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Roundtable: Putting Business-Value Creation on Steroids

A dozen senior IT executives from a cross-section of private and public-sector organizations gathered in Toronto on March 5 to exchange ideas and share best practices around “Putting Business Value Creation on Steroids”.

This CIO Master Series roundtable, produced by The IT Media Group (ITMG) and sponsored by IBM Canada, explored a number of themes that impact the relationship between IT and the business. David Drury, General Manager, IBM Global Technology Services, took a seat at the table and shared his insights and customer learnings.

The discussion focused on a variety of issues including: impact of social media; Big Data challenges; accommodating the needs and demands of the business; promoting and enabling innovation; finding the right skill sets; getting people engaged; creating good vendor partnerships; and public sector procurement.

A recurring theme throughout the conversation was the imperative for IT to be responsive to the needs of the business. Several participants indicated that their IT shops have been looked upon as laggards and impediments, resulting in a tendency for the business to go outside for solutions. There was consensus around the table that IT needs to change that perception and find more ways of becoming enablers. The conversation around “saying yes to the business” was a particularly engaging one, with many attendees weighing in with ideas and best practices for achieving that end.

The importance of Big Data was acknowledged, but participants expressed concerns about their ability to put in place the kind of skilled team that will be required to drive value from it. Though it is still early days, participants indicated that people with the right skill sets to take advantage of Big Data are already scarce, while competition for such people will grow increasing fierce. A “grow from within” strategy may help companies survive the coming Big Data talent crunch.

Participants also took a keen interest in the discussion around innovation. Many attendees weighed in on the subject, with various ideas being floated around how to stimulate innovation within the organization.

On the subject of vendor partnerships, roundtable members noted that an important key to success is the vendor’s willingness to deliver on the intent of the project – the delivery of value – rather than rigidly fulfilling the terms of the contract. There also needs to be a willingness, on the part of the vendor, to give the customer the ability to do things themselves, or as one attendee put it, “teach me to fish”.

With new disruptive influences such as social media, Cloud and Big Data impacting IT, CIOs are being challenged on many fronts. On the one hand they must ensure that IT is responsive to the needs of the business – enabling and creating business value, rather discouraging and impeding it. On the other hand, they must ensure that proper IT governance is in place so that technology-based solutions can evolve in a secure, effective and efficient fashion.


Session Highlights Videos

Social Media Monitoring

Social media content is growing in importance. Participants discussed harvesting and getting value from the data.


Saying ‘yes’ to the business

How does IT stop being a bottleneck to avoid business users going their own way.


Educating and engaging IT staff

The changes taking place may require new skills within IT. Can current IT staff adapt?


Fostering innovation

Several participants have found ways to create an environment in which innovation can be encouraged


Post session interviews

David Drury - GM, Global Technology Services, IBM Canada Limited


Valerie Adamo - SVP, Ontario Pension Board


Mark Keating - CIO, Peel District School Board


About CIO Master Series roundtables

Roundtables produced by The IT Media Group provide the ideal format for frank and open discussion among IT executive peers, allowing them to explore issues in depth, with a judicious amount of expert facilitation. These sessions are designed specifically for small groups of IT leaders, enabling them to take away practicable new approaches, validate their own thoughts, brainstorm ideas, and share their successes and their pain.

IT executives interested receiving notification of upcoming CIO Master Series roundtables, please complete the VIP membership form , including business email address.

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