2020 CIO Summit Recap

February 27, 2020

2020 CIO Summit Recap

Key takeaways from the inaugural SCSIM 2020 CIO Summit

HMG_Nicole_11_01_18.jpgMorning Keynote – Patricia Florissi, VP and Global CTO for Sales, Dell EMC

Patricia gave a fascinating presentation around the Digital Future, across a myriad of topics, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the move towards microservices, and the problems that each create.  It was an extremely dynamic and visual presentation.

Most of the talk centered around the example of autonomous vehicles, such as the amount of data they create, testing, the short-term vs long-term vision and connectivity issues, the update cycles for software on cars, and so much more.  AI is obviously more versatile than just autonomous vehicles and Patricia broke down the typical use cases into operational efficiency, customer experience, revenue expansion.

She also discussed at length monoliths vs. microservices / containers.  She likened microservices to the Dunkirk Evacuation of 1940 where the English rescued 300k solders marooned in northern France.  Had the English used a large warship, given its size, it would be very visible, a large target, and if it went down the losses would be devastating.  Rather, by using small, more agile craft, they slipped through German defenses easily; and if any should go down, the losses would be minor in comparison.  The same is too when considering application resiliency, reliability, scale.

HMG_Nicole_11_01_18.jpgHow to Get Cyber Secure Without Breaking the Bank

Panelists: Dr. Stan Stahl & Cheryl Washington. Moderator: Mike Robkin

Both panelists gave a fantastic summary of how to create an Information Security program. The first point they both emphasized is that “culture eats strategy for breakfast;” that is, you must change the mindset of the teams. Without that shift in thinking, the best laid plans will go awry.

Mike asked the panel: “What should you not do when starting an undertaking such as this?” Cheryl said there are some non-negotiables for the board and C-Suite to consider: Doing nothing is not an option, or why bother. The wait-and-see approach is not acceptable. Stan said you need to follow the best practices by default, such as patching, closing unused network ports, etc. Those best practices are low-hanging fruit and offer tremendous increases right at the start.

Finally, they both agreed that you should not start from scratch. They both pointed to a wealth of existing information and resources: frameworks such as ISE, NIST and ISO offer great information for accelerating activities and implementation.

HMG_Nicole_11_01_18.jpg SCSIM Panel “Giving Back and Getting Back: Leveraging Academia”

Panelists: Allan Lubitz who was a CIO for 20 years, and is now teaching at UCI, Carolyn Stephens from the Beall Innovation Center at UCI, Ron King who is on the faculty at USC, Thomas Phelps, also an adjunct professor at USC. Moderator: Helen Norris – CIO, Chapman University

This panel eschews the belief of “those who cannot, teach.”  On the contrary, they content that good professors and lecturers must command in-depth knowledge of a topic to be able to teach.  Teaching allows them to organize and distill down complex topics into manageable lectures for students.

All the panelists had different reasons for doing it, such as giving back, preserving knowledge, or other noble pursuits.  Some had a more tactical reason – they were not finding quality candidates in their hiring pipelines for a myriad of reasons and said they would proactively teach students the necessary skills to be successful in their industry.

They said that giving lecturers at a university is very different than presentations in the workplace, specifically because students get to rate the professors.  Yes, companies have sites such as Glassdoor, but there is far more public and transparent discourse about professors and classes online.  These faculty had to approach deadlines, presentations, and general dialogue a bit differently.

If you want to give back, teaching a whole course can be very time consuming, so be prepared.  There are other ways you can contribute, such as being a guest lecturer, a facilitator, and more.

HMG_Nicole_11_01_18.jpgQlik - The Art of the Possibility Becoming a Data-Driven Company

Paul Barth, PhD, Managing Director, Enterprise Data Mgmt., Qlik

A concept called the “Digital Quotient” from McKinsey says that the more the company can do with data, the higher their Market Cap; specifically look at 2009’s leaders (ExxonMobile, PetroChina, and Walmart) to 2019’s leaders in Microsoft, Apple, and Google.

Paul gave a talk around how a non-data-driven company today can become data driven.  He envisions top and bottom line improvements can come from data analytics.  The heart of this transformation to making better decisions and improving business performance lies in three core competencies: People - Data Literacy, Process - DataOps (Agile, continuous data delivery at scale), and Technology - Data Fabric (flexible, dynamic data infrastructure for analytics). 

He referenced a study finding that 92% of decision makes believe it is important for staff to be data literate, but less than 20% are data literate. 

