How does the year 2016 look for the CIO? With new disruptive technologies such as mobility, big data, and cloud are mainstream, what new technologies will the CIO bank upon? What are the CIO’s key wants and spending plans? What do they plan on doing differently to take advantage of all the new opportunities on the horizon?
Kevin Burns, Chief Information Officer, City of Miami
Walter Weir, CIO, The University of Nebraska
Sanjog: Today’s topic is 2016’s CIO agenda. And our guests for the show are Kevin Burns, who is the Chief Information Officer for City of Miami and, Walter Weir, the CIO of University of Nebraska.
Sanjog: This is the time of the year when we definitely want to look ahead as well as backwards to see what is going to come up in 2016 and what is it that on what you’ve learned in 2016. We are still a couple of days away from New Years. So that said, the question that I would like to pose first to you Walter, is when we are looking at what happened in 2015, quite a few disruptions we saw, of course, other disruptive technologies were always there. We talked about mobility, big data, cloud and now internet of things. I’m not sure of that’s actually relevant to the education sector such as higher-ed. But then otherwise, we see it is going to have a lot of impact across the board. So what have we learned from the 2015 journey and what are we going to do to new and different? What resolutions and initiatives are we going to kick off in the next year – is what we would like to get some input on from you. So Walter, how has your journey been?
Walter: Well, it’s been exciting. It’s also been very busy. We’ve had a very good year last year at the university. We have a new president who just started in April. And he is a real go-getter. We’re very happy he’s there. He’s looking at the transformational changes we need to make in the area of technology. And specifically, we have four campuses although, I support seven of them. I also support three state colleges at the university. And we’re trying to find ways to operate in a more common fashion if you will from an administrative computing perspective. We do have two major ERPS. We’re trying to maximize the use of those, do more in concert with each other, more uniformity if you will across the business landscape. We will be looking at a lot of process re-engineering, as we go forward into the next year.
Sanjog: Now, Kevin, in your world, which is of course, dealing with government and the changes that we see across the country as well as in your city or in our state. I’m sure there’s a lot that may have happened, what’s your hindsight is 20/20?
Kevin: Well again, we too were extremely busy this past year. One of the things that we’ve been very constrained with is resource personnel over the last four or five years so. We’ve had a huge concentrated effort in bringing more personnel on board. And also we’ve been tasked to always perform at a higher level and put more applications out for our business units even though we’ve been constrained with those resources. So primarily we’ve been focusing on a lot on eliminating some of the silo systems architecture that we’ve had in place over years as we’ve transformed our mainframes. And we’re looking at more enterprise systems that we can take more advantage of. But we do have those niche systems that we really can’t get rid of yet. We’re looking at methods of integrating those systems into the enterprise solutions. Transparency has been a huge effort that we’ve put forth in putting much of our data, making it available to the public so they can look at it, slice and dice, and do what they want with it and come back, ask our administrators and our city official’s questions about that data. Mobility has also been a huge push this past year and will be in the future. More and more of our business units are learning in finding out how effective GIS solutions can be for them. So that’s another area where we’re pushing heavily. Crowd-sourcing, business intelligence and metrics: these are all areas that we’ve really been concentrating on in the past year and will continue to do so next year.
Sanjog: So Walter, while we have a number of things which we can call as same old-same old and we try to incrementally improve them and that’s part of the job. What’s exciting, what’s new and exciting that you’re looking forward to?
Walter: We’ve embarked on a new way of doing business at the university. It is about being much more collaborative and the way we worked together, the president has asked the question of me, he says well why do we do the same thing, four campuses, four different ways, we need to eliminate that kind of thinking and move into a more singular approach for a lot of these issues, not only from a reducing of the complexity issue but by reducing the complexity, we also reduce the cost and we can provide more services. We’re in a very competitive market in higher education. The number of graduating students from high school is decreasing if we look at the overall statistics. So we have to be competitive. We have to be out there thinking as far in advance as we can. We’re very much involved with analytics, real-time analytics, tying analytics with social media, in an effort to help and retention number one, we want our students to graduate more of them on a four year basis than before we want to identify students who might be running into problems and getting them helpless as soon as we can. We also want to do things with regards to enrollment management and recruiting. And so we’re doing an awful lot of work in the CRM space as a vehicle to make sure we’ve got the right people in the right programs with the right assistance. So those are some of the exciting things we’ve been working on and will continue to work on in the upcoming year.
