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In a technology and data-driven world, Chief Information Officers are expected to be strategists, communicators,  collaborators, change agents, and visionaries. Amidst the ever-changing technological landscape, they are expected to perform different CIO functions and responsibilities. To be an exceptional CIO, one has to exhibit flexibility, agility and responsiveness amidst the evolving requirements of the role.

MIT Sloan Professor George Westerman says, “There’s never been a better time to be a great CIO and there’s never been a worse time to be an average one.”

Bold Business shines the spotlight on Top Chief Information Officers making a bold impact within their respective companies and in the field of information technology as a whole.

The Top Chief Information Officers Benchmark of Excellence

The Bold Business team combed through a wide range of data to develop our Top Chief Information Officers list. Our research produced a long list as there is a growing number of CIOs stepping up to the challenge of delivering more value and identifying opportunities for the enterprise.  In order to narrow down the list, we made a selection process based on these criteria:

  1. He or she must display bold leadership traits.
  2. He or she must have developed, instituted and deployed enterprise-wide changes that:
  • Introduced operational improvements
  • Won the business a competitive advantage
  • Improved the customer experience
  • Prepared the business for the future
  1. The company he or she belongs to has experienced growth in either revenue, shares, profit from an innovation during their term.
  2. He or she has contributed to the improvement of technology as a means to advance the society.

“You’ve got to make the technology hit the business scene. But you’ve got to be forward enough in your thinking about technology so that you are proactive. Sometimes, you have to be anticipatory about business needs and have a concept of what is going to happen, have a broader perspective than the immediate problem at hand. In that way, if you do solve that problem, you haven’t hemmed yourself in for the future.” – Max Hopper, First CIO of the modern era, CIO of Bank of America, the SVP (IS) of American Airlines (AA) and the chairman of the Sabre group.

Bold Business Lists 20 of the Top Chief information Officers Today

portrait image of Scott Rice

Scott Rice of Sprint believes that businesses should focus on developing the capability to digitally manage customer relationships and use data to better serve the markets. With Scott Rice’s promotion as CIO in 2016, Sprint is going through digital transformation by leveraging Big Data to boost efficiency and improve customer experience. For instance, to answer the needs of a highly-mobile and digital-savvy customer base, Sprint aims to be the first to launch 5G mobile network. The company started with their first nine markets and opened a dedicated immersive center explaining how 5G mobile works.

Richard Williams has been leading Celgene Corporation’s global IT strategy, IT and business shared services. He also leads the data and informatics strategy, scientific and business applications, and analytics. His CIO functions and responsibilities include recognizing the role of IT in achieving business goals. Aligning to the overall business objectives, his projects included a CRM for the sales force and a unified customer/patient engagement. It also included a unified ERP system that streamline their operating process and leverage data for competitive advantage; and a cloud-based data management solution. While Williams has recently moved to consultancy, his past accomplishments warrants a spot in the top chief information officers.

image of Richard Williams
portrait image of Glenn Schneider

Glenn Schneider was appointed as CIO of Discover Financial Services in 2008. Under Schneider’s leadership, Discover has been consistently recognized in the industry as an innovator and a leader in technological excellence. In 2017, he was chosen by Chicagoland as CIO of the year. His dedication in his role as a CIO is evident in his projects that serve both internal and external customers. For instance, the Discover Student Loan Digital Experience was a redesign of their platform to meet the unique needs of their millennial clients. There’s no doubt that Glenn Schneider should be part of the top chief information officers.

Richard “Dick” Daniels has been Kaiser Permanente’s CIO since 2015 but his digital agenda has been clear – highlight the power of patient-centered technology. In 2015, a hospital room technology called Interactive Patient Care was rolled out where patients can see their schedule, know their care team, order food, control the lights and other integrate devices in their rooms. Similarly, under his directions, Kaiser has been recognized to be one of the First adopters of Electronic Health Record. As an advocate thoughtful technology use, Daniels deserve a spot in the roster of top chief information officers.

image of Dick Daniels
portrait image of Linda Jolo

Linda Jojo stint as CIO of United Airlines for three years has been transformative for the company. With increased scope and responsibility, since June 2017, Linda Jojo has been United Airlines’ Executive Vice President of Technology and Chief Digital Officer – in charge both of technology and digital strategy. Lagging behind the digital transformation race, Jojo’s first order of the day is to jumpstart United Airline’s technology portfolio. One of Jojo’s initiatives is called Mobile Agent Project – a devise based platform equipped with host of applications to bring agents from behind their desk. This initiative is designed to help agents to be mobile and readily available to help anywhere in the airport or the airplane.

