Open communication. New technologies. Bold ideas. Group MMS To: City, State, School What's new?? City
Free public Wi-Fi!!! Yes pls State
Fiber networks and cloud upgrades for me. School
And I have tables! *tablets LOL OK. Now what? State
A public sector for the digital citizen p. 56
Isaac Sacolick is the portrait of the new CIO 10
LEAD Keeping a focus on the end user with Jag Madan 30
Cy Fenton on retailâ€™s response to cyber threats 48
AcuitasGov makes the case for open government 77
We are all digital citizens. We belong equally to our local community and our Facebook and LinkedIn networks. We use Twitter as our town square. We share our visual world via Instagram. We Facetime our families and Skype across time zones. We use our screens as portals to our peers. We “like,” we comment, and we “upvote.” We demand efficiency. We prize innovation. We expect connectivity. And we expect our public institutions to do the same. “We the people” would like to know what the public sector has to say.
Sync’s FOCUS section reports.
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Upgrade Your Performance
Empower Your Peers
A Portrait of the NEw CIO Isaac Sacolick jumps from the business to the social world and everywhere in between 10
Driven by the end user Jag Madan keeps students and faculty in mind as he leads IT initiatives at Vancouver Community College 30
Interview Stephen Ashworth, Michael Augello, and Kevin Brennan on the power of the business analyst 15
Inside Look Inside the balancing act of Chris K. Moore as he manages projects across Davis Family Holdingsâ€™ five subsidiaries 34
The Cloud Conundrum How Sony PlayStationâ€™s Linda Martino is uniting disparate cloud solutions 18
Interview Sandra Seres and Luis Canepari discuss how Goldcorp is promoting diversity in a male-dominated industry 37
Insight Mike Vedda shares his rules to work by 22 Spotlight on Telematics Kin Lee-Yow explores the world of wired cars 25
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Move Ideas Into the World
The next Industrial Revolution Barry Brunetto believes in the potential for smart factories to change the game in manufacturing 42
The power of the private cloud William Kehoe leads a robust cloud strategy in King County, Washington 58
Case Study A look at four technology solutions driving efficiency at TechInsights 46 Interview In conversation with Cy Fenton, chairman for the National Retail Federation’s IT Security Council 48 Inside Look Mark Ohlund explains how to make the most out of the data in your organization 53
Inside Look How the University System of Georgia makes the most of new technology 62 Case Study The City of Calgary puts technology to work for its citizens 65 Big data solutions LA County’s Department of Public Social Services reduces fraud with analytics 67 Creating a technology agenda Inside Ben Berry’s efforts to create a sound IT strategy for the City of Portland 70 Spotlight on Education With a Chromebook for every student, Bethel Park school district sets a new standard in K–12 learning 72 Interview Stu Davis discusses the State of Ohio’s data-center consolidation project 74 The case for open government As the founder of AcuitasGov, Chris J. Moore works with city governments to create a responsive public sphere 77
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From the editor
Acrodex, 64 acrodex.com 800.456.2667
Tibco, 54 tibco.com 866.247.8182
Advocate Solutions, 76 teamadvocate.com 614.444.5144
TriCore Solutions, 35 Tricoresolutions.com 888.239.7775
Bright Bytes, 73 brightbytes.net 877.433.4036
Visual Antidote, 16 visualantidote.com 416.840.4973
CDW•G, 64 cdwg.com 800.808.4239
Zensar, 24 zensar.com 630.928.1518
Corevist, 45 corevist.com 919.424.2120
The geographic gap that separates Washington, DC, from Silicon Valley is a mere shadow of the chasm that exists between the innovations unlocked by new technologies and the legacy capabilities of our public institutions. Fortunately, that gap is starting to close.
ESP, 35 esp.com 612.337.3000 Guidewire Software, 24 guidewire.com 952.831.9135 HP, 33 hp.com 650.857.1501 Integra Telecom, 71 integratelecom.com 877.953.7747 Kentico, 16 kentico.com 866.328.8998 Nexus, 68 nexusis.com/sync 510.808.2222
Delivering more out-of-the-box functionality than other systems, Kentico makes enterprise-grade, integrated marketing manageable and affordable for businesses of all sizes. Replacing laborious coding with easy configuration of rock-solid technology, Kentico simplifies and speeds the creation of stunning websites and the management of sophisticated customer experiences. No compromises. Affordable to all.
Presidio, 61 presidio.com 888.573.8728 Sierra Systems, 38 sierrasystems.com 877.688.1371 Tata Consultancy Services, 14 tcs.com 630.505.9100 TechInsights, 47 techinsights.com 877.826.4447 TEKsystems, 21 teksystems.com 312.337.9262 Thanx Media, 49 thanxmedia.com 312.266.2929 6 / Sync
Sean Conner Sync Managing Editor
In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed the first Chief Technology Officer of the United States. Since then, three individuals have served in the role: Aneesh Chopra, Todd Park, and most recently, Megan Smith. Their charge has been to evaluate how the US government can best adapt the significant advances in enterprise technology and the innovations of the private sector. The creation of the position is in part a response to a plugged-in populace asking new questions: Why isn’t our government efficient? How can I connect with my city? What does innovation mean to our leaders? To explore these ideas more fully, this issue’s Focus section delves into the world of the public sector, looking at technology executives whose work impacts this conversation from the classroom to the state capital. Though it’s a challenging place to be, one thing is certain: the digital citizen has arrived, and our institutions must respond. So far, advancements can best be seen in the small wins, and slowly but surely the promises of cloud capabilities and big data are making an impact in the commons. Apart from constrained resources, one of the greatest challenges public institutions face is a dearth of young talent. Freshly minted software engineers and IT professionals flock west in pursuit of the next great app or idea that will change the world. The fact is, most of them could touch the lives of millions by helping fight IT sprawl and operational inefficiencies in their local governments. So the question remains, if we expect more from the public sector, what should the public sector expect from us? Do we too easily escape to our digital selves when we should instead become, as they say, “part of the process”? I’m not sure myself, but after talking to the executives in this issue, I’m certain that change is happening, one school, one city, and one state at a time. Issue 002
Photo by Caleb Fox
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Off-shore Technology Conference Houston, TX 2015.otcnet.org OTC shares leading-edge technical information from leaders around the world in the field of offshore exploration and production of oil.
Digital Strategy for CEOs: Breaking Down The Barriers Between Marketing, IT & Product Toronto, Canada visualantidote.com/events High-performing brands provide “total experience” across customer touchpoints. Visual Antitodote’s conference explores how an organization can succeed as a high-performing brand in the digital age and why strategic and tactical alignment between marketing, product & IT teams is crucial.