In one case study, he looked at a firm that took one team, created data citizens, and started implementing data lakes which improved some processes.  Next step was more intelligence and collaboration around the data, which brought people in disparate parts of the company to the same table together.  Many up and downstream benefits came from looking at data consistently.  A side finding was that 60% of the third-party data they bought was not supplying value! 

Other departments jumped on the bandwagon, until the whole firm bought into it.  Then they moved to other parts of the firm strategy, where they could better understand high-level strategic topics, such as M&A activity.

 Paul did caution that data analysis will need human-machine collaboration for ethical and legal concerns.  For example, zip codes are the best predictor of loan defaults, but it is illegal to use that datapoint.

HMG_Nicole_11_01_18.jpg From C-Suite to the Boardroom

Panel Discussion: Coco Brown, Jessica Denecour, Julie Cullivan, Leon Janks, and Nancy Kim Yun

In the past, boards were about compliance, operations, external views, and governance.  They are changing, shifting to focus on the firm’s strategy and helping inject innovation.  Topics such as Digital Transformation and associated roles have changed so much in 10 years, meaning boards have had to adapt; boards are now looked to have more contemporary skills to keep up with the change of pace of business.

Separately, Institutional Investors used to invest directly in firms, now they invest in Indexes because of the influx of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).  So now, Institutional Investors are working with boards, becoming activist investors, and they too offer new and diverse viewpoints of the firm’s strategy.

Boards really needs to understand what the people in the firm were presenting, and help the employees formulate the strategic plans.  Boards need to understand what to do with the data/assets of the firm, and technology projects need technology coaches to develop their board presentations.

Boards are becoming far more diversity, in gender, experience, and more.  Goldman Sachs not taking new companies without diverse boards - they have found a correlation of board diversity to company performance.  One panelist believed that diversity should not be a legislation (although it will be in CA starting in 2020), that it should just be common sense.  Sometimes boards look for outsiders to that industry, bring fresh perspective.

Boards are getting closer to the staff for the odd cases where they need to pitch relief for succession planning.  The panel’s recommendation is to take opportunities to be part of board committees, do not just wait for invites; ask to even be a fly on the wall.

When wanting to join corporate boards, the recommendation is to use your network, learn what board members do, etc.  Take note of how your current board responds to your presentations, so you are better prepared to sit on the other side.  Interviewing for boards is different than interviewing for executives as private boards do not change often.  Board must identify what their gaps are, then network to find people with those skills, and the panel admits it is a bit of "Dark arts."  (Never know if the person with whom you are networking is thinking about a board seat for someone retiring in 18-24 months; so always be nice!)

HMG_Nicole_11_01_18.jpg How Innovation and Analytics Drive Transformation for the SF Giants
Bill Schlough, CIO, San Francisco Giants

The San Francisco Giants’ mission is: Dedicated to enriching community through innovation and excellence on and off the field.  (Unofficially, they want to win the world series every year!) This mission helps them focus on many areas of the overall team, such as the fans, the business, and the players.

The Giants have truly embraced their mission with many innovations:  they were the first team to launch secondary market for tickets (prior to StubHub), first LEED certified stadium, first to launch Apple Pay, first to have free Wi-Fi for fans, and more.

When considering the fan experience, what they found was that the home viewing experience in the past was better than at the ballpark, because of the announcer and copious replays that are not allowed to be shown in the park itself.  They had to think holistically, everything from the game, seats, food, scoreboard, bathrooms, and connectivity.

But when competing against “the home couch,” the Giants found spikes of mobile traffic around the NBA Finals, the PGA Masters, and during NFL games, so they embraced these concepts and now broadcast other game updates during their game.   Little things like that have made it more comfortable for fans to attend games.

On the business side, they wanted to know “What's the ROI of a Like?”  They were able to see geographically where their fans base is, per zip code.  Found that they have a strong base outside of SF, in Hawaii and some parts of Oregon.  That type of data allows them to maximize advertising, outreach, and more.

Technology is making a huge impact to baseball players, and the Giants have fully embraced this concept.  The game is changing with players hitting more Home Runs last year than ever before, but also having more strikeouts than ever before.  This is because data is helping teams change from conventional thinking, such as having people throw less innings, or the main “Starting” pitcher is not the first to throw, or helping outfielders shift to anticipate where the hitter will put the ball in play.

While these changes may improve a team’s performance, unfortunately, ratings are declining because fans love Home Runs, but not strikeouts.  To counter these declines, the Giants are using the player analytics improve both the team and build fan loyalty.

Ultimately, Bill found that innovation does not always equal short-term success, but it does help the long-term, and the long-term is better.

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Mike-Silverman.jpg    Mike Silverman
 Marketing Committee, SCSIM