And if I may just one other thing that really supersedes almost everything we do in that security. Security has become an absolute and essential fact of what I do every day. We’ve looked at, and created a university-wide Security Council. I’m looking at building the security operations center, tied in with research and tied in with actual degree programs. So that we can produce kids who understand security and can work with us to prevent a lot of the various things that are happening out there.
Sanjog: So coming to the digital transformation, that’s a big thing many organizations are looking at. So Kevin, even though you may be a city and, yes, you have to work with the citizens and government at the other end. I’m sure, you’re also seeing some— like a wave which would include other components, plus the internet of things, as a city would be wanting to embrace and create a better scalable– what you can say infrastructure which can accommodate more and more people then secondly other benefits that it can bring about to the citizen so. If you were to kind of a ‘Digital City’ what is happening on that front in your domain?
Kevin: That’s a great question. And yes, you are correct. We are becoming and pushing to become more digital, and take on digital transformation. I was very fortunate this past year to have been selected as one of four delegates from the US to attend the first International Smart Cities conference in China. And there were about 200 delegates from around the globe. We looked at many things that are internet of things and all of the capabilities that not only provide but also challenges us, of how we are exponentially growing in the amount of data that we’re capturing, and also the amount of capabilities that we’re providing. One of the things that I looked at is that they have smart trash cans that are solar-powered and they have motion sensors. So when you come up and walk up to it, it will open the door to allow putting either your trash or your recycle in. They have scales inside so they know how much weight they have in them. They are geo-coded so that the solid waste department knows where each and every one of them is. It sends them a signal when they’re 90 percent full or at some level of being full. The solid waste department is using that, data tracking it on a map and making smart pickups instead of the traditional trash route. They’re making smart pickups so they’re saving on fuel and energy, saving on the wear and tear on the trucks.
We’re also looking at all of the sensors that our vehicles have in them. If it’s a fire truck or if it’s a solid waste truck or a dump truck in our public works department, we’re putting sensors and using them to sensors to start tracking more and more metrics and data on those vehicles. So that we can put in better preventive measurements and maintenance programs and recycle the apparatus or trucks before they become a mechanical headache such that we can’t afford to keep them on the street anymore. So those are some of the things that that we’re actually doing. We have huge initiatives in the security area as well as you can imagine, Miami is the gateway to South America as well as Central America. Florida has grown to over 20 million residents this past year. It was the largest state to gain new residents in 2015 and was the third most populated state in the union.
So all of those items we have to look at traffic, traffic patterns, traffic light, street light and having smart street lights so that we can turn them on and turn off via motion and, save energy. Because the more and more people in such a small space that we have, we get extremely concentrated in heavy traffic patterns.
Sanjog: Now, what you just mentioned Kevin, of course, these are newer technologies which will help you implement certain changes which are cool. And also it increases some of the capabilities or a bit and the capacity for a city to handle more. Just by deploying that as an end benefit they’re getting, does that really add more to your plate?
Kevin: Yes. Yes, of course. The collected data and storage of that data is growing exponentially. So we have to plan from the pure IT standpoint, all of the infrastructure that supports and houses, in all of these new sensors and all of this new data. We have to deploy or provide solutions for the end user, the business unit that is using that data and the metrics to make smart decisions for their business unit, moving forward.
Sanjog: So Walter, when we are looking at different initiatives and you actually outlined in your response, a number of initiatives that you’re going to go and work on. What type of demands has that placed and what you plan to do in order to meet them because the president of the company can come and give you a directive? But how does the money, support and sponsorship follow?
Walter: That’s one of those, it depends. I want to go back to Kevin. He was talking about his tremendous challenge that he has down there in that large city. We do something similar and when you talk about digital transformation. Our president often talks about the fact that there are about 7.8 billion people in the world today. And within the next 30 years, it’s going to get up around 9.4 billion. So the question becomes how do you feed them and how do you provide them with fresh water. And so we’ve done some work on a different scale than what Kevin is doing. We do RFID tags and we look at all the factors of production, everything from the proper growing of staples, whether it’s crops, feeding of animals or animal management, tracking all of those factors of production from the ground all the way to where the product is consumed and looking at how we can improve that whole delivery system. So we can keep up with the demand for food and fresh water across the entire globe.
