Category Archives: CIO

Are CIOs Suffering from Technology Presbyopia?

I had the honor of seeing Andre’s presentation in person a couple weeks back at the CIO Executive Summit | Detroit (in Dearborn.)  If you are remotely interested in technology and the increasing speed of innovation, this talk is worth it’s weight in gold – very “TED” esq.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.   http://www.bycios.com/posts/view/id/5116

Abstract:

Every recession of the past few decades has spawned massive restructuring of technology and an abundance of opportunity when the inevitable rebound occurs. Special Olympics International Global CIO André Mendes sees a veritable maelstrom of change sweeping us into the next generation of innovation, with life-changing consequences for people worldwide. In this inspirational keynote, Mendes envisions a near future where culture, business and technology are tightly intertwined and virtually indistinguishable; where societies are forever altered and where technology serves as a guidepost for a “higher level of reality” in the fast-evolving world of the 21st century.

CIOs are Rethinking Their Software Strategies

There’s been a change of thinking among CIOs, a new openness to alternative software models such as Google’s online e-mail and productivity suite. That’s the idea behind this week’s InformationWeek cover story. This rethinking is driven by new capabilities in the cloud, but even more so by the grinding recession of the past year, which made the tradeoffs of online software more palatable.

That opens the door for Google. But Google needs to prove once and for all that it’s deadly serious about enterprise IT business. It’s time for one of the company’s founders, Sergey Brin or Larry Page, to take personal responsibility for the enterprise business. One of these leaders needs to lash his incredible intelligence and creativity and passion and personal credibility inextricably to making Google Enterprise a multi-billion dollar business.

Google can be an effective service provider to businesses without this level of leadership commitment. Or, with it, it could become a strategic partner to businesses, one of the four or five vendors that IT works hand-in-hand to solve entirely new problems. To be that strategic partner, the world’s largest CIOs want to know someone like Brin or Page is right there with them, that his future is tied just as firmly to this effort as the CIO’s.

Click here for the full story.

Detroit CIO Executive Summit Recap

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

Lastly, a couple book recommendations: Why CEOs Fail & What got you here, won’t get you there.

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:

  1. Create a strategic roadmap
  2. Implement a formal change management program (and team)
  3. Adopt (and standardize) an Enterprise Architecture early
  4. Invest time/energy into Value Chain Integration (it works)
  5. Align vision/strategy with business partners
  6. Leverage strategic partners (reduce key vendors where possible)
  7. Manage IT like a business
  8. Talent management is key (yet more about Top-Grading, if you’re not familiar with it, take time to read up!)
  9. Ensure stable operational practices exist
  10. 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/

2009 Detroit CIO Executive Summit

September 10, 2009 | The Ritz-Carlton, Dearborn

The CIO Executive Summit is driven by a Governing Body of leading CIOs who play a vital role in the development of this conference. These CIOs create an agenda that addresses today’s opportunities and challenges faced by their peers, thus delivering on the event promise: “by CIOs, for CIOsSM.”

The CIO Executive Summit also enhances the power and reach of your professional relationships by providing a seat at the table with hundreds of other IT leaders.

Nationally recognized as the most respected IT Leadership conference in North America, the conference is without question, the networking event of the year for CIOs.

Qualifications:

The 2009 Detroit CIO Executive Summit is a private conference designed by CIOs, for CIOs. Attendance is by invitation only. All qualified registrants will be considered and will be granted confirmation based upon qualifications and space availability. Access to the conference is open to individuals that meet the following criteria:

Enterprise Corporations:
  • CIOs, VPs of IT and Direct Reports from $1B+ organizations
  • CIOs & Direct Reports from $500M-$1B organizations
  • CIOs (or equivalent) from $250-$500M organizations
Government, Education and Not-for-Profit Organizations:
  • CIOs (or equivalent) of agencies or organizations with greater than 1,000 employees
Information Technology Corporations:
  • CIOs (or equivalent) from $1B+ organizations

More information can be found here: http://www.bycios.com/event_cio_es/agenda/id/119