Influencing Enterprise Outcomes


Voice of the CIO Community

Jason Bressler

EVP, Chief Technology Officer

United Wholesale Mortgage

United Wholesale Mortgage is one of the largest, fastest-growing wholesale lenders in the United States and the #1 wholesale lender in the country.

Liza Massey

Chief Information Officer

Marin County, California

Marin County is located in the northwestern part of the San Francisco Bay Area and has one of the highest incomes per capita among counties in the U.S.

B.J. Moore

Executive VP & CIO

Providence

Providence is a comprehensive healthcare organization with 120,000 employees across 51 hospitals and more than 1,000 clinics.

October 2020

Introduction


Influencing business stakeholders and enterprise outcomes

This year, CIOs have faced steep challenges -- but have also had enormous opportunities. They provided almost instant stability to the workforce and sustained productivity to their organizations during an extended period of crisis. By rising to that challenge under tremendous scrutiny, CIOs have accelerated digital transformation at their companies and created a high profile for themselves and their perspectives on business issues. 

With the rapid pivot to remote work in the spring, the timeline for executing IT projects accelerated, and many organizations saw an immediate and sharp increase in demand for tools and technologies. This increased demand provided an opportunity for CIOs to partner closely with senior leadership while ruthlessly prioritizing strategic initiatives across the organization. More than six months later, how can CIOs leverage this opportunity and continue to influence business stakeholders and outcomes? We asked three CIOs to share their perspectives here.

 

Sustaining the Influence of the CIO: 3 Themes


CIOs from the world’s leading global organizations met virtually over the past six months to discuss technology needs and business continuity amidst the evolving challenges of 2020. While balancing competing needs, they have also shifted their focus to their original objectives for the year -- one of which was influencing a new IT and business paradigm to improve business outcomes. 

Three themes emerged from discussions among CIOs about how to maintain and grow their leadership and influence on the business.

  1. Leadership Influencer

CIOs reflect on their growing influence on the business this past year and discuss the impact on IT’s relationship with the C-suite and with the rest of the organization.

  1. Business Outcome Influencer

As the current economic environment has organizations taking a more value-based approach, IT leaders have shifted their thinking and actions to achieve better business outcomes.

  1. Future Influencer

As CIOs look to the future, they explore how they have positioned their teams to deliver value now and what changes they need to make in the future.

 

1. Leadership Influencer


CIOs are becoming increasingly influential as business leaders, as well as technology leaders. As such, they see opportunities to make an impact on investments and drive growth.

Community Voices

There has never been a better time to be a CIO or CTO in history. Because of the pandemic, those technology teams that adapted and responded the quickest are now leaned on -- not just to support business decisions, but to influence and solution them.

Jason Bressler
Detroit CIO Community

I look at our technology investments through two lenses – outward facing and inward facing. For outward-facing investments, our focus will be on continuing the swift roll out of digital solutions. We do not want to lose the momentum created by these circumstances. We’ve also found that outward facing digital solutions improve internal effectiveness -- a win--win! For internal-facing investments, we must invest in replacing our on-prem, legacy systems. The level of resource consumption to support and maintain these systems is limiting our ability to focus on innovation.

Liza Massey
San Francisco CIO Community

Now more than ever, there is a huge opportunity to align tech investments in support of the customer, or in our case, the patient end-to-end experience.  We need to start with the journey and the experiences. Then, we must enable and work back from there into what technology is needed to make it all happen.

B.J. Moore
Seattle CIO Community

Disruptions to normal business operations have also impacted IT’s relationship with and influence on various business partners.

Community Voices

The recent disruptions have strengthened relationships with our internal business partners, other departments, and our organization’s leadership. We have partnered with many departments to quickly roll out new digital solutions. These partnerships were equal partnerships where everyone at the table had input into decision making and solution delivery. We’ve also worked with State and Federal agencies to share data and resources to respond to the COVID-19 emergency, recent rolling blackouts and power shutdowns, as well as wildfires. My department has been on the front lines providing solutions, including broadcasting town halls, incident command updates, press conferences, etc.

Liza Massey
San Francisco CIO Community

Strong business partnerships help us all to be more resilient and agile, especially in times of crisis. The COVID crisis has put this to the test, and we have seen real benefits from having strong, strategic relationships with partners who have stepped up to help and collaborate to bring innovative solutions in a very short time.