We have a number of initiatives, one of which I think which is important, is cold water for food and it’s an institute we have. We’ve been working with people in India, people in South America, literally all over the country and trying to figure out what are we going to do. How can we use technology to help us address some of these issues that are going to be very key as we look at the future of our world.
Also with all of this to get back to, who are the people that can maintain and take care of all of this? It’s not only the researchers but as Kevin pointed out, you’ve got to have a very good network infrastructure, you’ve got to have storage media, you have to be judicious in how you manage all of that, making sure you’re providing the right capabilities to the right researchers, and to the right people. It’s a tremendous challenge and money isn’t always there. So you have to be very inventive in what you do. You have to be very collaborative in what you do. And we have to think of technology in a very transformational way. Because the only way of doing business is not how we’re going to do business in the future and it’s going to bring in cloud providers, but it’s going to bring in stuff that we do on-premise and then, it’s all wrapped around security to make sure that the information is correct and viable.
Sanjog: So Kevin, we’ll take a quick break but when we come back, I’d like to ask you this, where the leaders can of course, wear the hat of a visionary so that they find out ways what’s ahead and then help navigate the organization. And the other is an execution champion who not only just paints a picture but makes it happen in spite of all the different challenges of other budgets or timelines etc. What would be the priority, what hat would the CIO– suppose what is the hat that the CIO should wear in order to be successful in 2016? Please stay tune listeners, we will be right back.[break] [advertisements]
Sanjog: Welcome back. So Kevin, if you were to become successful as a CIO in your role, would you rather be a visionary someone who will say this is what’s going to be ahead in two, three, four years and then this is how it will develop a road map and focus on that or would you not exactly demote yourself but starts focusing more on the execution of what you have because your plate is already full. do you have even the appetite to envision anything more in 2016?
Kevin: That’s a great question. I think that I have to wear that hat and I have to cut it in half and then so each half together. Because I think as a CIO, you have to be a visionary. You have to look forward into the future to try to determine the strategies that you’re going to play and how you’re going to be a strategic partner with your business units because they’re moving at the speed of light, and we’re moving at the speed of light. And we’re not always moving in the same direction at that speed. So we need to try to be that visionary to try to bring both the business units and us into, at least the same quadrant. But also, there are times where you really have to roll up your sleeves and become that person that is leading the charge and take on that role for your team. Because there are certain projects or certain initiatives that may be going on where maybe you’re more of the expert. I mean, I’ve got 14 years here at the City of Miami and I’ve held every role in the IT Department. I’ve done each and every function that anybody on my team has done. And sometimes, they look to me for specific technical insights or information or just want to talk things out to see if they’re going in the right direction. So I think it’s really hard to say, you can be one or the other. But there are certain times where you have to be one. And then I think there are certain times you have to be that secondary person who is actually rolling up their sleeves and helping to get things done. But certainly in the big picture, you’ve got to try to balance both roles as best you can.
Walter: I agree with Kevin his cut that hat in half. And I do think that we play a role in both areas, both visionary and in the execution part. It’s a little bit easier to be a visionary, it’s a little bit more difficult to be the person who makes sure that the work gets done and it gets done properly. And for us at the university, we do spend a lot of time in the area of project management, portfolio management and managing our resources as best we can but I think it’s a two hat issue.
Kevin: If I may step in and kind of add on to that. As a visionary and the operations person, we really and especially in my role in the city, we’ve had a lot of turnover recently in retirement and things of that nature. I’m also an educator because I am in the process of educating those new directors or assistant directors or administrators in what the functionality of the IT department is and how IT needs to be an enabler to their business unit and be a strong business partner to them. In the past, it may have been that IT drove their processes or the way that they did their business, is changing. As we talked about very early in the show that everything is changing at breakneck speed and it’s changing daily. So we really have to be a stronger partner to business and help business units become more successful.
