.com/