Shankar Arumugavel’s mantra as the CIO of Verizon is digital transformation “must come from the top”. He further states, “Digital transformation requires a wholesale reinvention of every aspect of your business.” As an agent of change, Arumugavel spearheaded the streamlining and modernizing Verizon’s system. With Arumugavel’s leadership, customer satisfaction is of paramount importance. Projects like Share Everything Plan which allows consumers to share data, minutes and texts to others and integrated Smart device technology that predicts customer needs are solid proof, earning him a place in the top chief information officers.

image of Shankar Arumugavel
portrait image of James Rinaldi

James Rinaldi holds a unique position as the CIO of Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The company is a federally-funded development center focused on planetary and space exploration managed by NASA for California Institute of Technology. James Rinaldi supports a highly sophisticated user-base which includes rocket scientists, professionals with PhDs, and external contractors. Add to that the fact that JPL houses a distinct set of business units. As a CIO supporting missions to Mars and the Deep Space or Directorate in Astrophysics or Robotics, James Rinaldi has a lot happening under his watch. For the last 14 years, Rinaldi has focused on breaking divisive silos, driving data transformation, gaining a seat at the table, and tapping technology to explore the depths of the universe.

Randall Gaboriault has helped Christiana Care Health System earn the title “Most Wired’ Health System” according to the American Hospital Association. The title is well-earned – programs such as Care Link, iRound, eCare virtual ICU, Insight, and eSignout, all shows Christiana Care’s technological footprint. Gaboriault’s mission doesn’t end within the walls of Christiana Care Health System. He’s been actively participating in social causes that use technology to better serve our world. Gaboriault is currently the chair of Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN) and a Board member and treasurer for Tech Impact catapulting him to the list of top chief information officers.

image of Randall Gaboriault
portrait image of Steven Zerby

Steven Zerby of Owens Corning is proof that technology is everywhere. As a leader in insulation, roofing and composite, it is worth noting that Owens Corning spends 3-5% of their revenue to IT in expanding their IT capabilities. One of his notable projects was the Customer Resolution Dashboard that monitors all aspects of customer order in one platform. With Zerby at the helm as Vice President and Chief Information Officer, the company has been consistently receiving accolades such as 100 Best Places to work in IT from 2014-2018 from Computerworld and CIO 100 Awards in 2015, 2016 and 2018.

Michele C D’Alessandro focus as Merck Manufacturing IT’s CIO is strategic leadership and seamless delivery of information technology and digital solutions. The merging of physical world of manufacturing and the virtual world of information technology can be challenging and it’s a challenge that D’Alessandro has enthusiastically seized. With her leadership, a three-year program has been laid for Merck Manufacturing IT Transformation. The supply chain was the first to undergo changes. Integrated end-to-end planning for supply and demand is now done in the cloud-based ERP. Additionally, she is also actively supporting causes encouraging more women in the STEM field.

image of Michele D'Alessandro
portrait image of Adriana Karaboutis

Adriana Karaboutis has been the Chief Information and Digital Officer of National Grid PLC since August of 2017. For the last two years, Karaboutis led the campaign towards the company’s vision to “exceed the expectations of our customers, shareholders and communities today and make possible the energy systems of tomorrow.” Immediately after joining the company, Karaboutis launched the NGDigital Labs – an initiative tasked to develop innovations around AI and big data solutions, virtual reality, and energy trading using Blockchain, to name a few. Through this initiatives, National Grid was elevated from being a traditional “utility company” to a resilient, responsive and agile energy provider. Through these innovations, Karaboutis was recognized as the sole winner in the fifth class of Forbes CIO Innovation Award winners in 2018. With a diverse background from various industries such as health (Biogen), information technology (Dell), and automotive (General Motors and Ford) – Karaboutis makes it to the list of top chief information officers.

