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One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready

Daniel Charlu

I attended the Computerworld Premier 100 event earlier this month in Tucson, Arizona. This conference brought together over 335 accomplished and distinguished IT professionals ranging from IT directors and CIOs. The individuals were from a wide range of industries such as consumer, energy, finance and pharma and included household names such as CapitalOne, FedEx, IBM, Proctor & Gamble, Toyota and UPS. It was refreshing to see that the mix of IT executive attendees was very diverse both in ethnicity and gender.

One for the Money: One thing was very clear from all the speakers and panelists – business comes first and technology second. In fact, the opening keynote speaker Linda Clement-Jones, SVP Global Business IT, Procter and Gamble, did not even mention technology until the end of her talk. She discussed that in a VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) world the focus needs to be on business first and technology second. Later in a panel discussion titled, “When IT gets to play” Tom Soderstrom, IT CIO of NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, made it very clear that although it was fun to work on technology, it was also important to “follow the money” and make sure the technical investments make economic sense to the organization.

Two for the Show: Daphne Jones, CIO, Hospira, talked about the importance of the CIO having a 3600 degree view of the business, or as she put it, be in the “catbird seat”. In a later talk Justin Honaman, VP, Coca Cola, mentioned that in retail it is very important for IT to have a complete view of the business – from keeping their corporate partner’s information secure, to tracking consumer buying preferences and trends. In a similar vein, Juan Perez, VP of Technology UPS, talked about Supply Chain Analytics and Telematics. UPS uses Telematics to show truck drivers their driving patterns and help improve their driving habits leading to reduced fuel costs. In addition, they use real time optimization tools to improve package flow and vehicle routing, which result in faster delivery times.

Three to Get Ready: In her talk “Lights, camera, transformation” Judy Batenburg, VP, IT Infrastructure and Operations, Starz Entertainment, talked about the importance of being ready with the right people, process and technologies to support a rapidly changing business. She quoted Henry Hartman, “Success is where opportunity meets preparation”.

In the final keynote of the conference, David Zanca, SVP, FedEx discussed that having an IT core that is well engineered and upgraded for transformation allows the company to provide new service offerings and capabilities.

Go VI Go: These three themes – improving business economics, having a 3600 view of the business and having the people, processes and technologies in place – hit home with me because they are very relevant to what we do at VI. Our VirtualWisdom Infrastructure Performance Management (IPM) platform gives IT complete end-to-end, system wide, unbiased, continuous real-time view of the infrastructure. At the same time, VirtualWisdom’s technologies provide proactive insight into the health and performance of the system so that problems can be quickly identified and fixed. These capabilities also help IT management to have the people and processes in place to lower OPEX costs. Further, it reduces cycle times for new applications and optimizes the infrastructure leading to lower CAPEX. VI’s VirtualWisdom helps IT to better align itself with the company’s business by giving an end-to-end view, and providing the technology for obtaining better performance, higher availability and service levels from the IT infrastructure.

I like to extend my congratulations and appreciation to Julia King, Executive Editor, Neil Dhanowa and rest of the Computerworld staff for putting on a very successful, educational and enjoyable event.

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