Walter: And I agree with Kevin. You need to have a seat at the table to help. I am fortunate enough at the university that I report to the president and I sit at the table. So I get involved with a lot of discussions, planning from an institutional perspective. I think it’s important that the CIOs of the future do get a seat at the table, so they can actually be there at the beginning of the conversation when some of these ideas are being formulated.
Sanjog: When we are looking at all of this, where do you see your team because one is that you have to wear a hat of, as you said Kevin, a person who is visionary and also the execution champion. What kind of changes would you like to make, not just in terms of number or type of people, but in terms of the overall mindset, for them to be ready for what’s coming ahead? Because I’m sure the disruption is happening and this whole cycle started a couple of years ago. But there are many more things that are changing at a pace which is sometimes unnerving. So maybe Walter, I come back to you first and ask you this question about what do you think should be the capability off your team that you would believe is adequate to be able to run your ship effectively in 2016?
Walter: Well, I think one of the important things is the ability to communicate. I often tell the joke: what’s the difference between an introverted programmer and an extroverted programmer? The extroverted programmer stares at your shoes. So we’ve got to get our technical staff to be communicative in terms of discussing their issues, what their concerns are and, how they can help and be an active participant in the discussion. One of the things we’ve done here at the university is we have a leadership program. It fluctuates between four and eight people every year through a rather rigorous six month training program where they go out to each of the campuses, they get to learn who all the other players are at the university that are involved, either with utilizing what they develop or being associated with it. So, to me communication skills I think are critical as we grow the staff. I also do something called a Skills Inventory. I track every skill that my people have. I manage that against the work coming in so that the right people are assigned to the right projects with the right skill sets. I also know who’s on the bench in terms of the second team and third team. So if one of the first team players is overtaxed or over- resourced, I can bring in another player and not lose any step in getting the work done.
Sanjog: So in your case Kevin, are you fundamentally rethinking your – what I would rather say here is – a capability a workforce capability in order to be able to do your job because I’m sure, technologies are changing, the scale and scope and complexity is changing and, you cannot have the same bodies, internal or external, do the same.
Kevin: Yeah, we’ve run into that in just not too long ago because we did come from a mainframe environment. So we had a lot of people that were using those older skills COBOL and things of that nature, from a mainframe environment. And now we’re making a transformation in our department to newest technologies using crowd sourcing and mobile application development which are very new to us at the city level. So my team needs to be extremely agile. They need to be more business focused than necessarily, code focused. They can talk to business departments and get those requirements from them if we’re going to build an application. So that we can try to determine the best method to build that application to provide them with all of the functionality that they’re looking for. We also have to be extremely configurable because in today’s world, we’re changing so fast, we have to build that configuration. So, our new talent and not only that, but we’re already starting to deal with the ,millennials who are not necessarily focused on long-term employment objectives, but two to three years might be the maximum time that they’re looking for. And we’re a traditional IP shop if you will, with most of the people especially in government who are looking for some stability maybe, some benefits and things of that nature while millennials from what I’ve seen, are kind of short term focused. So we also have to take that into consideration in our hiring practice, in the skill sets that we’re looking for, and in the culture. Here in Miami, we do have a very unique culture. We’re diversified in our population. And so we have to take all of those things into consideration when we’re looking at personnel and try to make the right fit that hopefully we can entertain them into staying on for a longer period.
Sanjog: When is to talk about capability in terms of the real force, another is the culture, you could put the best people in the room or in a company but there still may not collectively deliver. To the vision and to the objectives that have been laid out by the leadership. So Water, if you were to define the culture which would best work across organizations in 2016, what would be the tenets?
Walter: That’s a good question. There’s a tremendous loyalty here to the not only to the university but to the state. I have people that are here 35, 40 years fellow who is just retiring this year has been here for 40 years and I mean there’s a lot of displace and there’s a work ethic at in Nebraska that I’ve never seen any place else that I’ve been. They love this place and as a consequence, they will work whatever it takes to get it done. When I was in New York, I was the CIO at Fordham University in New York and if I wanted somebody to work overtime, we would say, “pay me.” That was the first thing that came out of their mouth, pay me. I get to Nebraska, they say, “can I help you? Or can you give me a pager or a cell phone in case you need me?” These were two different work ethics that I saw at two different locations.