Clay Johnson’s fail-fast approach, startup orientation, and people first philosophy has been supercharging Walmart’s technology innovation game. In the recent years, the retail giant has introduced noteworthy tech improvements fueling business growth. As the company’s chief information officer, Johnson has helped the company transform from a brick-and-mortar retail business to an e-commerce enterprise. With a 2.2 million strong workforce, Walmart is empowering its employees with access to technology, data and applications. Additionally, Walmart is tapping on the potentials of robotics, artificial intelligence, and mobile payments to better serve customers. Partnerships with tech giants Microsoft and Google are also underway. While Clay Johnson has already established a name in the industry, his initiatives continue to gain accolades. He was given the CIO of the Year 2018 by Dive Awards. Undeniably, Clay Johnson deserves a spot in the Bold Business list of top chief information officers.

image of Clay Johnson
portrait image of Brian LeClaire

Brian LeClaire has led Humana in all of its Digital Transformation and Digital Pivot Projects. As the company’s CIO, LeClaire aims to focus on technologies and designs that are human-centric. True to this goal, Humana Inc. launched a program called “20 Percent Healthier by 2020”. Humana’s bold goal is to make the communities they serve 20% healthier by year 2020. As part of this initiative, Humana launched CareHub2.0. As a clinical ecosystem, it integrates customer-interfacing clinical technology platform and internal administrative database. Through seamless integration of data, LeClaire was instrumental in achieving improved health outcomes for the communities that the company serves.

Robert B. Carter has been FedEx Corporation’s CIO since the year 2007. With Carter at the helm, FedEx has been receiving accolades year after year for its efforts in advancing technology. Since 2007, FedEx has received seven CIO 100 awards. As a C-level executive, Carter has been named FORTUNE magazine’s Executive Dream team and a CIO Hall of Fame Inductee in 2007. FedEx has been allotting enormous amount of resources in information and communication technology. To date, Carter has spearheaded various enterprise-wide IT programs aimed at enhancing customer experience such as FedEx Onsite Project, FedEx Delivery Manager and FedEx Web Services. Similarly, technology has played a critical role in automating complex operations of aircraft maintenance, engineering and material management – all critical processes for the largest logistics enterprise in the world.

image of Robert B. Carter
portrait image of Andrew Wilson

Andrew Wilson of Accenture is looking to innovate for the individual. He believes that the consumerization of IT is pushing the business to place people – the users, at the center of their digital agenda. As the CIO of Accenture, Andrew Wilson spearheaded various projects aligned with this digital agenda. Within just six years as CIO, Wilson introduced enterprise-wide projects such as high-quality video conferencing, interactive high-definition life-sized video, internal proprietary telepresence, Cloudification of services and solutions, Digital HR Portal, and Talent Hub. Undoubtedly, Wilson deserves a spot among the ranks of top chief information officers.

Easwaran Sundaram is currently the Executive VP and Chief Digital & Technology Officer of JetBlue Airways Corporation. Sundaram is well-reputed because of his experience in global technology for two decades. He also has experience across the transportation, healthcare and biotechnology industries. Sundaram has been known for his innovations in the customer service field. Under Sundaram’s leadership, JetBlue is the first airline to introduce satellite based WiFi and automatic check-in within 24 hours of the flight. Recently, the airline launched an Apple Watch application that allows customers to get real-time flight updates, obtain mobile boarding pass and do in-flight shopping. For JetBlue Airways, things are getting to be more exciting. With the recently launched subsidiary, JetBlue Technology Ventures, the company will soon start working on more IT projects around Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, big data, predictive analytics, virtual reality, and machine-learning.

image of Easwaran Sundaram
portrait image of Paula Tolliver

Paula Tolliver proven track record for driving revenue growth places her among the top chief information officers. Tolliver is the perfect match for Intel’s transformation journey. She played a major role in the company’s move to be a more data-centric and customer-focused technology company. Tolliver joining Intel was a certainly a significant and fruitful move. Under her leadership, Intel was able to add $500M new revenue by implementing Digital Transformation Initiatives. With the current shifts in technology, Intel is going through huge growth spurts. Some of the technologies that were implemented under Tolliver’s leadership are automation and predictive analytics, machine learning, and the use of data analytics for sales and marketing.

