RISE OF THE CIO: How the digital revolution is changing the role and making it a critical part of the C-suite
Chief information officers are no longer just leading teams in charge of back-office tasks like network security. Increasingly, they are spearheading tech overhauls impacting the whole company, from the IT department to human resources. The added responsibilities means CIOs need to be much more visible within organizations and employ new leadership tactics to get buy in from rank-and-file employees. Business Insider is giving readers first-hand insight from CIOs of some of the largest US companies on how they are managing the shifting role. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
No longer are chief information officers regulated to back-office tasks like making sure networks are up and running. Now, they are guiding corporations through sweeping digital overhauls that are impacting every department, from IT to human resources. But with that added responsibility comes the need for tech chiefs to learn new leadership skills and rethink common misconceptions, like how important culture is to the workplace. Business Insider is putting subscribers in the minds of the CIOs leading those efforts to learn what makes them tick and how they're dealing with the changing duties of the role. Turning tech skeptics into evangelists: The 2 skills the CIO of IBM's Red Hat says tech chiefs need to develop right now to combat employee resistance to digital overhauls Turning mistakes into learning lessons: The CIOs of Comcast, Google, VMware, and other corporate giants tell us about their biggest blunders in digital transformation, and how they fixed them Elevating the tech team: The 4 steps CIOs must take to turn any company's IT department into a rock star team nobody takes for granted Turning innovation on its head: The Salesforce CIO who's redefined what innovation means at the $142 billion software giant shares the mindset CEOs should adopt to find success in the digital age The breaking point for digital efforts: CarMax's CIO says culture is more of an impediment than technology for organizations pursuing a digital overhaul. Here's how he managed the shift at the nation's largest used car retailer. Breaking up the boys' club: A CIO who jumped to CEO says future women tech leaders need to take these 2 steps immediately to position themselves for promotions Getting buy-in from employees: Nationwide's CIO on the 2 career tips that should guide any leader overseeing a company's digital overhaul How to earn the top spot: A CIO who made the rare jump to CEO shares the 3 steps ambitious tech leaders should take if they ever want move up the ladder Training engineers to think like end-users: The CIO at $32 billion Autodesk uses Amazon's 'working-backward' approach to solve a persistent problem with tech projects. Here's how it works. Starting off with a bang: Nationwide's CIO on how to succeed in the first 90 days on the job, and why you shouldn't be afraid to make mistakes Priming CIOs for the CEO spot: 'Everything is up for disruption': Why MuleSoft's founder thinks the digital revolution could lead more CIOs to become CEOsSEE ALSO: THE AI PIVOT: How the push to adopt the advanced tech is rippling through corporate America Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: 9 items to avoid buying at Costco
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To manage through the coronavirus pandemic, CIOs are tapping into their most important resource: each other
The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent economic impact will be a key test for companies. And...The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent economic impact will be a key test for companies. And to make it through, chief information officers are relying on one another. While networks among peers in similar positions are not uncommon, CIOs are increasingly tapping into both formal and informal groups to help manage the ever more complex duties of the role. At Cisco, for example, former CIO Guillermo Diaz Jr. helped lead the "CIO Exchange," an annual conference of roughly 120 top tech leaders. Follow all of Business Insider's latest updates on the coronavirus here. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Sign up here to receive updates on all things Innovation Inc. The coronavirus pandemic and the economic fallout from it will be a major test for corporations. To get through the crisis, chief information officers are turning to a powerful resource: each other. It isn't uncommon for those in similar leadership positions to exchange best practices and other advice. But CIO networks are becoming increasingly critical as tech leaders spearhead digital overhauls that are reverberating outside the IT department and touching all aspects of the enterprise — from the supply chain, to legal and human resources. Informal groups and more formal cohorts — some by invitation only — serve as an opportunity for CIOs to bounce ideas off each another, solicit opinions about certain vendors, and highlight both mistakes and success stories to help others pursuing their own overhauls. And now, as businesses navigate new remote-work environments and plan for a potential economic recession as a result of the coronavirus, those networks are serving a new purpose. "Connecting with my peers (other CIOS), we learn mutually about things, even more than we do by reading books," Procter & Gamble CIO Vittorio Cretella told Business Insider. "I speak with my peers all the time, and these days it makes a big difference. The current crisis is one of the subjects we discuss." Among the major gatherings that have helped create such a strong network within the community is the CIO Exchange, which is led by former Cisco CIO and current Kloudspot CEO Guillermo Diaz Jr. The annual conference of roughly 120 top tech leaders proved to be a perfect setting to get tips and other advice to navigate the increasingly complex role. "We all had the same challenges. You're trying to run the aircraft carrier while driving the speedboat," he said. "You have to be driving the agile mindset within the company. You have to be driving the security. It has to be faster and more secure; it's not an either-or. And you have to be a cultural ambassador." Finally getting a 'seat at the table' Unlike other positions in the C-suite, the job description of a CIO can vary widely depending on the