Future List 2017
The Most Forward-Looking People in IT
We wanted to make a list that wasn’t about titles, industry, or how much a person under an arbitrary age has accomplished. In fact, we wanted a list that was not just about what’s been done by someone, but about the excitement they’re fueling for what lies ahead.
So we culled through lists of CIOs, Digital Officers, and more. We looked for people who are not just bringing their organizations into the software-led present but preparing them to thrive in a technology-based future. While there is no such thing as future-proofing in any industry, there are trends that can be seen, strategies that can be fought for, and bets that can be made. What follows is the first iteration of what we’re calling the Future List, a collection of the most impressive, forward-looking people in Information Technology (IT) across six market sectors.
The smart mobility market has arrived. From self-driving cars to self-diagnosing machines, augmented reality to connected on-board entertainment, auto and airplane manufacturers are looking more like startup accelerators and technology labs with every passing day.
Ted Colbert has driven an impressive innovation and transformation agenda in the aerospace industry. He’s introduced a sophisticated security program at the $96B aerospace and defense giant, Boeing. Colbert says that they are an engineering company by nature, so innovation is everywhere — you don’t have to go to the IT team to find it. And that means ensuring there’s common ground between all of Boeing’s businesses, including the 143,000 employees, major airline programs, and the company’s hundreds of defense programs. Colbert believes the digital transformation strategy will drive productivity, performance, and market share growth as Boeing shifts into its second century of operations.
Zack Hicks is on a mission to create something different at Toyota. A year ago he took the job as the chief executive officer of Toyota Connected, an automotive data-harvesting startup, and it’s about a mile from Toyota’s new North American campus. Part lab, part lair, Hicks had only one mandate from Toyota HQ in Japan — don’t layer on big company processes. He didn’t. With a lean team of 66 people, Hicks, the former EVP of Mobility at Toyota, is now transforming streams of data into actionable intelligence. Hicks is building a global cloud ecosystem and a mobility services platform flexible enough to accommodate services people haven’t even dreamed up yet.
Dr. Martin Hofmann is considered one of the biggest advocates of smart mobility and autonomous cars but also quantum computing. Dr. Hofmann believes quantum computing has a broad range of application possibilities including autonomous driving, artificial intelligence-supported process control, the smart factory, machine learning, and intelligent mobility. Under his direction, Volkswagen initiated the first research project where quantum computing will be applied in traffic flow optimization in Beijing.
Marcy Klevorn may be EVP and President of Mobility at Ford, but off the record, she’s known as Ford’s smart mobility chief. Klevorn is on a mission to accelerate the company’s plans to design, build, grow, and invest in emerging mobility services and her mandate is clear: manage the development of autonomous technology and find a way for Ford to optimize that system.
Startups have come to shake the gates of legacy banking and financial institutions. But all this upheaval also created a thunderclap of innovation by some of the oldest banks and created a new world order for the global banking and the ecosystem surrounding it. The common denominator is the customer’s digital experience.
David Gledhill, CIO of DBS Bank, has been instrumental in driving the bank’s digital transformation agenda which is focused on integrating banking into customers’ lives. The innovation agenda encompasses design thinking, agile methodology, data analytics, fintech partnerships, hackathons, etc. His portfolio also includes responsibility for the operation of the group, which seeks to reimagine customer journeys and the way business is supported so as to make banking simpler and more effortless for customers.
CIO Darryl West says that customer demand for digital services is resulting in massive data growth at HSBC, a 150-year-old bank. In 2014, this amounted to around 56 petabytes of data, which had doubled to around 100 petabytes by 2016. To combat this, West has adopted a cloud-first strategy — using Google Cloud for analytics and machine learning capabilities — to move away from its legacy infrastructure and mainframes, which he believes will help the organization better support customer demands.
The public sector is finding itself caught up in the changing role of IT. From connected cities to machine intelligence, technology is having an impact on how government organizations approach operations and delivery models across functions, organizations, and more importantly, their interactions with the public.
Running one of the most powerful intelligence agencies in the world is no small task. Jeanne Tisinger, former CIO and current Deputy Director of Support for the CIA, says the agency was focused on using data to drive insights and decisions to manage everything from security operations, supply chain management, and real estate acquisition to facilities operations, medical support and human resources. Tisinger is a proponent of the cloud and helped orchestrate the $600M computing cloud with AWS.
Perry van der Weyden is the CIO of Rijkswaterstaat (RWS), the Dutch government agency responsible for managing roads and waterways. Van der Weyden recognizes how data and the cloud can enable his organization to develop new business models and create more value for society as a whole. To unlock his agency’s full potential, van der Weyden is currently transforming RWS towards a completely digital way of working, enabling his team to act in near real-time on feedback provided by assets and citizens.