Detroit Tech Week Detroit, MI techweek.com/detroit
RSA Conference: Where the World Talks Security San Francisco, CA rsaconference.com
Embedded Vision Summit Santa Clara, CA embedded-vision.com
Interop Las Vegas Las Vegas, NV interop.com
Ad-Tech San Francisco San Francisco, CA ad-tech.com/sf
Fiatech 2015 Technology Conference & Showcase Boca Raton, FL fiatech.org
Pioneers Festival Vienna, Austria pioneers.io/festival2015
Editorial Managing Editor Sean Conner Associate Editor Cyndi Fecher Staff Writer Mary Kenney
Cover iMessage assets: guteksk7 / Shutterstock.com
Microsoft Ignite Chicago, IL ignite.microsoft.com
Contributors Matt Alderton Zach Baliva Jaylyn Carlyle Evan Cline Peter Fabris Amanda Garcia Emma Janzen
Art VP of Production & Creative Director Karin Bolliger
Sales & Account Management Managing Director Kyle Evangelista
Senior Designer Mary K. Delaware
Underwrites Director Justin Joseph
Photo Editor & Staff Photographer Caleb Fox
Associate Director Ty Attiek Senior Account Manager Steven Zucker Account Managers Claire Mahoney Jaclyn Tumberger Senior Sales Executives Taylor Gerrity Brian Wolff Sales Executive Daniel Lopez
Tech Week Chicago, IL techweek.com/register/chicago
Kentico Connection Europe 2015 Prague, Czech Republic October 2015 connection.kentico.com The Kentico Connection conference is a two-day event split into three tracks—Developer, Marketing, and Case Studies— filled with a truly eye-opening agenda on what the Kentico platform has to offer. HR Technology Conference and Exposition Mandalay Bay/Las Vegas, NV October 2015 hrtechnologyconference.com Politik Conference Los Angeles, CA Fall 2015 interzone.io
International Society for Technology in Education Philadelphia, PA isteconference.org
Client Services Director Cheyenne Eiswald
Administrative Recruitment Director Elyse Glab
Senior Client Services Manager Rebekah Pappas
Staff Accountant Mokena Trigueros
Marketing Managing Director of Marketing Jen Illescas Reprints & Circulation Director Stacy Kraft Business Development Managing Director of Business Development Krista Lane Horbenko
Publishing Guerrero Howe, LLC CEO Pedro Guerrero
Receptionist Amanda Paul Executive Assistant Cassie Rose 825 W. Chicago Ave. Chicago, IL 60642
Subscriptions + Reprints For a free subscription, please visit syncmagazine.com. Printed in China. Reprinting of articles is prohibited without permission of Guerrero Howe, LLC. For reprint information, contact Stacy Kraft at 312.256.8460 or email@example.com. Sync Magazine® is a registered trademark of Guerrero Howe, LLC.
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THINK Upgrade Your Performance
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10 / Sync
RETHINK OLD BUSINESS MODELS
BUILD BRIDGES ACROSS THE ENTERPRISE
ENGAGE WITH PEERS IN THE INDUSTRY
Isaac Sacolick is the portrait of the new CIO, a tech leader comfortable jumping from complex problems to business value generation to the social world, where all that knowledge is ready to be shared. By Zach Baliva | Photos by Caleb Fox
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With the pace of digital advancements increasing, today’s CIO simply can’t be complacent. Isaac Sacolick has never been content with the status quo—and he didn’t come up through traditional IT roles.
Isaac Sacolick McGraw Hill Construction CIO 12 / Sync
While his peers were climbing the corporate ladder, Sacolick was busy creating tech startups like TripConnect (a web 2.0 social travel hub), a network of softwareas-a-service (SaaS) solutions for newspaper companies, and analysis solutions for genetic researchers. The work has given him insight into how a CIO can leverage many roles to rethink business models and capabilities. The experience enabled Sacolick to be a transformational CIO at two McGraw Hill businesses: BusinessWeek (now owned and published by Bloomberg) and McGraw Hill Construction. An entrepreneur, social networking guru, media specialist, business intelligence architect, blogger, and speaker, Sacolick is the portrait of the new CIO. Sacolick’s trajectory goes back to his childhood. When he was twelve years old, he asked his father for an Atari 2600, but Sacolick’s father refused. One day, however, Sacolick came home to find a new computer. “My dad said that just buying video games was a waste of time,” Sacolick says. “If I wanted to play games, I’d have to program them myself.” And that’s just what Sacolick did. Soon, he was learning how to program from the back of computer magazines and even running his own bulletin board. The budding passion took Sacolick to the University of Arizona and State University of New York at Binghamton where he completed undergraduate and advanced degrees in electrical engineering, but focused on artificial intelligence and computing algorithms. Upon graduation, he worked in software at a biology company and joined a SaaS company that helped newspapers transform their businesses from print to digital. Through products that he architected and others the company acquired, Sacolick had 1,600 newspaper clients and became a CTO early in his career. After launching a startup in travel and social networking, Sacolick knew he needed to work with major brands if he ever wanted to be more than a serial entrepreneur. That’s when, in 2007, he joined McGraw Hill to do at an enterprise level what he built his career on in
startups. In his first position with the organization, he launched BusinessWeek’s social media product, built a system to aggregate web content, established agile project-management practices, and deployed advanced data and measurement capabilities. From there, Sacolick built on his early wins in roles of increasing importance with McGraw Hill Financial and McGraw Hill Construction. Along the way, he developed his own philosophy for proactive IT engagement anchored by agility. “There’s a lot of talk about business and IT alignment, and I think CIOs struggle with this,” he says. “Agility is the key to transformation, because it increases the potential for innovation.” To formulate an agile process, Sacolick creates diverse, cross-functional teams that interact closely and work with stakeholders to identify problems. The team then brainstorms solutions in what Sacolick calls agile estimation—a process to think out multiple solutions, debate the priority of requirements, and finalize development estimates. The team brings solutions to market quickly, focusing on feedback that will drive enhancements. “These practices force a dialogue between stakeholders and an IT team about the most essential priorities,” he says. “If you focus on the most important thing for two or three weeks, you can get a lot of proactive IT engagement.” Through these practices, the agile CIO enables the IT team to deliver, while the business focuses on what it can accomplish in a short period of time. There is some danger, though. In this model, IT professionals are often asked to do more than they can handle. Transparency becomes critical. “It may seem risky, but it drives solutions,” Sacolick says. “The IT team hears clear struggles and opportunities and must be more creative.” After getting everything out on the table through open dialogue, IT teams can repurpose technology platforms for multiple capabilities by getting people from various groups together to think through ideas and experiment. “Companies these days have to work more collaboratively to survive, and the CIO should be Issue 002
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“Companies these days have to work more collaboratively to survive, and the CIO should be the person that’s the matchmaker to put the right people together with the right technology, ideas, and tools to bring innovation.”
