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Successful IT Transformation - A State CIO's Perspective

Matthew O'Keefe
Vice President and Corporate Technologist of Cloud Infrastructure

As technology advances in the era of cloud computing – from chatbots to the dawn of smart sensors – both public and private sector organizations are looking for new ways to better manage their IT assets. Chief Information Officers (CIO) specifically are looking to forge a new role for their IT organizations that is focused on adding customer value, reducing costs and addressing security concerns. The long-term objective is to move away from the more mundane task of operating and maintaining legacy IT systems.

This sentiment was shared by former New York State CIO Margaret Miller, whose 30-year career in IT includes leadership roles in the private and public sectors. Miller was a member of the state’s Governor’s Cabinet responsible for IT services supporting 140,000 state employees. Under her direction, New York created eight new “cluster CIOs” to oversee technology, and consolidated 50 data centers into a new facility in a partnership with the State University of New York.

I recently sat down with Miller, whom I met at an IT conference in Albany, N.Y, where she delivered the keynote address. We discussed the changing role of the CIO in this always-on, never-stand-still business and technology environment. Here are some of her most important strategic imperatives:

  • Serve as the champion of the customer’s digital experience. Working closely with the chief customer officer and/or marketing, IT must create a model of the experience we’d like our customers to have, whether online, by phone, or in person, from the first interaction to purchase to post-purchase support.
  • Demonstrate a deep understanding of, and ability to respond to, rapidly changing business demands. In order to respond to and anticipate change, it’s vital that the CIO be a member of the top executive team, included in all strategic discussions.
  • Drive down legacy IT costs. Savings gained here can free up valuable resources to invest in meeting increasing demand for IT resources.
  • Integrate the increasingly complex web of legacy and new, in-house, and third-party IT services. Integration provides a consistent customer experience while mitigating operational and cyber risk.
  • Ensure that business and government colleagues are well-informed. They should know about cyber and operational risks and should be engaged in decisions regarding mitigation.

In addition to these focus areas, Miller also discussed how modern CIO’s can help their organizations adapt to the digital world, and the importance of finding a balance between prioritizing security with customer privacy.

Read the entire article featured in Forbes BrandVoice: Meet the Modern CIO: Partner not Pedagogue.

Matthew O’Keefe is vice president and corporate technologist of Oracle’s Cloud Infrastructure group.

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