Stephanie von Friedeburg, World Bank Group CIO and Vice President, Information and Technology Solutions
Stephanie von Friedeburg believes that real digital transformation will help The World Bank’s mission to end poverty and promote shared prosperity globally. Von Friedeburg looked at the digital transformation from the perspective of ‘how do we operate a bank better.’ She created a whole new toolbox of technologies that used tech — like drones and satellites — to help with the World Bank’s mission. Von Friedeburg has replaced a pen and paper survey tracking household incomes country by country, and she’s used geospatial satellite data and drones to map land rights in parts of the world like the Balkans, where war eliminated many property boundaries. Now they use data from the mapping to return the land to those that owned it.
Wilkinson was initially UK Home Office’s chief technology officer in 2015, before her role was expanded the following year after a merger of digital and tech teams. She was responsible for critical IT systems supporting UK borders, including the e-Border successor program and policing which includes designing, developing, and delivering a technology strategy aligned with the department’s overall strategy which also includes the impact of Brexit. Wilkinson has recently moved on to her next challenge — as CEO of NHS Digital, the UK’s national provider of information, data and IT systems for commissioners, analysts, and clinicians in health and social care.
The world of retail has been rapidly changing and at its center is technology. From on-demand shopping to conversational commerce and mobile payments, these CIOs and CTOS are making large-scale digital transformation possible for retail businesses. All their work is aimed to help infer what the customer wants and what can move them from inspiration to purchase.
Kroger is a $108B business, and Chris Hjelm believes that the strategic use of technology is a contributor to top- and bottom-line gains to the enterprise. Hjelm has been the CIO for the past ten years, and in that time he created an R&D development-type lab inside the company, called Kroger IT. The internal “lab” looks into innovations like location technology that will help the company ensure there are enough people are at the cash register before a rush of people need to check-out — keeping the customer experience at the forefront of how they use technology.
Clay Johnson stepped into the newly created position of enterprise chief information officer at Walmart, and is now responsible for their global business services including cybersecurity, information security, back-office technology, and shared services. Johnson leads a global team of more than 5,000 associates and is focused on driving operational efficiencies, lowering costs, and accelerating growth with cloud technologies. In July 2017, Walmart announced a partnership with Google to make hundreds of thousands of items available for voice shopping via Google Assistant, which is considered the first true voice-shopping experience.
As the CTO of Starbucks, Gerri Martin-Flickinger is backing conversation commerce — and no, this doesn’t mean you’ll get to pay for your latte by complementing your barista. Martin-Flickinger believes that giving a consumer the ability to order coffee at home or in their car using smart devices, like Amazon Echo, proves how radically the ways in which consumers are interacting with technology is changing. While young people currently “use one finger and point and click” to order, Martin-Flickinger predicts the next generation “won’t even do that” and will only use their voices instead.
Jane Moran took over as CIO of consumer goods giant Unilever in June 2014, after four years as global CIO at Thomson Reuters. At Unilever, she’s involved with some of the most innovative technology developments in industry — IoT, 3D printing, and a program to fund and work with technology startups. She is also a major supporter of efforts to encourage more women into the field of IT — Computer Weekly readers voted her the most influential woman in UK IT in 2012. At Unilever, Moran is helping to reshape one of the UK’s most prominent companies for the digital world.
Clodagh Moriarty, Director of Online, Sainsbury’s
Clodagh Moriarty has been instrumental in driving a new way to shop at the 130-year-old UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s. Whether it’s having food delivered to your London doorstep in less than an hour, or “click and collect” in 30 minutes, Moriarty is engaging new shoppers while maintaining Sainsbury’s loyal ones. Sainsbury’s is the first supermarket chain in the UK to offer delivery in under one hour. Moriarty says that customers are more demanding about their food shopping and Sainsbury’s aims to give them more flexibility and autonomy around their choices.
The digital strategy at provider organizations in healthcare, medical, and insurance markets continues to be driven by a customer-centric initiative and consumer facing technologies. Machine learning, data science, and IoT are among the new technologies that are playing a major role in this industry’s transformation. The results are hopeful — it could mean better access to actionable intelligence by provider organizations, personalized medicine, and, best of all, healthier people.
Steve Betts runs IT for the largest customer-owned health insurer in the United States (fourth largest in the world). He also operates in an industry that’s constantly shifting because of changes in the federal- or state-level regulations. Betts believes in a transition to a consumer-centric model with IT. That shift has driven many changes fueled by technology, including digital channels but also modernizing their core platforms and enhancing cybersecurity. Betts wants to provide the right information at the right time throughout the customer’s journey, starting with enrollment all the way through to care management and claims.