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the person that’s the matchmaker to put the right people together with the right technology, ideas, and tools to bring innovation,” Sacolick says. Sacolick isn’t keeping his ideas to himself. In fact, over time, he’s become an evangelist for the engaged CIO. “Education is a key part of the role, and that’s not just internal. It’s also about sharing in your field so your organization is known for having good leaders and strong IT,” he says. “The more I give, the more I get back.” Sacolick takes time to blog, tweet, and speak at industry events on his agile framework for innovation, self-service big data, data-science programs, and other collaborative business and IT practices. Through his CIO positions, Sacolick has worked to simplify IT operations so he can spend more time on the customer and the applications. He launched five new products that run on just two platforms in a threeyear period to help drive new revenue and improve customer retention. When it comes to the day-to-day, Sacolick spends his time leading development teams and asking questions to help leaders prioritize. By engaging leaders early, he can plan for needed capabilities months in advance. Then, he works on the business end to talk to product and sales people to drum up new business. McGraw Hill Construction’s Dodge suite of products helps construction industry professionals find, bid on, and win projects through an elaborate and advanced database of construction projects. Since Dodge’s customers leverage its capabilities for many reasons, Sacolick’s teams have worked to create a flexible product with analytics and data-mining capabilities. By consolidating databases, standardizing one development strategy, and introducing a multipurpose set of APIs, Sacolick has been able to migrate a legacy platform and put out new product releases every few months. Sacolick found success with Dodge by working closely with business leaders and says that CIOs need to maintain an active role. “Tech leaders delegate too much,” he says, encouraging his peers to stay as engaged as possible and to accept ideas from all angles. “The industry likes to use ideation platforms or take ideas from the top. A lot of really good ideas come from engaging inquisitive and knowledgeable individuals across the organization, too.” Issue 002
Sync talks with
Stephen Ashworth, Michael Augello, & kevin Brennan Interview by Amanda Garcia
It is 7:15 a.m. in Australia when Michael Augello, board chair of the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), dials in for our interview. At the same time—4:15 p.m. in Canada—Kevin Brennan, vice president of product development, and Stephen Ashworth, CEO, call in to join the conversation. The three executives are part of a core group of leaders for the institute, which uses a wide range of information technology services to vision, innovate, relate to, and serve their global community of business analysts as they create solutions that ensure better business outcomes for organizations around the world. Juggling time zones is par for the course for the International Institute of Business Analysts (IIBA) and is just one of the ways IT has become a crucial tool as the organization has globalized. The three executives gathered to share their thoughts on how technology enhances their mission to connect business analysts around the world.
The business analyst often acts as a bridge between business and IT in an organization, but because companies often see investment in IT as discretionary spending, this budget is often cut first. Likewise, sync-magazine.com
Languages available for IIBA’s standard products
when new IT projects are no longer possible, the business analysts often go with them. How does IIBA challenge this trend? Stephen Ashworth: That’s a mistake, because a good business analyst (BA) can see other opportunities to be more effective and innovative inside the organization. Things like streamlining processes, improving policies, finding ways to cut back on unnecessary cost, or creating new offerings using existing platforms. Michael Augello: Indeed, a strategic intent of the IIBA is to let the world better understand what the BA can do—not only that they execute projects in the right way, but that they should help determine the right projects to engage. In fact, one of IIBA’s goals is to develop strategic partnerships to better deliver the value of business analysis to corporations and governments, in order to develop frameworks and standards to deliver better business outcomes. Kevin Brennan: In 2013, Deloitte’s survey of CIOs around the world found that the number-one gap for skills in IT organizations was busi-
ness analysis, including the ability to create and deliver innovation, improve business processes and efficiencies, and better align corporate strategy with execution of IT projects. These are keys that business analysts bring to where they work, and our goal at IIBA is to build on that and enhance it.
Ashworth: From an IT perspective, another goal is to develop richer, more robust systems that allow us to enhance our existing relationships, as well as build new ones around the world. Relationship management is at the core of our profession—to ensure our community not only feels connected, but that they can proudly claim their identity as a BA and demonstrate the value that they bring to their counterparts and employers. Augello: When we apply that goal to the communities where our business analysts reside and work, those organization and nonprofits will better understand the value of IT. Likewise, our BAs will help deliver better business outcomes to the communities they serve, and leverage IT where it adds value. In turn, IIBA itself will better use IT, and our BAs in the field will be Sync / 15
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better equipped to solve real-world problems around the globe.
online libraries and communities, social media, and networking opportunities that allow for ongoing discussion.
Even as IIBA is positioned well globally, you keep a local presence. What does that look like?
Augello: Just last week in the Australian chapter, the local branch in Melbourne hosted a professional development day, and more than 150 people attended the event. IIBA is a global organization, yet there we were as a vibrant and energetic local branch, listening to quality speakers from our own community and addressing global issues. And what was fabulous was that I, a person from their home city, was able to speak to those 150 folks as the chair of the global board of IIBA. Brennan: I have had the opportunity to visit with people on five different continents. And I’ve learned that while many challenges are similar, there are several unique differences between countries.
Stephen Ashworth Institute of Business Analysis CEO
Brennan: In order to support that kind of interaction, our system is in demand 24-7. We’ve had to use tools that have allowed people to jump in as they’re available—tools that allow for communication to take place wherever folks happen to be, and at a pace that they can sustain. Michael Augello Institute of Business Analysis Board Chair
Photo of Kevin Brennan by Tracy Cox
Ashworth: Apart from the traditional international support, there are a number of engagement tools that we utilize. From an IT point of view, those include webinars, online registration, a career center, sync-magazine.com
How is IT helping in those efforts? What can’t technology solve for the organization? Ashworth: IT acts as a platform for us to get our work done, as well as take information from a virtual world and turn it into relationship building.
In Canada, the role of the business analyst is fairly understood, but in other countries it’s an emerging role that is just starting to be recognized as a need. How do you meet these needs? Brennan: We’ve seen demand for support of members depending on where they’re based. Members have requested customization of IIBA’s programs according to region because people want to build the foundational elements of business analysis in their country, for their country. It’s an exciting opportunity to learn and recognize that there is more than one way to get things done.
