Modernizing Your Tech Stack

Community Blog
Written by Saphara Harrell

MARCH 21, 2024

IT environments need to be simplified and agile, allowing new technology to thrive next to legacy systems. As security threats grow and evolve, so does the need to modernize quickly and efficiently. CIOs and CISOs continue to tackle those challenges, while keeping an eye on tangible outcomes that minimize disruption of productivity.

Recently, our Ohio CIO and CISO communities gathered with their peers for an Inner Circle Dinner at the Cincinnati Reds’ Stadium to network and discuss how to modernize their technology stack. During the networking dinner, community members led small group discussions on the current landscape and challenges to modernization and preparing for the future.

The Governing Body host for the program was Jake Lorz, CISO at Cintas, and helping to facilitate the discussions were Liam Durbin, CIO at Marzetti; Shane Rodabaugh, VP IT Infrastructure at Baptist Health; and Richard Thorp, CTO at Swissport.

As executives explored the question of what it means to be a modern organization, conversations ranged from overreliance on technology to workforce enablement to risk management. Mike Puzen, Head of Central GTM, at ChromeOS, summarized the group’s learnings following dinner and the facilitated discussion.

  • Overreliance on Technology. Executives agreed that it is important to go back to the fundamentals of what each organization needs in order to avoid becoming too reliant on technology. One of the attendees described a scenario in which employees were so reliant on technology they weren’t able to do their jobs when something broke.
  • Risk Management. Executives’ risk tolerance levels have changed since the pandemic, leaving leaders balancing risk, while trying to avoid taking away the productivity of users.
  • Workforce Enablement. Post-pandemic there are many dynamics in play as IT and security leaders try to provide a modern work experience, one participant explained. CIOs and CISOs need to put measures in place that allow employees to securely work from home or in a hybrid environment.
  • Talent and Retention. Liam Durbin, CIO at Marzetti, said that one of the benefits of modernization is that it is easier to recruit talent with a modernized tech stack. Durbin explained that his company surveyed its employees two years ago and found the “great place to work” score had gone up, while the “work is fun” score decreased.

    He said the lower score was attributed to “grunge” or disruptions that make accomplishing day-to-day tasks more difficult. Durbin said that by clearing the disruptions, the score rebounded. “I’m just convinced that IT professionals love their work, and if you give them good tools, they’ll be happier,” Durbin said.

CIOs and CISOs shared after the networking evening that they find value in Inner Circle Dinners because they enable them to build a strong network of peers and collaborate with them in a meaningful way. One executive described this community event this way: “I really like these events and am at the point where I know people at them and have met some of them outside the event on various topics. [They’re] hugely valuable.”

The Ohio community will be meeting again at the Ohio CIO and CISO Executive Summit on May 16. If you are interested in joining a CIO or CISO community, apply here, or if you are already a member, sign in to MyEvanta to find and register for upcoming community gatherings.