As both the co-founder and CTO of Israeli-based Vayyar, Chayat is on a mission to bring their see-through-walls 3D sensors to the healthcare industry, starting with mammography. Their 3D sensors use radio waves which can penetrate materials and enhance sensing capabilities underneath or through objects, materials, and liquids. Multi antenna sensors — which up until now were only seen in military radars and radio astronomy — are now small enough to fit your pocket, and enable 3D-vision in order to look into the human body. This 3D sensing tech is currently running in two pilot mammography programs in both Israel and the US. Chayat says they have just started to scratch the surface on where this technology can go.
Europe’s largest biomedical research center opened at the close of 2016, and CIO Allison Davis was tasked with the creation of a state-of-the-art information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure for 1,500 scientists based at the new site at King’s Cross. The Institute is a registered charity that’s responsible for conducting biomedical research into all aspects of human health and disease. Davis’ first order of business was to create ICT that was science driven, flexible, and forward-looking that had the ability to expedite collaboration within and beyond the Institute. Something as simple as the move to multifunction devices and away from personal printing will be a significant change for scientists who traditionally work autonomously in labs.
Kathy McElligott is the CIO and CTO for McKesson, the fifth largest publicly-traded company by revenue in the US with around $189B in revenue. The company sits squarely in the center of the healthcare system — between payers, providers, pharmacists, and end-patients. McKesson runs on a federated model with different technology groups and platforms that must be leveraged across the entire business in the US and Europe. McElligott says the ultimate goal is to make things easier for their customers. To do this, McElligott has created several technology hubs around the country and Europe that each have a tech specialty. For example in Arizona, the company recently built a cybersecurity hub that will utilize local talent to look at emerging tech in cybersecurity that can, in turn, be rolled out across the company.
Dr. Sample has been the CIO at St. Louis-based Express Scripts since 2016 and has been singularly focused on innovative solutions, process improvements and improving productivity. Sample says their industry is seeing a tremendous amount of customer-driven healthcare, and in May 2017, as a result of that trend, the company launched a test website, InsideRx, to give uninsured access to discounted drugs. Sample says the company is experimenting with a variety of public and private cloud technologies to make IT operations more efficient.
The user experience takes center stage as these media and entertainment companies look to cement their role in their customer’s lives. From solar fuel cells in Australia to machine learning for improving customer outcomes, the leaders in these industries are turning to tech that’s invisible to the consumer.
Mammoud El Assir is responsible for the management of all the data centers and cloud strategy for Verizon, the largest wireless company in the US. El Assir has consistently been a catalyst for change at Verizon. His latest change helps Verizon’s business teams focus on delivering outstanding customer experiences through the use of agile development, cloud-native platforms, and DevOps. By moving to the cloud, El Assir was able to reduce Verizon’s data centers from fourteen to eight.
Susan O’Day is a technology guru at one of the most tech-savvy companies in the world. O’Day says Disney has always fostered a culture of technology; she puts a premium on making sure that Disney has the technological infrastructure and know-how to make its magic come to life and tell a story in a better way. O’Day emphasizes partnering with Disney’s business segments and brands, so the technology her team puts in place delivers an engaging consumer experience.
Dan Olley believes that the present is the ideal time for CIOs to invest in machine learning. Olley stands by the strategy that an investment in machine learning will improve customer outcomes and fills a gap in technology — solving complex problems with pattern recognition. His philosophy is that if a CIO takes an information system — call center app, CRM system, etc. — and creates a set of data from that information to teach a machine how to solve a problem, a robust, adaptable system will emerge for the company. Olley and his team have started using machine learning in their commercial products to maintain engagement.
Xavier says his 15-year old daughter was the inspiration for a heightened digitalization strategy at Orange. Xavier focused on the experience his customers have when they interact with Orange and all the points in between. Perret, who left Orange this year, is outspoken on all things digital — including big data transformation, e-care, machine learning, and even film. Recently, Perret co-wrote and published a book (in French) called Help! My Life is Getting Digitized!.
In 2015, Romano made a move that might not seem business-as-usual for a CIO of a telecommunications company — he oversaw the installation and testing of a solar fuel cell system that would create renewable energy for the network if there was be a power outage or shortage. Romano says Telstra is exploring some different types of renewable energy generation and storage solutions he hopes will help the company overcome a significant challenge to running a network: the power supply.
Change is the only constant, so individuals, institutions, and businesses must be Built to Adapt. At Pivotal, we believe change should be expected, embraced, and incorporated continuously through development and innovation, because good software is never finished.
Future List 2017: The Most Forward-Looking People in IT was originally published in Built to Adapt on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.