Augello: As a person from the other side of the world, it often feels like I’m typing to someone just in the other room. But I still find it bizarre how I can dial into a conversation at odd hours from any number of places on a variety of devices, and continue the conversation seamlessly.
Kevin Brennan Institute of Business Analysis Vice President of Product Development
Brennan: But one thing we have learned over the years is that while virtual tools are valuable, there is no substitute for face-to-face meetings. Augello: We have a committed global board with representation from Europe, Canada, the US, New Zealand, and Australia, and we meet face to face once each year. The benefits of that meeting carry us for the next many months, and when we see each other, we just smile and get right back to work. Brennan: Technology allows us to communicate in ways that weren’t possible ten or fifteen years ago. When IIBA was formed, we were business analysts building something that we needed. Nobody was
going to do it for us, so we made it ourselves.
IIBA has the advantage of being born in the Internet era, and many forward-thinking business analysts that want to engage IIBA’s future are young professionals who have grown up with a variety of online tools. In what ways do they want to interact with the organization? Brennan: Online collaboration comes naturally, because our members are comfortable with it. But you have to move with the times—if we didn’t do that, we’d be relying on MySpace. IIBA’s open [LinkedIn] group is the largest one dedicated to business analysis on LinkedIn. It’s a communication platform that allows us to hear from people both in and outside our membership, which helps us understand what the profession is saying and what our community needs. Augello: When we listen to our community, innovation happens. We’re only human, but we have 28,000 members and close to 100,000 followers on LinkedIn, and that’s an incredible amount of brainpower. Ashworth: The groundswell of having a small city’s worth of like-minded people coming together forms an identity and develops a sense of culture. IT drives that, and there is ideation that takes us to a common denominator worldwide. Augello: Business analysis is the practice of enabling change in an organizational context by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver values to stakeholders. Because our membership is doing this all day every day, IIBA can’t help but be a listening organization. We exist to unite a community that gets better business outcomes, so we grow and move as our BAs do, because they are our experts. Sync / 17
Corralling the Cloud How Sony PlayStation’s Linda Martino is rounding up the company’s cloud applications, and her plan for keeping the technology from going astray in the future. By Jaylyn Carlyle
With greater flexibility, scalability, virtualization, and agility, it’s hard to resist the undeniable and captivating appeal of cloud capability. But, like any wonder drug promising immediate gratification, this new wave of technology has mesmerized users acting independently and without much consideration for the long-term repercussions. New research from Netskope and Ponemon uncovered that within US companies on average, only 22.5 percent of business-critical apps and 35 percent of cloud data operate under the radar of the IT department. Because the marketplace began with point-solution, best-of-breed (BoB) architecture, the remaining landscape comprises a multitude of uncommunicative stovepipe systems. Despite being founded on the best of intentions, the improvident actions of well-meaning employees propagate a host of issues. A decrease of organization-wide efficiency and productivity are two critical fallouts. Now, IT departments are scrambling to launch cloud consolidation countermeasures. Last year, Linda Martino found herself in such a situation when taking on the vice president of IT role at Sony Computer Entertainment America, better known by the moniker Sony PlayStation. To complicate matters further, the company was at the tail end of several major efforts: a three-year headquarters construction project, the off-site data-center relocation to a collocated facility, and a massive Oracle 12 reimplementation. These efforts required Martino’s predecessor’s full attention. So while he had little time for peripheral needs, two thousand employees had carte blanche to shop cloud-service offerings. And shop they did, weaving an ever-growing tangle of systems with each additional application. Martino, a CIO magazine’s 2011 “Ones to Watch” recipient, possesses more than twenty years of experience 18 / Sync
in IT, with a preference for high tech. Vice president of IT positions at Sun Microsystems and Clorox, in addition to ten years with IBM, equipped her to untangle the web waiting for her at Sony PlayStation. Initial meetings revealed two fundamental issues. First, the mind-numbing amount of user IDs, passwords, and application locations required for daily tasks. Second, the lack of data flow between systems that created reporting issues and resulted in having to merge multiple reports to portray a full view of a project. These problems, which spawned from each business unit’s particular needs and a lack of end-user points of view, resulted in the acquisition of BoB tools bent on optimizing siloed operations without consulting each other. The lack of cooperation fostered a disjointed proliferation of software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions. “[SaaS solutions] are very quick and easy to deploy, so everybody loves them at first, but then they realize the limitations if they’re not integrated to the rest of the portfolio,” Martino says. Several years and twelve passwords later, juggling multiple platforms that didn’t sync, Sony PlayStation was ready for a change. “From an end-user perspective, it was very chaotic.”
REBUILDING AND RESTRUCTURING THE TEAM Taking the helm, Martino changed directions and rolled out the department’s new administration. Doing this parallel to addressing the cloud consolidation project gave priority to enterprise architecture and project portfolio management. “We needed to get a little better organized inside IT, so we are more efficient and more effective,” she says. In addition to the department’s recent and significant software changes, Martino’s application and infraIssue 002
structure teams sat in different buildings. The lack of collaboration and communication created several challenges: without consulting each other, decisions were made and toes were stepped on. At one point, each group created its own single-sign-on solution, inadvertently pinning the teams against one another. This structure simply wasn’t feasible for addressing IT needs for the present or future. To foster better relationships, Martino moved the entire staff to a remodeled, free-roaming bullpen area, where universal, open workstations replaced cubicles. Project teams were able to meet in one space, work, and then break off to separate corners, if so desired. The areas are decorated with gaming décor, which has been the primary factor for the favorable response to this restructuring and relinquishment of appointed personal space. After creating a more connected team, Martino went to work on rebuilding the culture: namely its communication style with other departments. Admittedly, to parties outside the tech circle, IT jargon is extremely complicated and often requires its own translator. But rather than requiring all of Sony PlayStation to assimilate with IT, Martino focused on retraining the whole department to adopt an end-user point of view with every effort. A top-down approach began with Martino coaching IT senior management. Then, when a nearly finished department service catalog crossed her desk, it became clear the conversation needed to include the remaining IT employees. Replete with an IT-centric focus and techno babble incomprehensible to the average layperson, the document proved the perfect training tool to demonstrate her initiative. Martino stopped the project and asked the team to start again. The second time around, she instituted a “What would Dottie think?” approach to give employees an ideal target audience. Endearingly named for a senior administrative assistant with little tech knowledge, the approach served as the litmus test to ensure universal comprehension. “Turning that thinking around was quite a learning experience for my team,” Martino says. Fortunately, social skills weren’t her staff ’s issue. They just needed to focus on simple, respectful language when explaining a technical situation. Now all service or feature content uses plain, straightforward language that doesn’t leave Dottie scratching her head.
