A CIO-CDO Partnership

Elana Varon

Elana Varon

Independent Contributor
Elana Varon is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years of experience writing about IT and facilitiating conversations among CIOs. Her coverage of technology, IT-enabled business innovation and the CIO role have been recognized by American Business Media, the American Society of Business Publication Editors and Media Business. As executive editor of CIO magazine from 2006-2011, Elana led a team of writers, editors and designers to produce the industry-leading publication for business and technology executives. You can also find her on Twitter, LinkedIn and at her personal blog, Cochituate Media.

Retailer Staples created two complimentary teams to work on digital business initiatives, Kim S. Nash writes in the Wall Street Journal. One group, headed by CDO Faisal Masud designs customer-facing digital products and the other, headed by CIO Tom Conophy, deploys the technology to deliver them. How have you defined responsibility for digital business initiatives? If your company has a chief digital officer, how do you differentiate that person’s role from the CIO?

How Ready Are You, Really, To Handle an Information Security Breach?

Elana Varon

Elana Varon

Independent Contributor
Elana Varon is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years of experience writing about IT and facilitiating conversations among CIOs. Her coverage of technology, IT-enabled business innovation and the CIO role have been recognized by American Business Media, the American Society of Business Publication Editors and Media Business. As executive editor of CIO magazine from 2006-2011, Elana led a team of writers, editors and designers to produce the industry-leading publication for business and technology executives. You can also find her on Twitter, LinkedIn and at her personal blog, Cochituate Media.

Many organizations surveyed recently by RSA are still struggling with breach readiness. More than half (57%) “miss the critical early step of reviewing and updating their incident response plans, never mind testing and exercising these plans,” writes RSA Chief Trust Officer Dave Martin. But he also sees signs of improvement. What aspects of incident response, threat intelligence, analytical intelligence and content intelligence have been your organization’s biggest challenges? How are you addressing them?

How Do You Keep Up With Emerging Technology?

Elana Varon

Elana Varon

Independent Contributor
Elana Varon is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years of experience writing about IT and facilitiating conversations among CIOs. Her coverage of technology, IT-enabled business innovation and the CIO role have been recognized by American Business Media, the American Society of Business Publication Editors and Media Business. As executive editor of CIO magazine from 2006-2011, Elana led a team of writers, editors and designers to produce the industry-leading publication for business and technology executives. You can also find her on Twitter, LinkedIn and at her personal blog, Cochituate Media.

Researchers at Stanford have developed an aluminum-ion battery that could charge a gadget in a minute and last more than seven times longer than current lithium-ion batteries. The battery isn’t near ready for commercial use. But what might you do when it is? Do you have a process for flagging technology developments that might bear fruit someday? How does a new development make it on to your watch list?

Are Your Third Platform Efforts As Advanced As You Think They Are?

Elana Varon

Elana Varon

Independent Contributor
Elana Varon is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years of experience writing about IT and facilitiating conversations among CIOs. Her coverage of technology, IT-enabled business innovation and the CIO role have been recognized by American Business Media, the American Society of Business Publication Editors and Media Business. As executive editor of CIO magazine from 2006-2011, Elana led a team of writers, editors and designers to produce the industry-leading publication for business and technology executives. You can also find her on Twitter, LinkedIn and at her personal blog, Cochituate Media.

A new IDC study benchmarks companies’ digital transformation efforts, classifying fewer than 25 percent of companies as leaders (14%) or disrupters (8%) in their markets. I supposed it isn’t surprising that so few companies are mastering digital business, but CIOs might find one finding alarming. IT execs are more likely to think they are ahead of their peers in their digital transformation capabilities than other business leaders. What do you think accounts for this disconnect? Is it important to close the gap? What’s the solution?

Using Social Media to Manage Change

Elana Varon

Elana Varon

Independent Contributor
Elana Varon is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years of experience writing about IT and facilitiating conversations among CIOs. Her coverage of technology, IT-enabled business innovation and the CIO role have been recognized by American Business Media, the American Society of Business Publication Editors and Media Business. As executive editor of CIO magazine from 2006-2011, Elana led a team of writers, editors and designers to produce the industry-leading publication for business and technology executives. You can also find her on Twitter, LinkedIn and at her personal blog, Cochituate Media.