Carol Zierhoffer makes it to the top 20 list of top chief information officers. Carol Zierhoffer came to Bechtel in 2013 at the time when Bechtel was lagging behind in technological innovation. Big data and analytics was Zierhoffer’s answer to multiple data silos and lack of systems to mine data from historical and current projects. In 2017, she launched the Big Data and Analytics Center of Excellence to transform operations and address competitions in the Constructions and Engineering field. Under Zierhoffer’s leadership, Bechtel used RPA (Robotic Process Automation) to bridge gaps between various departments and improve internal processes.

image of Carol Zierhoffer
portrait image of Carol Juel

Carol Juel of Synchrony Financial is looking to build the company’s artificial intelligence and mobile technology business segment. As consumers’ spending habits change and more people are harnessing the power of virtual payment, Juel wants Synchrony to be there for their customers. Similarly, Juel is keen on working with leaders in mobile technology and retail business to drive sales. The industry has been recognizing her efforts in digital payment sphere. In 2016, she was named Most Influential women in Payment with her involvement in driving a culture that supports innovation.

Lorraine Herger completes the top 20 list of top chief information officers. Herger is the Chief Information Officer of IBM Research – IBM’s Living Laboratory. Through her leadership, IBM Research has been influential in the digital transformation of the enterprise. One of Herger’s project, “Integrated Solutions Project Bluevision” – a network analytical tool that can identify network issues before they impact the users. With this program alone, Herger was able to help the business by reducing network issues by 80%. By averting this significant amount of incidents, IBM was able to save $600,000 annually.

image of Lorraine Herger

“The manager of information systems in the 1980s has to be Superman, retaining his technology cape, but doffing the technical suit for a business suit and becoming one of the chief executives of the firm. The job of chief information officer (CIO), equal in rank to chief executive and chief financial officers – does not exist today, but the CIO will identify, collect, and manage information as a resource, set corporate information policy and affect all office and distributed systems. “

William Synnott, organizational theorist, Vice President of Bank of Boston, author

From Automatic Data Processing Manager to Chief Information Officer: Evolution of the CIO Functions and Responsibilities

William Synnott coined the term “Chief Information Officer” in 1981. At the time, Synnott was the vice president of data processing at the Bank of Boston. His book “Information Resource Management: Opportunities and Strategies for the 1980s,” discusses the significance of the CIO functions and responsibilities. With his co-author William Gruber, a CIO is seen as “a senior-level executive responsible for overseeing network and data processing operations, and crafting an information systems strategy that would help a corporation achieve its business objectives through the innovative use of technology.” By the dawn of the web era in the mid-90s, technology has become an integral part of most industries. While some businesses hasn’t fully picked up the trend, the challenges of globalization, the emergence of disruptive technologies, and the speed by which technology changes, came rushing in.

From data processors to cost cutters to strategic business partners, the CIO functions and responsibilities have indeed evolved through the years. Early leaders in the field such as Max Hopper and Al Zipf has envisioned the CIO as C-Level managers that drive the business to greater heights. And they were right. Now more than ever, the role of a CIO has become critical.

In a technology and data-driven world, the Chief Information Officer is expected to be a strategist, a communicator, a collaborator, a change agent, and a visionary. Amidst the ever-changing technological landscape, a CIO must wear multiple hats. In a time when all companies are becoming technology companies, so much depends upon the chief information officer. An exceptional CIO exhibits flexibility, agility and responsiveness amidst with the evolving requirements of the role. As MIT Sloan Professor George Westerman captures it, “There’s never been a better time to be a great CIO and there’s never been a worse time to be an average one.” In this context, Bold Business shines the spotlight on Top Chief Information Officers making a bold impact within their respective companies and in the field of information technology as a whole.

The Top Chief Information Officers Benchmark of Excellence

The Bold Business team combed through a wide range of data to develop our Top Chief Information Officers list. Our research produced a long list. There is a growing number CIOs stepping up to the challenge of delivering more value opportunities for the enterprise.  In order to narrow down the list, we made a selection process based on the below criteria:

  1. He or she must display bold leadership traits.
  2. He or she must have developed, instituted and deployed enterprise-wide changes that:
  • Introduced operational improvements
  • Won the business a competitive advantage
  • Improved the customer experience
  • Prepared the business for the future
  1. The company he or she belongs to has experienced growth in either revenue, shares, profit from an innovation during their term.
  2. He or she have contributed to the improvement of technology as a means to advance the society.