SOLVING THE ISSUES A unified team and a stabilized Oracle implementation left room for Martino to move the Sony PlayStation cloud portfolio toward a more user-driven approach. To start off, she got her bearings and took inventory. With an idea of the more popular Tier 1 applications, her team then surveyed the user groups to identify any additional applications in the pipeline. Next, Martino adopted an architecture perspective, focusing on data flow. While most of the applications had some interface with Sony PlayStation’s ERP, she knew they would benefit from interfaces between each other. Most of that didn’t exist at the time, which Martino likens to getting a handle on the sync-magazine.com
MAKING THE MOST OF CLOUD SOLUTIONS
Four questions you should ask end users to increase the effectiveness of your SaaS portfolio. 1. Have you run your ideas past the IT department? Generally, IT takes responsibility for information security. Before the user engages with a vendor that provides SaaS, the department needs to ensure the vendor won’t jeopardize the company’s intellectual property. 2. Do you really understand the marketplace and business process you’re trying to take to the cloud? “You want to make sure they understand the maturity and stability of the vendors available,” Martino says. For example, startups pose risks that older, more established organizations do not. 3. Will this solution need to integrate with anything else? IT needs to help users scope their solution and decide if they really want a BoB, standalone solution or an integrated solution that latches on to a better long-term option. 4. Do you understand your cost basis? What does your business case look like? Users need to consider all of the relevant costs associated with adopting a new solution that go beyond the initial pricing. For example, are they incurring the uptick in network traffic? If so, who is going to support that and what will it cost?
architecture. “[It] would be an optimal state . . . operating as though it was one unified set of systems instead of all these point-to-point solutions.” The IT team started with a front-end revamp that addressed the business units’ number one issue: the volume of passwords and user IDs needed to jump between systems. Now in the final stage, the new single sign-on solution allows users to access all of their applications through one portal with the same user ID and password used to boot up their computers. Though the larger problem of multiple SaaS solutions still looms, this temporary fix hides any login complexity. While the front end offers improved user experience, the back end still requires some attention with regard to the reporting and analytics flow. Martino’s solution combines the unique data from the cloud solutions with that of Sony PlayStation’s ERP. This allows her to mask the reporting and analytics behind the scenes. “Even though the systems don’t all talk to each other yet, at least I can pretend they talk to each other through the reporting aspect,” she says. A tighter architecture allows IT to onboard new SaaS applications and respective reporting within a month. And, once they’re able to receive data from the new service into their big data solution, they can ascertain with what other data the users want to connect it. “I think a lot of companies that have that BoB approach are struggling with this,” Martino says. “And I don’t know that there’s a single solution out there. The way I’m approaching it seems like a pretty reasonable solution to cause the least disruption to the users, while I buy myself some time to go through and re-architect or perhaps redesign some of these systems that are already out there.” With the brunt of the storm at bay, Martino has time to wade into the architecture and determine the most advantageous solutions for future business demands.
Cloud applications in use when Martino joined Sony PlayStation
Business units operating with autonomous SaaS solutions prior to Martino’s arrival
Years Martino expects for the entire cradle-to-grave consolidation process of Sony PlayStation’s cloud applications
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CASE STUDY THE POWER OF PARTNERSHIP The Challenge To prevent further SaaS sprawl, Linda Martino needed a way to educate Sony PlayStation’s staff on the ongoing IT solutions while curbing the ability for business units to purchase outside services without the guidance of IT. Though Martino and her team are striving for an intuitive user experience, she realizes not every employee will proceed through the changes without complication. The Partner As the gateway to the people, Sony PlayStation’s HR team had the reach and connection to provide Martino a pipeline to the workforce. The HR department itself had several SaaS programs prime for amalgamation and could easily communicate the value of the consolidation. The Solution IT works closely with HR to develop training and communication materials. Using e-mail, articles on the internal web, and PowerPoint, the joint venture sends out company-wide information on a quarterly basis, along with ad-hoc announcements for when the IT department is rolling out new offerings. Martino also gives internal training that covers new technology and tools, as well as tips and tricks to increase efficacy and efficiency. Though still in the initial phases, communication and education efforts have been well received by the workforce.
Sony PlayStation employees
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With hub creation as the end objective, IT has begun sorting solution by solution and identifying the users, administrators, common themes, and any shared data between systems. From that information, the department will determine the optimal consolidation points or decide to leave an application as is.
WORKING WITH BUSINESS UNITS MOVING FORWARD Combining SaaS programs, while technologically complicated, offers little friction—especially when in comparison to navigating the needs and desires of Sony PlayStation’s business units. Initially, Martino garnered overwhelming support regarding the single sign-on solution development. However, now in the consolidation process, the dialogue requires a little more consideration and finesse. “You really need to work closely with the business so they understand you’re doing this for them and not to them,” she says. “I don’t go out there and try to consolidate their solutions to make my life easier. I try to make their lives easier.” Putting herself in the shoes of each business unit, Martino begins by figuring out their respective challenges and evaluating how a combined or integrated solution would help them. She balances constraints with usability desires by quantifying the benefits. Understandably, fact-based decisions tend to be better received when lines have to be drawn. “As with any shared service, you have to have some governance, shared prioritization, and make sure all the stakeholders are aligned,” Martino notes. “That’s the really tricky work, especially if you’re taking away a little bit of [a business unit’s] autonomy, because they owned a solution. Now you’re going to ask them to share a different solution with some other group, and that forces [business units] to work together.” When facilitating ideal, clear feedback channels, Martino says it varies by audience—be it business unit
leaders or frontline employees. “Each audience is different,” she explains. “Each business executive has his own style. IT needs to do stakeholder management by figuring out who it is they are trying to work with and what style works best for them, and then tailor the communication to fit.” Among the IT team, Martino is pushing for the adoption of a new mind-set that has the department on the front lines, seeking out the challenges various business units face and determining the best technology solution to solve it. This attitude—paired with an increase of IT bandwidth and new, state-of-the-art facilities—has Martino feeling good about Sony PlayStation’s perception of IT. “I think [the business units] are happier overall, but I really have to win back their trust and their business,” she says. The Sony PlayStation IT team is making headway, but Martino cautions that the road ahead is long and challenging. Business units need to understand the rapid evolution of the SaaS marketplace; today’s BoB leader could be trailing a year from now. For this reason, it’s important look at features and functions, not the trending stars. Martino advises that IT-driven efforts will help other organizations avoid the challenge her team faced this past year and continues to address. When IT lacks decision-making authority, serving merely as an adviser, it’s easy for a company to end up with a pletho-
“a lot of companies that have that best-of-breed approach are struggling with this. And I don’t know that there’s a single solution out there.”