And then there’s a real dedication. A lot of our staff have been previous students. They started as student workers, worked their way up, became interns, and were eventually hired on. We have one of the lowest I think, the lowest unemployment rate in the entire country right now. We don’t really have an issue with getting people and keeping people here in Nebraska. Which I think really helps us as we go forward because there’s this tremendous amount of institutional history of how things operate and how things work. Now my challenge today is trying to change some of that and Kevin talked about that earlier about getting rid of silo systems. We’ve been doing a lot of work in the area of application rationalization and looking for ways to identify systems that are no longer valuable from the standpoint of providing value for the cost. We are looking at incorporating those requirements into our ERP system. It’s little bit different situation out here in Nebraska.
Sanjog: Now, we are looking at various aspects of a business. I just spoke about the cultural insights. But even when you create the capacity, Kevin, what about the willingness to change because you’re trying to make certain things happen and yes, you can attribute it back to culture but there is some resistance to anything new. How are you planning to handle that from a city government perspective? I mean I’m sure this is not the first time somebody has asked you this question.
Kevin: Yes. This is not the first time, that’s for sure. And I think we all know that everybody is resistant to change in some way shape or form. The good thing, I would say is that in the last about three years or so we’ve had a major turnover in the city administration. And with that they have brought a new light and a willingness to accept more change. And that need for change and that’s being driven from the top down which is a great thing. That’s one thing that that I preach to my team almost every day. If it’s not communication, it’s not customer service. Change is not only here but it’s going to be constant, the only thing constant is change. So we have to embrace that change. We have to be agile so that we can embrace that change. We talk about it a lot and we work with it a lot. A lot of our business units are more resistant to change. And therefore, we have to kind of coddle them a little bit and spend a little more time with them. We also make them at ease with the changes that are taking place and letting them know that their job is not at jeopardy because we’re making a change. Some people feel that technology is replacing jobs. I don’t think it necessarily replaces jobs. But it certainly transitions jobs into new functionality or additional functionality from what someone may have been used to. And what we try to do is embrace that and we normally try to address that from a leadership perspective and say, look, you know we’ve done it and we’re not going to ask you to do anything that we haven’t done. We’ve tested it and it has been successful. Let us hold your hand and let us walk down this path together so that we can both be successful.
Sanjog: Let’s take a quick break, listeners, and we will be right back. And Walter, I’d like to have you also share your thoughts on how do you help an organization to become more willing to change at different levels and also maybe perhaps add to it to say, how to further the relationships that we may have created over the years. What business, what people who are in at leadership level as well as business users. SO What are you doing to help develop that in order for you to get more done with the same people and have a smoother ride in 2016? Please stay tuned listeners, we will be right back.[break] [advertisements]
Sanjog: Welcome back. So Walter, Kevin did mention about the different ways he would have handled how to bring about change or at least have the people become more amenable to change. What’s the secret sauce at your end? Do all people who belong to IT, seem to be getting better at building relationship with the business counterpart?
Walter: Thank you Sanjog. And let me take a stab at that. The word that keeps coming into my head is communication. You literally have to evangelize and we talked about this earlier the visionary aspect of our job. But it also has to be backed up by actually producing and developing the things you said you would produce. One of the things that I think has been successful here is that there we have a lot of committees at the university and, I spend a lot of time attending those kinds of meetings. So whether it’s the academic officers, business leaders and the External Affairs people, I meet with all of them. And so there’s a whole series of uncertainties that I have to deal with on a regular basis and trying to understand what it is they’re trying to do and what they hope to accomplish and figuring how can technology play a role in that. Now from a staff perspective I spend a lot of time talking to my staff, I meet with them regularly and I talk about the vision and what’s happening across the university such that they can participate and provide inputs into making things better. So I think if there’s one key concept that it constantly rings in my head, its communication and collaboration. We try and do events where we invite the business people to come to our shop and see what we’re doing. I take them down through the data center, I show them the kinds of things that we have and that sort of thing. I work very closely with the state, I think I had talked about a commissioner at state level who looks at technology across the entire state and not just at the university. I think sharing all of that with the people that work with you and around you, is very important and it helps set the stage.