quote from Max Hopper

Bold Business Lists 20 of the Top Chief information Officers Today

  • Scott Rice of Sprint believes that businesses should focus on developing the capability to digitally manage customer relationships. he also believes in the use of data to better serve the markets. With Scott Rice’s promotion as CIO in 2016, Sprint is going through digital transformation. It leverages Big Data to boost efficiency and improve customer experience. For instance, to answer the needs of a highly-mobile and digital-savvy customer base, Sprint aims to be the first to launch 5G mobile network. The company started with their first nine markets and opened a dedicated immersive center explaining how 5G mobile works.
  • Richard Williams has been leading Celgene Corporation’s global IT strategy.  He also heads IT and business shared services, data and informatics strategy, scientific and business applications, and analytics. As the company’s Chief Information Officer, Williams recognizes the role of IT in achieving business goals. Aligning to the overall business objectives, his projects included a revitalized CRM for the sales force and a unified customer/patient engagement; a unified ERP system that streamline their operating process and leverage data for competitive advantage; and a cloud-based data management solution. While Williams has recently moved to consultancy, his past accomplishments warrants a spot in the top chief information officers’
  • Glenn Schneider became CIO of Discover Financial Services in 2008. Under Schneider’s leadership, Discover has been consistently the industry’s  innovator and leader in technological excellence. In 2017, Chicagoland chose him as CIO of the year. His dedication in his role as a CIO is evident in his projects that serve both internal and external customers. For instance, the Discover Student Loan Digital Experience was a redesign of their platform to meet the unique needs of their millennial clients. There’s no doubt that Glenn Schneider should be top chief information officers
  • Richard “Dick” Daniels has been Kaiser Permanente’s CIO since 2015 but his digital agenda has been clear – highlight the power of patient-centered technology. In 2015, a hospital room technology, the Interactive Patient Care, enabled patients to see their schedule, know their care team, order food, control the lights and other integrate devices in their rooms. Similarly, under his directions, Kaiser has been recognized to be one of the First adopters of Electronic Health Record. As an advocate thoughtful technology use, Daniels deserve a spot in the roster of top chief information officers.
  • Linda Jojo stint as CIO of United Airlines for three years has been transformative for the company. Linda Jojo has been United Airlines’ Executive Vice President of Technology and Chief Digital Officer since June 2017.  She is in charge both of technology and digital strategy. Lagging behind the digital transformation race, Jojo’s first order of the day is jumpstart United Airline’s technology portfolio. One of Jojo’s initiatives is Mobile Agent Project. It is a devise based platform equipped with host of applications to bring agents from behind their desk. This initiative is designed to help agents to be mobile and readily available to help anywhere in the airport or the airplane.
  • Shankar Arumugavel’s mantra as the CIO of Verizon is that digital transformation “must come from the top.” He says, “Digital transformation requires a wholesale reinvention of every aspect of your business.” As an agent of change, Arumugavel spearheaded the streamlining and modernizing Verizon’s system. With Arumugavel’s leadership, customer satisfaction is of paramount importance. Projects like Share Everything Plan allows consumers to share data, minutes and texts to others. It also integrates Smart device technology that predicts customer needs are solid proof, earning him a place in the top chief information officers.
  • James Rinaldi holds a unique position as the CIO of Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The company is a federally-funded development center that focuses on planetary and space exploration managed by NASA for California Institute of Technology. James Rinaldi supports a highly sophisticated user-base which includes rocket scientists, professionals with PhDs, and external contractors. Add to that is the fact that JPL houses a distinct set of business units. As a CIO supporting missions to Mars and the Deep Space or Directorate in Astrophysics or Robotics, James Rinaldi has a lot happening under his watch. For the last 14 years, Rinaldi has focused on breaking divisive silos, driving data transformation, gaining a seat at the table, and tapping technology to explore the depths of the universe.
  • Randall Gaboriault has helped Christiana Care Health System earn the title “Most Wired’ Health System” according to American Hospital Association. The title is well-earned – programs such as Care Link, iRound, eCare virtual ICU, Insight, and eSignout, all shows Christiana Care’s technological footprint. Gaboriault’s mission doesn’t end within the walls of Christiana Care Health System. He’s been actively participating in social causes that use technology to better serve our world. Gaboriault is currently the chair of Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN) and a Board member and treasurer for Tech Impact.
  • Steven Zerby of Owens Corning is proof that technology is everywhere. As a leader in insulation, roofing and composite, it is worth noting that Owens Corning spends 3-5% of their revenue to IT in expanding their IT capabilities. One of his notable project was the Customer Resolution Dashboard that monitors all aspects of customer order in one platform. With Zerby at the helm as Vice President and Chief Information Officer, the company has been consistently receiving accolades such as 100 Best Places to work in IT from 2014-2018 from Computerworld and CIO 100 Awards in 2015, 2016 and 2018.
  • Michele C D’Alessandro focus as Merck Manufacturing IT’s CIO is strategic leadership and seamless delivery of information technology and digital solutions. The merging of physical world of manufacturing and the virtual world of Information technology can be challenging and it’s a challenge that D’Alessandro has enthusiastically seized. With her leadership, a 3-year program has been laid for Merck Manufacturing IT Transformation. Supply chain was the first to undergo changes. Integrated end-to-end planning for supply and demand is now done in the cloud-based ERP. Additionally, she is also actively supporting causes encouraging more women in the STEM field.
  • Adriana Karaboutis has been the Chief Information and Digital Officer of National Grid PLC since August of 2017. For the last two years hence, Karaboutis led the campaign towards the company’s vision.  The vision is to “exceed the expectations of our customers, shareholders and communities today and make possible the energy systems of tomorrow.” Immediately after joining the company, Karaboutis launched the NGDigital Labs. It is an initiative to develop innovations around AI and big data solutions, virtual reality, and energy trading. It uses Blockchain, to name a few. Through this initiatives, National Grid moved up from being a traditional “utility company” to a resilient, responsive and agile energy provider. Through these innovations, the fifth class of Forbes CIO Innovation Award recognized her as the sole winner in 2018. With a diverse background from various industries such as health (Biogen), information technology (Dell), and automotive (General Motors and Ford) – Karaboutis makes it to the list of top chief information officers.