ra of solutions that don’t talk to one another, especially in an ever-growing SaaS environment. General education regarding a company’s cloud use can mitigate the number of future headaches, but Martino recommends a more pointed approach when working with business units most likely to take advantage of the evolution. This allows IT to address the minutiae, from picking to deploying solutions. Moving forward, Martino hopes her constant reminders of end-user empathy continue to foster cohesion with IT across the business units. “We want to be partners,” she says. “We don’t want to be just the tech support guys . . . putting out technical solutions looking for problems. We really take our cue from what the business is struggling with. We don’t buy shiny objects anymore.” Issue 002
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Ever since graduating high school in the Bay Area in the eighties, Mike Vedda has been working at the forefront of business technology. That passion has brought the Affymetrix CIO far, and he shares the experiences that taught him how to stay one step ahead of a profession thatâ€™s always on the move. As told to Zach Baliva
Turn what you love into a career. I discovered my knack for computers back in high school. I was a sophomore, and I had just been thinking about what I wanted to do with my life. I loved movies and wanted to go to Hollywood, but all that changed when Apple donated a computer to my school and I started learning BASIC and simple programming techniques.
Share who you are, and people will respond. I was still in college when I got a job at Safeway. I had been there for about a year, but I was still very interested in computers. The district manager knew this and asked me if I wanted to work backstage in the corporate office in IT. I was nineteen or twenty years old, and all of the sudden I found myself working in a division office. From there, I was part of PC support. I did a backdoor receiving inventory control project, and I just kept learning.
Loving what you do is paramount. My dad worked for the same company for thirty years. He had a passion for what he did, and I realized then how important that is. 22 / Sync
Support the Business. I experienced the dot-com boom and bust first-hand. I was at a pre-IPO software company doing integrated voice response. It was a volatile time, but I saw how what we were doing in IT related directly to the bottom line of a company. That’s when I started developing this philosophy about how IT and a CIO should work closely with the business to drive growth and development.
Build a Network. I have developed friendships with other vice presidents and CIOs in my region and industry. You make these contacts over the years not just to share war stories, but to kick around ideas and solutions and failures. If I have a project coming up, I like to think about people I know who have done something similar so we can chat about vendors they used and strategies that worked.
“It’s important for a CIO and Information Technology to contribute in a way that really moves the needle. Firewalls and infrastructure don’t add value. IT can actually help the company grow and add to the bottom line by finding opportunities to help.”
A CIO should add value. When I came to Affymetrix in 2007, the previous CIO left and took much of the IT staff with him. The company was in the middle of an ERP upgrade, a twoyear project that should have been completed in four to six months. The company was burning through a lot of cash on this project, and IT was just keeping the lights on. It’s important for a CIO and information technology to contribute in a way that really moves the needle. Firewalls and infrastructure don’t add value. The IT department can actually help the company grow and add to the bottom line by finding opportunities to help. We did that with an e-commerce project after Affymetrix had done some acquisitions. Our products were scattered all over the web, so we came in to build a solution and migrate several shopping carts to one place. We nearly doubled the company’s online sales in the first year alone.
Offer solutions that make sense. We leveraged a cloud solution for human resources at Affymetrix, because they were running an old system that took heavy lifting to update and modify. My quest was to modernize our footprint because we had many old systems. sync-magazine.com
Mike Vedda Affymetrix Vice President & CIO
For a life-sciences company, industry systems are validated through ISO quality standards. The companies don’t want to revalidate every time they make a change, but there are certain areas in IT that don’t fall into that validation bucket, and one is human resources. Ours still had many manual processes and no self-service capabilities. We implemented a system called WorkDay and built over seventeen integrated solutions and automated more than eighty-five processes. We eliminated paper, improved capabilities, and thereby increased employee satisfaction.
Adaptability is important. Skills are transferrable. Any CIO needs to understand the business he’s in, but the main skills are the same.
Don’t be afraid of risk. I’m not a huge risk taker, but sometimes risk is inherent in what a CIO does. We need to be okay with that. The cloud represents a shift to risk-based decision making. You have to assess risk. Some things you would put in the cloud, some things you wouldn’t, and there’s a balance . . . but you can’t limit yourself by just closing the door and saying no. That doesn’t help the business. You have to find common ground. CIOs need to be more open. We need to listen more and talk less. Sync / 23
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Spotlight on Telematics As told to Zach Baliva
Kin Lee-Yow takes us into the world of wired cars, where new trends indicate that the auto industry will never be the same. Before you know it, we’re going to be driving big computers with wheels. I’ve never seen technology evolve and impact entire industries so quickly, but that’s exactly what we’re seeing in the automotive space right now. We’re in a connected and wireless world, and there’s no avoiding that. As technology influences automakers and impacts insurers, there are critical issues we have to think about, like privacy and security. CAA South Central Ontario is more than one hundred years old, and we have almost two million members. Everything we do relates to our members’ needs. We’re obsessed with member safety and with understanding how advances in technology and telematics will influence their lives for the better. sync-magazine.com
As for innovation and how automakers are integrating technology, I think it’s fairly obvious that one extreme is what Tesla is doing. In some ways, they’re more of a tech leader than an auto manufacturer, because their product is like a computer that motorists just happen to drive. But a lot of what we’re seeing is a series of small, simpler steps that companies are taking to address connectivity and that give users seemingly limitless information directly from their vehicle. Manufacturers like Ford and GM are introducing in-vehicle WiFi, and the whole concept of the Internet of Things is huge. Soon enough, you’ll be able to let people know your exact arrival time, and you’ll get there faster because your car will get traffic updates and reroute you in real time. You’ll arrive prepared, dressed for the right weather conditions, and you’ll know the health status of your car so you can get updates and schedule maintenance before issues arise. Picture this: you’re about to enjoy an evening out, and you own a
Expected value of the global telematics market in 2016, up from $15 billion in 2011
Potential reduction of accidents involving young motorists due to the use of telematics to encourage better driving, according to Insurethebox
Total number of monitored drivers expected to be on the road in the next two years, up from 1.85 million in 2010