Sanjog: Now looking at the delivery platform, how you’re going to work or delivering services across using your own platform that you develop or partner. So Kevin, if you were to think about partnerships at various levels where the city’s partnering with another provider which is non IT or you as a technology or delivery arm which is also partnering with third party providers, how do you envision that partnership approach to morph or improve in order to meet your objectives better in 2016?
Kevin: We have formed some pretty good partnerships with software companies and software development companies as well as some hardware companies. I look at those relationships and just like I look at our internal business relationships. We have to really become strong partners with almost anybody that we engage with for IT initiatives. We need to become more of a strategic partner with them and not be looked as a cost center because our traditional role has been delivery of services, like we talked about. A lot of that is seen as a cost center, like having a boat, it’s that nice thing that’s on the water that you keep throwing money into. And we get a little bit out of it but are we really getting what we’re paying into it out of it. So having very strong relationships and partnerships with any of the companies that we deal with and our internal partners is very important to me. And important to our department because we like to try to form long term relationships. And not just single initiatives because once we have a partner that we can trust and then we can start building long term relationships which are going to make us more efficient, they’re going to start saving us money in the long run and as a government agency, our finances and our budgets are scrutinized extremely carefully by not only the administration but also by all of the constituents.
And when they see a big IT initiative that costs a half a million dollars, they want to know it where each penny goes to, if they can. And we want to be able to provide that information to them and not only that but also showing what the return on that investment happens to be and where we’re going to save money or we’re going to be able to provide them the citizens or the constituents of our elected officials more services that are easier for them to use from their tablet or their phone or from a kiosk that’s located in the city or something of that nature.
Sanjog: Walter, when you spoke about your first response and you actually gave your first response and it had to work security in there. So let’s revisit it. Now, it has been a chronic issue, it has been always discussed, it is on top of people’s mind. What would be new more or different that you would like to see happen in your organization and also what your partners so that you can be a little more confident about this whole security challenge.
Walter: Yes, one of the things we did at the university. Couple years ago, I created a university wide security council and we never did that before. And so I got them all in the room together, I got the lawyers involved, I’ve got the internal auditor involved. I have the business office involved, I’ve got the ERP owners involved, campus CISOs. I hired a university wide CISO. I’ve got all of the security officers, they built a great big matrix for me. They identified all the security tools they had to cover what type of instances, everything from intrusion protection, to antivirus to VPN tools, we took that whole list and created and said, what’s the best product of all of these things so that we all operate with the same tools, in the same way, with the same methodology. We went and hired an outside firm to come in and do a complete audit, using NIST standards of where we were currently. Came up with a work list of things we had to do to fix security at the University. I mean we’re attacked literally thousands of times a day and we only have – they only have to be right once, we have to be right all the time. And so that’s why I mentioned earlier that not only do we have a Security Council that’s been working in identifying policies and procedures and how we’re going to do things. But I got them all involved and that was one of the key things. They all have to have a piece in the game, they all own part of this. And now we’re taking it to the next step, Security Operation Center. I’m working with the state CIO, we are working together on this, I’m working with the educational side of the university. From the standpoint of identifying programs that will teach secure a philosophy if you will. And then sending students from that program into interns. I’ve got working with federal agencies helping us, vendors helping us, trying to be the best we can in the area of security because it is literally– it will eat your lunch if you’re not careful. You get a breach anymore, its reputation management. That is not so even so much the cost that’s your reputation is ruined if you’re viewed as an organization that had a breach.
Sanjog: So Kevin, do you think you are being– I mean of course any state or city government, they are also with IoT especially getting into dues, there’s going to be a bigger and higher security risk. Do you have certain plays in motion which would allow you to continue forward with innovation, with growth, with the newer facilities and functionality getting introduced for the citizen while all along thinking with security as aforethought versus an afterthought or losing your sleep over it?
