In its 2014 Gartner CIO Agenda report, the firm explores IT’s “third generation,” in which the role of IT moves firmly from that of a service provider to a full-on business partner. Working with leading global brands, we have the good fortune to see amazing examples of IT’s evolving role up close and personal every day. It’s incredibly inspiring to be a part of these transformations.
Following are just a few of the bold CIOs out there blazing new trails to help their organizations innovate and compete in new ways. Not all are Equinix customers, but each serves as a great example of what’s possible when you reimagine traditional IT to deliver new business possibilities.
Filippo Passerini, Group President, Global Business Services and CIO, Proctor and Gamble
Buyers of Charmin and Pepto Bismol may be surprised to learn that P&G is a hotbed of IT innovation, leading the way in harnessing social networking to transform customer engagement and product innovation. This past spring P&G developed and deployed a mobile suite of applications providing real-time data and analytics on in-store sales trends, all accessible to sales people before and during sales calls. P&G attributes $8.2 million in increased sales and more than $6 million in company savings to this new real-time visibility. Passerini’s IT philosophy is simple: Understand the business needs first and then look for ways technology can help fulfill them and transform the way business is done.
Rebecca Jacoby, CIO and Senior Vice President, Cisco
Forbes called Cisco’s Rebecca Jacoby a superstar CIO in 2012 and with good reason. With prior experience in operations and manufacturing, Jacoby has helped cultivate a transformative IT culture at Cisco. Among her many accomplishments was the streamlining of Cisco’s complex global supply chain through standardized processes, software upgrades and common best practices. She’s known for her laser-like focus on business requirements and has even been cited as a possible future contender for CEO.
Andrew Wilson, CIO, Accenture
CIO since September 2013, Wilson has already made his mark, helping to transform how Accenture’s HR department hires and retains top talent. Accenture’s HR portal, called Accenture Digital, harnesses digital video to screen and interview prospective employees, and provides access to specialized sites to help new hires get up to speed and collaboration tools to connect them to people and blogs for professional development. Wilson is a firm believer in IT making technology sales pitches to the business, rather than waiting for the business to come to him.
Savio Thattil, CIO and Senior Vice President of Technology, Sephora
Sephora uses technology to transform customer service and merge the instore, online, and mobile experience. As Sephora CIO Savio Thattil told NRF’s Stores Magazine, “Technology and e-commerce were never the company’s top goals. We focus on the brand. Everything else comes with it.” Among Thattil-led innovations, Sephora’s + Pantone Color IQ system uses mobile devices to scan a customer’s skin and suggest a foundation shade. With Skincare IQ, customers can get product recommendations based on their personal skin challenges, so they don’t have to ask sales staff embarrassing questions about their acne or wrinkles. All that customer information is stored in the customer’s beauty profile, accessible both online and in-store. In all, it’s a converged shopping experience that makes Sephora stand out.
Brian Lillie, CIO, Equinix
Brian Lillie is widely recognized as a transformative CIO who has built tremendous business value for Equinix. Lillie was the guiding hand behind the creation of global product portals such as the Equinix Customer Portal, Equinix Marketplace™ Portal, Equinix Ethernet Exchange Portal and the Equinix Internet Exchange Portal. Lillie has also driven major Equinix initiatives in sales force automation, enterprise resource planning, business analytics and acquisition integration. His team has created mobile apps that have engaged customers and expanded Equinix’s Web presence and online business. One example, the IBX Map App, allows customers to tour data centers virtually on their mobile devices. In June Brian was named the Silicon Valley’s CIO of the year by San Francisco Business Times, the Silicon Valley Business Journal and PwC.
These five CIO’s are clearly moving their businesses to the next level and their lessons and successes are worth exploring and celebrating. We’ll be highlighting more CIOs that inspire us over the coming months, so stay tuned!