  • Clay Johnson’s fail-fast approach, startup orientation, and people first philosophy has been supercharging Walmart’s technology innovation game. In the recent years, the retail giant has introduced noteworthy tech improvements fueling business growth. As the company’s chief information officer, Johnson has helped the company transform from a brick-and-mortar retail business to an e-commerce enterprise. With a 2.2 million strong workforce, Walmart is empowering its employees with access to technology, data and applications. Additionally, Walmart is tapping on the potentials of robotics, artificial intelligence, and mobile payments to better serve customers. Partnerships with tech giants Microsoft and Google are also underway. While Clay Johnson has already established a name in the industry, his initiatives continue to gain accolades. He was given the CIO of the Year 2018 by Dive Awards. Undeniably, Clay Johnson deserves a spot in the Bold Business list of top chief information officers.
  • Brian LeClaire has led Humana in all of its Digital Transformation and Digital Pivot Projects. As the company’s CIO, LeClaire aims to focus on technologies and designs that are human-centric. Humana Inc. launched a program called “20 Percent Healthier by 2020.” Humana’s bold goal is to make the communities they serve 20% healthier by year 2020. As part of this initiative, Humana launched CareHub2.0. As a clinical ecosystem, CareHub2.0 integrates customer-interfacing clinical technology platform and internal administrative database. Through seamless integration of data, LeClaire was instrumental in achieving impressive health outcomes for the communities that the company serves.
  • Robert B. Carter has been FedEx Corporation’s CIO since the year 2007. With Carter at the helm, FedEx has been receiving accolades year after year for its efforts in advancing technology. Since 2007, FedEx has received 7 CIO 100 awards. As a C-level executive, Carter was FORTUNE magazine’s Executive Dream team and a CIO Hall of Fame Inductee in 2007. FedEx has been allotting enormous amount of resources in information and communication technology. To date, Carter has spearheaded various enterprise-wide IT programs aimed at enhancing customer experience such as FedEx Onsite Project, FedEx Delivery Manager and FedEx Web Services. Similarly, technology has played a critical role in automating complex operations of aircraft maintenance, engineering and material management – all critical processes for the largest logistics enterprise in the world.
  • Andrew Wilson of Accenture is looking to innovate for the individual. Andrew Wilson believes that the consumerization of IT is pushing the business to place people – the users at the center of their digital agenda. As the CIO of Accenture, Andrew Wilson spearheads various projects that in line with this digital agenda. Within just 6 years as CIO, Wilson introduced enterprise-wide projects such as high-quality video conferencing, interactive high-definition life-sized video, internal proprietary telepresence, Cloudification of services and solutions, Digital HR Portal, and Talent Hub. Undoubtedly, Wilson deserves a spot among the ranks of top chief information officers.
  • Easwaran Sundaram is currently the Executive VP and Chief Digital & Technology Officer of JetBlue Airways Corporation. He has two decades of global technology and operations experience across the transportation, healthcare and biotechnology industries. Sundaram has been known for his innovations in the customer service field. Under Sundaram’s leadership, JetBlue is the first airline to introduce satellite based WiFi and automatic check-in within 24 hours of the flight. Recently, the airline launched an Apple Watch application. It allows customers to get real-time flight updates, obtain mobile boarding pass and do in-flight shopping. For JetBlue Airways, things are getting to be more exciting. With the recently launched subsidiary, JetBlue Technology Ventures, the company will soon start working on more IT projects around Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, big data, predictive analytics, virtual reality, and machine-learning.
  • Paula Tolliver  has a proven track record for driving revenue growth. It has earned her a spot in the top chief information officers. Tolliver is the perfect match for Intel’s transformation journey. From being a PC-centric company, she has played a major role in the company’s move to be a more data-centric and customer-focused technology company. Tolliver joining Intel was a certainly a significant and fruitful move. Under her leadership, Intel was able to add $500M new revenue by implementing Digital Transformation Initiatives. With the current shifts in technology, Intel is going through huge growth spurts. Tolliver implemented automation and predictive analytics. There were also the machine learning, and the use of data analytics for sales and marketing.
  • Carol Zierhoffer makes it to the top 20 list of top chief information officers. Carol Zierhoffer came to Bechtel in 2013 at the time when Bechtel has been lagging behind in technological innovation. Big data and analytics was Zierhoffer’s answer to multiple data silos. It also dealt with lack of systems to mine data from historical and current projects. In 2017, she launched the Big Data and Analytics Center of Excellence. It transforms operations and address competitions in the Constructions and Engineering field. Under Zierhoffer’s leadership, Bechtel used RPA (Robotic Process Automation) to bridge gaps between various departments and improve internal processes.
  • Carol Juel of Synchrony Financial is looking at building the company’s artificial intelligence and mobile technology business segment. As consumer’s spending habits change, more people are harnessing the power of virtual payment. Juel wants Synchrony to be there for their customers. Similarly, Juel is keen on working with leaders in mobile technology and retail business to drive sales. The industry has been recognizing her efforts in digital payment sphere. In 2016, she was named Most Influential women in Payment with her involvement in driving a culture that supports innovation.
  • Lorraine Herger completes the top 20 list of top chief information officers. Herger is the Chief Information Officer of IBM Research – IBM’s Living Laboratory. Through her leadership, IBM Research has been influential in the digital transformation of the enterprise. One of Herger’s project is“Integrated Solutions Project Bluevision”. It is a network analytical tool that can identify network issues before they impact the users. With this program alone, Herger was able to help the business by reducing network issues by 80%. By averting this significant amount of incidents, IBM was able to save $600,000 annually.