organization. Some corporations are continuing to outsource the bulk of their development of new tech to third-party entities. But increasingly, companies are looking to bring that in-house — which is creating entirely new requirements for leaders. And for Red Hat CIO Mike Kelly, it's that increased advocacy of the role technology can play in driving improved performance that is spurring so many conversations. "For the longest time, we were all trying to get that proverbial seat at the table," he said. "CIOs understand the business and they understand the technology, and they understand how the technology can help advance the business. And sometimes we didn't have a good place for those ideas to be heard. That's changed now." Such a shift, however, is not easy. Many digital transformations are failing to produce the desired results. It's why an openness to sharing missteps is so critical. "Mistakes must be seen as opportunities to learn, not failures. And if the ego gets in the way and people don't want to speak about that mistake or what they learned, then you have a problem," said Cretella. Outside of just managing the new demands of the role, CIO groups can also be a key resource for minority groups like women, who are still vastly underrepresented among technology leaders. A group of female CIOs in Silicon Valley, for example, get together for informal dinners once a quarter. "I am in a space where there aren't a lot of females," Ellie Mae CIO Linh Lam said previously. "It's a pretty tight circle." SEE ALSO: 4 metrics all leaders can use to test how prepared they are to deal with any crisis Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: What's inside the Mariana Trench
The CIO of a major health nonprofit explains how its digital transformation helped prepare it for the coronavirus pandemic
Crises like the coronavirus pandemic that are causing economic uncertainty and widespread panic can be a...Crises like the coronavirus pandemic that are causing economic uncertainty and widespread panic can be a major roadblock for tech transformations. But at Providence St. Joseph Health, the outbreak is not just proving why the ongoing IT overhaul is necessary — it's accelerating the pace of innovation. "If we hadn't made the progress we made over the last 12 months on this digital transformation, we would be in severe jeopardy right now," chief information officer B.J. Moore told Business Insider. Follow all of Business Insider's latest updates on the coronavirus here. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Sign up here to receive updates on all things Innovation Inc. Times of crisis like the ongoing coronavirus pandemic can be a major roadblock for investments that companies make on digital transformations. But at Providence St. Joseph Health, a nonprofit healthcare system that operates in seven states, the epidemic is proving why those efforts are so critical. And it's even helping to accelerate the ongoing tech overhaul. "If we hadn't made the progress we made over the last 12 months on this digital transformation, we would be in severe jeopardy right now," chief information officer B.J. Moore told Business Insider. "We've had a couple hundred other pet projects that people insist we continue work on. It's given us the room to shut those down." When Moore came onboard from Microsoft, he embarked on a "back to basics" mission that focused on seven core areas, including a pivot to the cloud from physical data centers and consolidating its electronic health records to one provider. Those initiatives remain ongoing during the coronavirus crisis and employees working on them continue to travel to Providence's 51 hospitals. This is despite other projects falling off and the spread of the disease forcing other firms to prohibit non-essential travel. Like other tech leaders, Moore warned that halting projects could actually be more detrimental in the long term. Instead, he advised others CIOs to use the situation as a way to realign to the overall goals of the transformation. "Use this as an opportunity to create focus on those vital few [projects]," he said. "Use this as an opportunity to shut down the 500 other non-critical activities we are asked to do." 'We're accelerating' The coronavirus outbreak has also given Moore the result he needed to justify to leadership the investments made so far and the need for those to continue. Several of the milestones his team already hit are proving critical in helping the company respond to the pandemic. The adoption of Microsoft Teams, the software giant's workplace chat platform, and other Office 365 productivity tools (along with improvements to the network infrastructure) made it possible for more employees to work remotely. The hospital chain also created an online chatbot that is helping to field many initial questions from potential patients, which is reducing traffic to the hospitals and allowing those with the most urgent cases to get faster access to care. The situation is even quickening the pace of the transformation. "Things that we were going to spread out over the next two to three months, we're accelerating to the next four to six weeks," Moore said. The chatbot, for example, had been in the works for six months. Once the coronavirus started to emerge, it went into production within a week. But like any good CIO, Moore said he wished further progress was made on some initiatives. Ninety percent of the workforce is currently using the Microsoft productivity tools, and Moore is aiming for 100%. The company is also still relying on three different electronic medical record vendors — Epic, Allscripts, and Meditech — and is trying to get that down to one. And Moore is already thinking what tools would be helpful in future crises. Beefier patient datasets, he said, could help Providence better understand the health of the communities they serve and who might be at risk. And tech-enabled monitoring devices in homes could pinpoint individuals with fevers — perhaps even before the subjects are aware. As the coronavirus outbreak continues to reverberate through the global economy, many businesses will have to make tough investment decisions. Moore's results at Providence show why funding for tech projects are so critical, even amid times of crisis.SEE ALSO: How Royal Caribbean is protecting its major digital projects as the coronavirus outbreak deals a blow to the cruise industry Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why bidets are better than buying countless rolls of toilet paper