Kevin: Yes, definitely. We have really stepped up our security game plan over the last couple years as well. We’ve hired additional security personnel. And we planned to hire couple more in the next year or two. So it’s certainly one of the things that’s always on our list. Anonymous has been huge, especially in the governmental arena and space. And trying to hack into our systems. We have 60, 70,000 attempts a day for people trying to do stuff to our systems. So but we also have to think about what is too much and what is enough. Because you can even always lock down way too much and take away the operational efficiencies and the capabilities and especially in an agency like ours where we deal with citizens on a daily basis. We have to really be able to toe that line as to where we need the security and where it’s too much in order to provide excellent services and timely capabilities and things of that nature. So it’s certainly on our forefront of our thoughts and ideas. And we are continuously making adjustments and improvements and not only within the IT team but we’re also pulling in our risk department from the city. We pull in our police department and their capabilities we also use some of our other city agencies that are a little bit more prone, let’s say. And try to do a lot of awareness training as well.
And with that we also do continuous employee workshops and things of that nature around security, not only security in the workplace and around your computer or your workstation, your data and things of that nature. But also we talk a lot about home security. Because we think that if it starts at home then it will resonate out to the workplace and make a more rounded, more secure area.
Sanjog: One is that the role of CIO is multi-faceted and Walter, I’m sure you wear a lot of different hats. But do you think in order for you to do justice to the time that you allocate or the way you split your brain, would you rather have other complimentary roles get created which could mean chief digital officer or chief integration officer, many such officers a roles have been popping up. But in 2016 and beyond do you think is it better to divide and conquer versus trying to be the one man army?
Walter: I tend to agree with you Sanjog. I do think that things are getting to the point that, there literally is too many activities going on to devote a lot of time to any particular one and we’re seeing at the University of the need to really do a lot more in the area of Big Data. And we’ve got years of history of our students and we want to know what’s worked in the past and what hasn’t worked in the past and what’s all that data telling us about our students and the courses that we provide. So I think in the area of chief data officer or something along that line and that makes perfect sense. We do have a position like that now, although, it’s not titled that way. It’s our director of Institutional Research. But I think that whole area is getting elevated in terms of importance. We already have a number of, I will call them Skunkworks teams that are working on, trying all different kinds of new technologies to get, garner the most information we can from the data we have. So I tend to agree with you. We also have a chief technology officer who works at our medical center. Because that whole field is exploding even faster than some of the other areas at the university so I tend to agree with you, I think it’s appropriate.
Sanjog: If you were to take Kevin, your whole ecosystem of partners, employees, your own workers, would you fundamentally rethink or would you think there are some incremental tweaks needed because we’re seeing disruption in the outside marketplace, in the way people have been consuming services or your customers may be demanding what they’re demanding. Any fundamental shifts that you would like to make or what you suggest others also consider?
Kevin: Yeah, I think I mean we have to constantly be looking at those changes and we have to be agile and be ready to make changes. So internally I would say yes, we have to consistently look at, A, our workforce, B, the titles in the responsibilities that we put in the titles of our positions. Because they even the positions responsibilities change, the old days you might have a senior programmer, well, today, that person not necessarily a senior programmer. They may have a totally different job title. Because they’re doing the new technologies that are in the marketplace. And changing technologies. So yeah, I can see– everybody from myself as the CIO, our hats are changing as we talked about throughout the whole show today. They changed consistently and daily. So we have to be able to switch those hats and be very agile and we have huge demands from our citizens and from the constituents on what they want to see and how quickly they want to see things. So even if we are thinking about projects that need to be done internally, certainly our citizens are creating projects for us from the external pressures. And so we have to take those into consideration and be ready willing and able to kind of juggle those projects and make sure that all of them can happen. So definitely I can see big changes and constant changes.
Sanjog: 30 seconds and say ten words or less or three words. Walter, that you would like to share for the CIOs who maybe listening or the people who are in a leadership position that they should bear in mind as they go into 2016, which would help them become most successful?
Walter: The best way I can do that is to say you have to let the business unit or the unit you’re supporting when, they have to be perceived as the winners, you are the support organization. You’re helping them. And so always keep them in the forefront, make it their project and you’re helping them achieve their goals. As long as you do that, I think you’ll be successful.
Sanjog: On behalf of the show and our listeners, I would really like to thank you both, Kevin and Walter, for sharing our thoughts on what’s on your mind and what the leader should keep in mind about the 2016 CIO Agenda. Thank you so much.Less