B.J. Moore
Seattle CIO Community

 

2. Business Outcome Influencer


We asked CIOs how IT teams have shifted their thinking and actions to achieve better business outcomes. According to one CIO, the key is to work in parallel on what he called “both innovation and cleanup.”

Community Voices

The business partners are poised to take action on technology platforms and tools they wouldn’t have before because they understand that having access to data now more than ever helps them move at a faster velocity. Our IT teams should work in parallel on executing our IT roadmaps and seize the opportunity for modernization and the cleanup of technical debt. The key is to do both of these in parallel so that both our business partners and our IT teams don’t lose the opportunity or the accountability.

Jason Bressler
Detroit CIO Community

We haven’t really changed our focus on business value. Since we are a governmental agency, we focus on value to our customers – Marin County’s residents and businesses. The current economic environment that is driving budget reductions has narrowed the focus. In keeping with that, my department is updating its Strategic Plan to address priorities, budget optimization and financial management.

Liza Massey
San Francisco CIO Community

For us, there isn’t a shift, but rather a reinforcement of our strategy to ‘Simplify, Modernize, and Innovate.’ The current environment has been a catalyst for accelerated technology adoption, but we need to make sure that we double down on the foundational work of simplifying our ecosystems, reducing complexity, and standardizing across specific platforms and solutions. This is what will allow us to not only optimize current investments, but more importantly, enable our long-term strategic vision.

B.J. Moore
Seattle CIO Community

New dependencies were at times born out of current business needs, and CIOs reflect on meeting new expectations.

Identifying and using low code solutions has allowed work to be transferred to business units, which creates a dependency on their resource availability and talent. So far, it has been very successful. Also, we’re reusing code, such as an API based solution for texting residents who receive specific County services from legacy apps. This approach has led to more dependency on reuse of existing solutions and collaboration among our department’s business solutions teams. Fulfilling new expectations in an emergency environment has been challenging. In response, we’ve quickly shifted resources toward digital solutions and brought in business unit resources to help develop their own solutions with our assistance.

Liza Massey
San Francisco CIO Community

We have seen increased reliance on our basic infrastructure and support services and an accelerated adoption of technology across the board. For us, as a healthcare provider, we see newfound expectations particularly in the areas of Telehealth and remote work. We have been able to successfully meet and exceed expectations on both fronts.

B.J. Moore
Seattle CIO Community

 

3. Future Influencer


The third theme around influencing the business is how IT leaders have positioned themselves now to deliver value and the changes they need to make to set themselves up for success in the future.

As CIOs and CTOs, we now have a true seat at the table to solve problems along with our other key C- level leaders on where business decisions take the company. Typically, IT is looked upon to support decisions, not influence them. Now, we have the opportunity to inject new platforms and solutions to the tech stack to enhance business growth.

Jason Bressler
Detroit CIO Community

With increased respect and better partnerships, IT is now at the table before tech-based solutions are even discussed. We are part of the response and decision-making process more than ever before. I believe this approach will continue even after we are out of emergency response mode. By having employees on the front lines of emergency responses and working closely with employees from other departments to deliver tech solutions, we’ve forged relationships and earned respect that will carry forward into the future. From a technology perspective, we must lower our tech debt, look to hosted solutions, and take other actions that increase resource capacity for innovation.

Liza Massey
San Francisco CIO Community

The COVID crisis has helped illustrate the benefits of a solid technology strategy and implementation. We need to capitalize on the momentum this has generated and continue the course on our ‘Simplify, Modernize, and Innovate’ strategic framework as we work to enable healthcare of the future.

B.J. Moore
Seattle CIO Community

 

Conclusion


CIOs agree that despite the many challenges this year, they are well-positioned in their organizations as drivers of growth with a seat at the leadership table. Technology plans, strategies, and implementations have been accelerated throughout the year, and IT leaders have delivered. 

As one CIO noted, other “non-IT leaders” are accepting IT at the table. The focus has shifted to give priority to technology initiatives first. CIOs challenged peers across the enterprise to reimagine what is possible when technology takes the lead.

Heading into late 2020 and the new year, CIOs are focused on top priorities, empowered by IT’s influence, and positioning themselves and their teams to keep the momentum going.

 

Special thanks to all participating companies.

by CIOs, for CIOs


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