Cartoon quote of William Synnott

 

From Automatic Data Processing Manager to Chief Information Officer: Evolution of the CIO Functions and Responsibilities

The role of a CIO is an interplay of privilege and responsibility. The opportunity to help steer the company towards greater heights is a privilege. To get everyone onboard and influence stakeholders is the responsibility. However, this has not always been the case. In the last four decades, the role of the CIO has evolved along with the technology.

Focus on quantity characterized the main frame era of the 60s through the early 80s. During this era, computers were viewed as transaction processing systems meant to reduce clerical workload. Since IT was viewed as data processing, IT leaders were referred to as Automatic Data Processing Managers. The early 80s through mid-90s was considered as the distributed era. Technology became less centralized and personal computing became the norm. Enterprises realized the need for a role who can manage and make decisions about technology.

William Synott coined the term “Chief Information Officer” in 1981. At the time, Synnott was the vice president of data processing at the Bank of Boston. In the book “Information Resource Management: Opportunities and Strategies for the 1980s,” Synnott discusses the significance of the CIO functions and responsibilities. A CIO is seen as “a senior-level executive responsible for overseeing network and data processing operations, crafting an information systems strategy that would help a corporation achieve its business objectives through the innovative use of technology.” By the dawn of the web era in the mid-90s, technology has become an integral part of most industries. Some businesses haven’t fully picked up the trend. The challenges of globalization, the emergence of disruptive technologies, and the speed by which technology changes, came rushing in.

The CIO functions and responsibilities have evolved through the years. Max Hopper and Al Zipf envisioned the CIO as C-Level managers that drive the business to greater heights. And they were right. Now more than ever, the role of a CIO has become critical.





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