McKinsey describes four scenarios in which companies used social technology as a change management tool. In one example, Dutch bank ABN AMRO used social tools to push employees who were part of the same value chain, but in different silos, to share their expertise and come up with ways to operate more efficiently. There’s also some anecdotal evidence that engaging digitally can help managers perform better. “When people reflect on their behavior, they tend to rely on their own often sketchy perceptions and faulty memories,” according to writers Arne Gast and Raul Lansink. “With many digital technologies, however, people can now track their behavioral footprint—for example, by analyzing conversational threads in microblogs and comparing their actual behavior with the leadership style to which they aspire.”

Read the article here. How do you use social technologies to manage change?

Telecom is in Motion Now

John Roese

John Roese

Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at EMC
John Roese is Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at EMC Corporation. He leads the Corporate Office of Technology, which is responsible for defining the company's technology vision and strategy. He is based at EMC’s corporate headquarters in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, United States.

Based on Mobile World Congress (MWC) last month, we are now entering another time when the telecom technology landscape is evolving rapidly. There will be a huge shift to virtualized, agile, software oriented and common building block-based telecom clouds. This shift is at least as big, if not bigger, than any of the prior changes and my bet is that it will also spawn huge indirect IT ecosystem changes over time.

I have been involved in telecom for a few decades and have seen the industry change significantly. It’s hard to predict exactly what the end state will be, but it is both exciting and terrifying in that with these huge changes, lots of status quo perspectives will be challenged and new models will start to emerge. Personally I love this kind of change. In an industry that invests hundreds of billions in capital expenditures alone, change at this scale can be transformational for many more than just the operators themselves.

Here’s my short list of conclusions from this year’s Mobile World Congress:

  • The telecom industry is huge and attracting even more interest and investment than ever.More than 93,000 people attended MWC from over 200 countries. Beyond that, more than 2,100 companies exhibited (including EMC, VMware & Pivotal). Technology disruption happens best at scale and MWC showed that this scale of involvement is expanding rapidly, so we should see plenty of radical and interesting innovation fueling the shift.
  • Almost universally, telecom operators are moving to production. Last year the industry was mostly in evaluation mode, looking for one clear model to adopt. Candidly, it did not exist. What most of the industry has determined is that there are many paths forward and all of them improve operators’ capital expenditures, operating expenditures and opportunity to create and deliver new services. The only wrong answer now is to wait. Over time new technology and new architectures will emerge, but there is now enough technology available with suppliers and partners to assist in implementation that moving forward on any of these paths is now realistic.
  • Having a fast path to deliver new services, value and enter new markets is the motivation to move forward. A necessary step to do this is the deployment of a new class of software oriented virtualized infrastructure. The list of new markets and offerings at MWC was huge and included connected cars, Internet of Things, home security, personalized services, cloud mediation and brokering, collaborative communications, health and wellness, and smart cities. Beyond these new services, most operators see that moving their existing network functions to a new infrastructure will have huge impacts on capital expenditures, operating expenditures and agility. There are no longer debates over impact on current and potential future business opportunities.
  • The infrastructure that will underpin the new services is not universal or consistent. In fact, what we see is that there will be many ways to build out these next generation virtualized, agile, software oriented infrastructures.There is a spectrum of options. On one end are the telecom clouds based on proven architectures of modern enterprise environments at scale. They use what works, including VMware, EMC storage arrays, vBlocks, x86 servers and IP networking. These are the building blocks of the biggest banks, governments and manufacturers in the world and many telecom operators are starting with these tools and moving quickly. At the other end, some operators are exploring technical components that come from the webscale world. The tools used in that environment include container-based virtualization, heavy use of white box hardware and software-based infrastructure tools such as EMC ScaleIO or ViPR.However given the scale and complexity of most operators, the toolkit of choice is a combination of proven infrastructure and new technology. This is not surprising since the workloads on a modern telecom cloud will range from core mission critical to exploratory and experimental. Having a host of tools in the cloud architecture gives the platform the flexibility to support that diversity. As long as the technology results in an agile, software oriented, shared, virtualized cloud, there is no wrong answer.
  • Finally, this next phase of the telecom ecosystem is a huge opportunity for the EMC Federation. We have spent the past decade virtualizing the enterprise world and the impact has been huge. Efficiency in data centers is up dramatically, costs per unit of compute and storage are down dramatically, time to deploy applications is down by orders of magnitude and resiliency and agility are both better than they have ever been in modern IT.In this next phase of telecom (NFV, telco transformation, telco clouds, etc.), the end state is similar even if the technology continues to evolve to better serve specific telecom needs. EMC Federation efforts over the past few years have not just delivered the existing building blocks, but added new hardware capabilities, new infrastructure tools, and higher level technology focused on big data and application development and delivery.Our engagement model with operators is focused on leveraging this massive toolset of modern infrastructure capability plus deep technical expertise to collaborate on building out next generation infrastructures. Our telecom customers are engaged and looking for the kind of deep collaboration EMC does well.