car that is on the network. As you’re on your way, you make a parking reservation close to the event you’ll be attending. Since the car knows your habits, it can suggest a spot where you’ll pick up coffee. When you arrive, the coffee will be paid for and waiting for you. The parking spot is also paid for. On the way home, you receive an on-dash message that it’s time for routine maintenance, and the system contacts your mechanic to schedule an appointment for you. You drive home, and when you pull up to your house, your security system is disarmed and your lights and temperature settings are engaged. While these changes are exciting, there are also some concerns out there. If your car is just a computer on the network, you have to be aware of security issues. What if you’re exposed, or someone takes over your vehicle, or you get hit by a virus? That’s something we have to keep a close eye on because the security features that we use today will soon be outdated. Automakers will have to solve this issue, and each
“With connected cars, the data is out there. It’s possible to know where someone drove when, how fast they went, and all the other facts of a trip. Who should own and access that data?” Sync / 25
Kin Lee-Yow CAA South Central Ontario Vice President of IT
one seems to have its own methods for doing so. It’s important that we strike the right balance and take a sensible approach to integrated technologies so drivers remain safe on the roads. From a legislation standpoint, people are worried because the proper care of data and personal information must remain paramount. With connected cars, the data is out there. It’s possible to know where someone drove when, how fast they went, and all the other facts of a trip. Who should own and access that data? For us, it’s the driver, and the driver decides who they share the information with. We believe the auto owner gets the data and not the manufacturer, the insurer, or another third party. At some point soon, there will have to be legislation to make this clear. Another legislative concern for us is on the issue of distracted driving. We need to ensure that connected technology in cars doesn’t impede the safe operation of vehicles and distract the driver from paying attention to what is happening on the road. As this future continues to unfold, automakers will have to move out of the shadows, because they’ve historically wanted to keep their systems proprietary and hold everything close. But it’s time to collaborate across industries. If companies fail to take this strategy, customers will simply replace their factory onboard systems with smartphones. A better approach is a collaborative one through which the makers build portals that run original and third-party applications together. It’s hard, because these changes are coming fast, and car companies are used to a ten-year concept to production life cycle. They need to work closer with competitors and find ways to bring these innovations more quickly, because the future is happening now.
Guidewire Software is proud to provide the technology that enables property/casualty insurers, like CAA Insurance Company, to transform their business. 26 / Sync
File sharing is the new normal for the workplace. According to research by Forrester Consulting, 53 percent of information workers use three or more devices for work, which means they need access across platforms and locations. This trend raises interesting questions about ease of use, access, and security. ASK YOURSELF The market is flooded with file-sharing solutions. Beyond standard features of syncing, sharing, and collaboration, what specific needs does your company have? What security protocols do you have in place to secure your information across devices? Are employees making the most of the file-sharing solutions available to them? How are you encouraging their use and helping steward the change?
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LEAD Empower Your Peers
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focus on the end user
Jag Madan outlines how to succeed in an age of digital disruption. By Mary Kenney
Vancouver Community College is the oldest and largest community college in British Columbia.
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For most professionals headed down Broadway or Main Street on this warmer-than-average day in mid-September, it’s just another Monday. For anyone affiliated with Vancouver Community College (VCC), it’s the first day of classes. Students scurry between glass and steel buildings. They frantically check digital monitors and online class portals and e-mail professors and course designers. Professors take last-minute looks at their syllabi before handing them out. As this flurry of activity takes place over the college’s three campuses in downtown Vancouver, most of these students and educators won’t spare a thought for one of the departments that, behind the scenes, has one of the biggest impacts on their educational experience. At least, not until something goes wrong. Jag Madan leads the IT department at the college, and while the average user may view IT as a reactionary branch that responds to breakdowns, Madan knows that his team has to be much more than this. They need to be, in his word, “stratactical.” “Stratactical means knowing how to develop cross-functional business strategies and developing associated tactics to achieve results,” Madan says. In
other words, Madan has combined the words strategic and tactical in the same way IT functions have to combine their roles as a project creator and business partner, and they need to do so in a manner that’s efficient and balanced with business needs and priorities. Madan would know. After more than twenty years in IT and cross-functional leadership roles, Madan has a multifaceted view of how an IT function can thrive and how it can fail. One of the most challenging demands he is trying to meet in his current role is to change the way IT is viewed by other departments, and it’s a story echoed not only across higher education, but also in the private sector. IT has to see itself as more than a service provider, Madan says. It also has to understand business processes, best practices, and how to be a “value add” partner. That’s particularly important in the environment in which Madan currently leverages his knowledge and experience. Madan’s background is in business, systems and human factors engineering, and ergonomics. He knows that the end user experience is a crucial piece of what IT builds and operates. At VCC, those end users can be students, instructors, aids, and
Vancouver photo by Steve Rosset / Shutterstock.com; portrait by Jesse Norsworthy
administrators—a diverse cast with very different needs. “Someone can build the world’s best solution, but if it’s hard to navigate or use, that will impact usage and adoption,” Madan says. Students and professors, he adds, are particularly picky about what technology they’re willing to use. Perhaps this is because higher education can sometimes find itself mired in the traditions of physical libraries and classrooms. Focusing on the end user has to be key in every move Madan and his team takes. There are some differences between working in higher education and the business world, Madan says, though there are far more similarities than one might think. In a college setting, IT has historically been seen as a reactive organization. The limited budgets of legacy systems, purchased years ago and mashed together because they were affordable, often aren’t the most efficient IT solution available, but they’re often what the department has to work with. Finally, being a business partner does not mean just working with the provost and president of the university. It’s students who have to be the IT department’s focus. “Not all higher education leaders think that way,” Madan admits, “but it’s
Jag Madan Vancouver Community College Director of IT
“Someone can build the world’s best solution, but if it’s hard to navigate or use, that will impact usage and adoption.”
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MEET THE TEAM Jag Madan relies on several key players to keep Vancouver Community College’s IT organization nimble and readily able to execute on short- and long-term strategies.
