The New Imperative: Connect People and Information

Aaron Gette, CIO, The Bay Club Company
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I am not a big fan of the word cloud computing, but the idea of shared resources and services in a pay as you consume model is intrinsic to growth and innovation in every business today. Cloud computing literally opened up the processing power that only enterprises had before, and not just to a young bootstrapping startup, but also to long time brick and mortar businesses that can now realize new revenue opportunities if they are willing to innovate. Tasks and process that took years can be shrunk down into seconds, while the sharing of information can be a deluge, it is imperative to find the pieces that are critical to the business in the noise. Connecting the dots within the organization and fostering a sense of community around the platform is essential.

We are getting smarter and nimbler in our ability to aggregate massive amounts of data, and interpret what is most meaningful. With containers and other hyper converged technologies, we are creating the building blocks needed for businesses to aggregate structured and unstructured data in a way that is becoming more predictive. The challenge is finding enough skilled resources, as many of the public cloud providers have swallowed up the talent to grow their offerings. There is a real opportunity for third parties and consultants to attract the remaining talent that can successfully transaction the enterprise players onto these new platforms quickly and successfully. This requires a culture that embraces digital transformation and a level of collaboration across the business we may have not seen before in terms of breath and depth. It starts with educating those who are consumers of the platform and bringing the possibilities to light. Playing that back in a way to your user base directly enhances their ability to deliver and changes the way your customers perceive your brand.

  The ability to bring people together with open and honest dialogue is what creates the opportunity to innovate 

Communicating is key, as cliché as that may sound. We have to be able to listen, and those leaders in technology who lean on their laurels and try to silence critics or prescribe a solution without understand the problems are severely impacting the business they represent. There has to be clear lines of communication between business groups, fostering a communality that includes technologist who can effectively deliver both a platform and process for change. Owning change management and steering the ship, no matter how large, starts with great community and leaders that are the conduit to the market.

IoT is what sticks out most to me. Based on the DDOS attacks we have seen; it is clear we need to do a better job of securing the consumer IoT products. That said, the future is now in connected homes, cars and work places. The challenge for us at IT leaders it how best to leverage the incredible amount of data it will produce and put it in front of the business leaders to make good data driven decisions.

The best advice I can give is to find great people and surround yourself with people smarter and more motivated than you. I find great personal fulfillment in helping people around me grow into their potential, truly realize what they can do beyond the coding and management of technology. Technology is a more people centric business than it has ever been. We are shaping the way businesses leverage technology, driving revenues and making innovations that define the market place. The new world CIO has to have the ability to dive into areas outside of “keeping the lights on.” All companies, even the GEs and Coca Colas of the world are now technology companies. Consumers and mobility have ushered in an era of tech that we have to not only be aware of, but use it to our advantage to create experiences and engagement that define the business to both internal and external customers.

The spall of systems, even if well integrated can be costly. Driving the business to a less is more mentality is keep to both managing costs and setting yourself up for structured growth.

IoT continues to be a game changer, and although the standards are very much up for grabs, the immediate impact at a relatively low cost is very attractive. You throw in AI and machine learning and the idea of a human needed to manage tasks and or repetitive jobs becomes less likely. I guess that can be scary to some, but the processing power of collaboration when we add in all those elements together becomes undeniable.

The ability to bring people together with open and honest dialogue is what creates the opportunity to innovate. We have to be willing to accept constructive criticism and work together to find ways to improve. Teams become stagnant and an echo chamber, even the most effective ones, if they are not challenged to look at things differently.

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