Having seen telecom evolve before, I know it’s always a long journey. However, I am convinced that the industry is now fully in motion and I look forward to the innovation once these next generation telecom infrastructures become available to the world. Overall a very exciting indicator of things to come.

This post was originally shared on EMC Reflections blog. 

Why We Should All be Playing Games at Work

Elana Varon

Elana Varon

Independent Contributor
Elana Varon is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years of experience writing about IT and facilitiating conversations among CIOs. Her coverage of technology, IT-enabled business innovation and the CIO role have been recognized by American Business Media, the American Society of Business Publication Editors and Media Business. As executive editor of CIO magazine from 2006-2011, Elana led a team of writers, editors and designers to produce the industry-leading publication for business and technology executives. You can also find her on Twitter, LinkedIn and at her personal blog, Cochituate Media.

Adding video game elements to learning, productivity tools, health and wellness activities–any task that requires people be motivated–improves performance, writes Kevin Werbach, a professor at the Wharton School, in The Conversation. “Game design techniques can activate our innate desires to recognize patterns, solve puzzles, master challenges, collaborate with others, and be in the drivers’ seat when experiencing the world around us,” Werbach says. “They can also create a safe space for experimentation and learning,”

Is gamification on your agenda when developing new corporate apps? How are you applying game design principles to software?

Is It Time to Measure IT Differently?

Elana Varon

Elana Varon

Independent Contributor
Elana Varon is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years of experience writing about IT and facilitiating conversations among CIOs. Her coverage of technology, IT-enabled business innovation and the CIO role have been recognized by American Business Media, the American Society of Business Publication Editors and Media Business. As executive editor of CIO magazine from 2006-2011, Elana led a team of writers, editors and designers to produce the industry-leading publication for business and technology executives. You can also find her on Twitter, LinkedIn and at her personal blog, Cochituate Media.

Pinpointing the business value of IT isn’t a new endeavor, obviously. But, as Steven Norton writes in the Wall Street Journal, proving the value of IT today means more than reporting on the performance of IT investments. By analyzing business outcomes, IT can identify areas where technology has potential to improve revenues, and build tools to address them.

Intel’s IT group, for example, used information about what made a successful sale to build model that told salespeople which resellers to contact in which order. The project made salespeople more productive and generated $76.2 million last year.

How have you changed the way you measure IT’s contribution?

Why Your Engineers Need the Humanities

Elana Varon

Elana Varon

Independent Contributor
Elana Varon is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years of experience writing about IT and facilitiating conversations among CIOs. Her coverage of technology, IT-enabled business innovation and the CIO role have been recognized by American Business Media, the American Society of Business Publication Editors and Media Business. As executive editor of CIO magazine from 2006-2011, Elana led a team of writers, editors and designers to produce the industry-leading publication for business and technology executives. You can also find her on Twitter, LinkedIn and at her personal blog, Cochituate Media.

Past presidents of four universities weigh in on why every college graduate should be educated in the humanities. The upshot: it’s how we get critical, creative thinkers. People who can, as former University of Wisconsin President Kevin Reilly writes, “write clearly, speak persuasively, analyze data effectively, work in diverse groups, and understand the competitive global knowledge environment.”

When you’re hiring, how do you screen for communication skills? For empathy with customers? For ability to put themselves in the end user’s shoes?

How Do You Get a New CEO Up To Speed On IT?

Elana Varon

Elana Varon

Independent Contributor
Elana Varon is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years of experience writing about IT and facilitiating conversations among CIOs. Her coverage of technology, IT-enabled business innovation and the CIO role have been recognized by American Business Media, the American Society of Business Publication Editors and Media Business. As executive editor of CIO magazine from 2006-2011, Elana led a team of writers, editors and designers to produce the industry-leading publication for business and technology executives. You can also find her on Twitter, LinkedIn and at her personal blog, Cochituate Media.

When a new CEO comes on board, CIOs must be ready to come clean about the state of IT and how it will impact his or her priorities, writes Kim S. Nash in the Wall Street Journal.

What’s your strategy for bringing a new CEO up to speed? Nash says, for example, that creating confidence in how the company manages the risk of cyberthreats is top of mind now. If you’ve been through this process more than once, how have you changed your approach over time?