The 4 steps CIOs must take to turn any company's IT department into a rock star team nobody takes for granted
Incoming tech chiefs often face a litany of challenges, and those hurdles can be exacerbated when...Incoming tech chiefs often face a litany of challenges, and those hurdles can be exacerbated when the company hasn't historically put a focus on IT investments. That's common in the healthcare industry, which has often lagged behind other sectors in modernizing tech platforms. It was a key challenge for Paola Arbour when she became the chief information officer at Tenet Healthcare. The foundation of her plan to turn the IT department into a strategic asset was treating the company and the employees as a customer. To aid in that mission, Arbour created a position that straddles the IT and business units to help ensure coordination between the two teams. Click here for more BI Prime stories. Incoming tech chiefs often face a litany of challenges, from deciding how to modernize legacy IT platforms to figuring out which vendors to work with. Those problems can be exacerbated if the company has been slow to upgrade technology over the years or hasn't historically viewed the IT division as a key aspect of the overall growth strategy. Nowhere is that perhaps more true than in the healthcare industry. The sector is governed by stringent regulations — like patient privacy laws — and for many years IT was often not a focus for the enterprise, making some tech overhauls more difficult. Hospitals and other healthcare providers also tend to operate with smaller profit margins than peers in the other industries, meaning there is less money available for IT investments. Those were all problems Paola Arbour had to deal with when she took the job in 2018 as chief information officer of Tenet Healthcare, an $18 billion hospital chain with locations across the US. The hire was a recognition that Tenet needed someone who could "bring technology to bear into a company that has spent probably too much of its time not appreciating technology the way it needed to," she told Business Insider. Before joining, Arbour spent much of her career in the technology industry. She was a top executive at consulting firm ProV International and cloud computing firm ServiceNow. Arbour also spent over five years at Dell, ultimately serving as vice president of strategic pursuits for the tech giant. Tenet wanted "somebody who actually served CIOs and had knowledge of what it's like on that side," she said. "To actually sit in the chair and drive a culture change around how you treat the internal business organization like a customer." Like other CIOs, Arbour had the difficult task of changing the perception internally of the tech team. She shared the four steps she took to help make sure the IT department became a more central focus within Tenet. Treat the company as a customer Organizations are used to focusing much of their attention on ensuring the best customer interactions possible. That's why it remains a key guiding principle for many digital overhauls. But less attention is paid to the need for the IT department to view the enterprise itself as a customer. Many CIOs are eager to "deliver technology inside their company [but] not really knowing how and not necessarily having a seat at the table" to make it happen, said Arbour. To push the cultural shift internally, Arbour went on a listening tour of the organization to learn the successes and failures of the IT department to date. She then created "client delivery leaders," a position that sits within the various departments in Tenet that helps coordinate needs between the business and the tech teams. "They own the service level, they own the customer experience measurement, the scoring, they also own the financial metrics," said Arbour. As always, however, available funding was a limitation to pushing the major changes Arbour was seeking. She pressed the IT team to employ more automation, streamline organizational structures, and use more software-enabled services to free up capital for various projects — an approach other tech leaders at healthcare providers have also employed. Manage the vendors With the rise of artificial intelligence and other advanced tech, the number of vendors offering services ranging from data management to plug-and-play AI platforms has exploded. That means the CIO has to be even more educated on the needs of the business to ensure they are making proper investments and partnering with the right organizations, something Arbour excelled at given her background in the tech industry. "There's not a company on the planet [where] IT does everything on their own," she said. Know the talent you need Tech talent is in short supply, so knowing the exact positions the IT department needs can help make the hiring challenge less arduous. Arbour knew that a strong cybersecurity team was important, so she elevated the department to sit within the IT sector and poured additional funding into it. "We created a whole different approach in cybersecurity that is very preventative, very predictive," she said. Tenet also previously outsourced a portion of its engineering teams. Arbour took that all in-house and had to hire people to fill those roles. "You've got to shake up the talent, shake up the environment," she said. For those positions and others, Arbour and her team personally wrote the job descriptions to ensure they were attracting the right talent. Stay humble Making such sweeping changes to any team can elicit backlash and brush up against internal resistance. That's one reason why Arbour says it's so important for CIOs to be humble. One way that is easier is if there's buy-in from the top. The executive team told her "have the courage to make the changes that you believe are the right thing to do and we'll support you," Arbour said. "I'm pretty clear on what my seat at the table is and I'm pretty clear on the.guardrails," she added. The key, Arbour said, is "humbling yourself enough to be a servant of the business."SEE ALSO: The 3 most important executive hires all companies need to make in 2020 if they're serious about digital transformation Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Taylor Swift is the world's highest-paid celebrity. Here's how she makes and spends her $360 million.