Peter Gregorowicz Network Services Manager Previous experience: Network services manager in the private sector Responsibilities: Leads the Network Services team. Responsible for network architecture, system design, administration, and security
Malcolm Macintosh Classroom Technologies Manager Previous Experience: Classroom technologies supervisor at VCC Responsibilities: Makes sure all educational technologies installed in classrooms and labs are fully functional and usable
Alan Saunders Client Services Manager Previous Experience: Client services and network administrator at another higher-education institution Responsibilities: Manages the client services help-desk team for the college
important to keep that focus. This is the business of education, and our output is well-trained students.” That output has an obvious and necessary effect on the communities VCC serves, from Vancouver’s own downtown to international communities where students will return after completing their degrees. While it’s easy to say, “Keep the end user in mind,” translating that mind-set into strategy is not so straightforward. One of Madan’s approaches is to create a five-year strategic plan and technology road map for the department, which keeps his team focused on a larger goal and avoids a quick-fix, short-range attitude. There are many steps in creating this outline, and they include gathering feedback, developing a joint mission aligned with business objectives, writing core values and guiding principles, knowing each team’s capabilities, knowing what needs to grow, and creating a meticulous record of all projects and programs funded and 32 / Sync
planned. Even this outline isn’t flawless, and it has to be broken down into measurable bites for each team to tackle. It has to have the flexibility of a living document, Madan emphasizes, with the ability to change as needed. That can happen with the cooperation of a team that values and practices communication and cross-functional collaboration. Much of a team’s willingness to cooperate starts from the top, as many in both the academic and information technology sectors will report. The role of a CIO or IT manager is changing, Madan says, as organizations look for leaders who can work as strategic—or stratactical—business partners. As that role changes, the requirements an individual should meet in order to fill it are changing as well. Madan lays it out in no uncertain terms: an IT leader needs to have completed undergraduate or graduate work in technology, engineering, and business; seven to ten years in the industry, with operations and process improvement experience; and an understanding of end-user experience interfaces and functions. But knowledge is far from enough. A successful IT leader has to focus on how to foster communication and collaboration; create a specific, day-by-day business plan that captures big-picture goals; outline cross-functional priorities; and prepare outlines that specify where the IT function is presently and how it should and can grow on a specific timeline. One major challenge faced by every IT leader, and most managers in every industry, is stepping into a role, team, and function that have already been defined prior to the executive’s arrival. Madan mentions the legacy systems in place that many in higher education have to work with, but that isn’t the first thing he would fix if the entire department was scrapped and had to be rebuilt. “I would request additional funding to invest more in our people,” he says. “We have an awesome team that is talented and relentless in the pursuit of providing excellent services and solutions.” Additional training for these individuals would allow them to become the strategic business partners—and the eventual IT leaders—he knows they have the potential to be. The future of IT is changing, and that change is felt across the sector in many different industries. In the midst of digital disruption, Madan believes future IT leaders will soon need to focus as much on user experience as they would on system design and network architecture, in an effort to meet the needs of cloud computing, mobility, and the Internet of Things. Human factors and ergonomics will be considered just as important as functionality. To that end, leaders will have to be focused on the business. In this way, the IT leader driving down Broadway on his way to a private sector position will be the same as the one hurrying across a VCC campus. Issue 002
The modern technology environment is in a state of flux, which means CIOs need to balance a constantly shifting number of projects. Chris K. Moore takes us inside his work at Davis Family Holdings, where he’s created an effective IT management strategy for the company and its many subsidiaries.
Thanks to the omnipresence of technology, modern IT leaders have evolved in the past twenty years from managing one discrete business function to participating in practically all of them. An illustrative example of this shift is carried out by Chris K. Moore, executive vice president and CIO at Davis Family Holdings Inc., a family-owned company with five very different subsidiaries: premium quartz countertop manufacturer Cambria, vacation airline Sun Country Airlines, mortgage lender Cambria Mortgage, title company Cambria Title, and dairy farming enterprise Davis Family Dairies. Although each subsidiary of Davis Family Holdings operates independently of its siblings, all five fall under the tutelage of Moore, who joined the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company in 2014 in order to unite disparate IT organizations around a single strategic vision: building an IT function that understands and serves the needs of the business. “The ownership is making a significant investment in IT across its five different companies,” Moore says. “My job is to make sure they’re getting some type of return on that investment in terms of IT service and delivery.” It’s easier said than done, especially when time, attention, and resources are divided among five different entities. Still, Moore manages. His secret isn’t technology—a game-changing smartphone app, for instance, or a robot assistant—but rather teamwork. And his teammate? The business. At any given moment, Davis Family Holdings is executing seventy-five to eighty IT projects across its five subsidiaries. Some of them are minuscule, others are massive. Cambria, for instance, is currently involved in a large ERP selection and implementation project, while Sun Country Airlines is busy replacing its public-facing website and booking engine. Cambria Mortgage, on the 34 / Sync
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Subsidiaries under the Davis Family Holdings umbrella
Active IT projects under the supervision of Chris K. Moore and the projectmanagement office, spread across the company and its subsidiaries
other hand, is preparing to implement a new mortgage origination package, while Davis Family Dairies is upgrading the firmware in its milking machines. “It’s all over the place,” says Moore, who sits at the tip of an IT pyramid that’s formed by the subsidiaries’ multifarious projects. “It’s challenging, but so far I’ve been able to balance everything.” For Moore, “balance” is the product of smart logistics and executive sponsorship. On the logistics front, he schedules his time carefully, typically spending two days a week at Cambria, two days a week at Sun Country, and one day a week divided among the company’s other three holdings. “I have an office at Cambria and an office at Sun Country, but you can’t be everywhere at one time,” Moore acknowledges. “It takes some personal discipline.” Although his time with subsidiaries is limited, executive sponsorship ensures that Moore’s moments with each are maximized. “I’m here to help prioritize and make sure IT delivers, but the folks in the business
“You can’t establish credibility and build trust when you’re isolated inside a data center.”
Pending IT projects
months Average project length
years Project planning horizon
Average hours per project
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have to participate,” Moore says. “That’s the only way to move IT projects forward.” Indeed, in order for IT to serve its business customers properly, its business customers must participate in the IT process. “The business must bring some type of need or want to IT—‘We need this particular business function,’ for example, or, ‘We need this type of reporting,’” Moore says. “What IT brings to the table, in turn, is the right technology solution—‘Yes, we can help you with that, either by picking the right IT solution or building it, or some combination thereof.’” At Cambria and Sun Country Airlines, that exchange takes place within a project-management office (PMO) staffed by representatives from both IT and the business. “Everybody wants their project to be at the front of the queue, but when you have fifty or a hundred projects, they can’t all be number one,” Moore continues. “The PMO should be the function within IT, or adjunct to IT, which determines the priority of different projects.” Without business participation, information technology is forced to determine priorities arbitrarily. With buy-in, however, IT can determine the benefits that different projects deliver—whether that’s increased cost savings, new efficiencies, or additional revenue— and rank them appropriately.
CHRIS K. MOORE’S GUIDING PRINCIPLES Communicate clearly I rely on verbal and face-to-face communication. Which isn’t to say I don’t use e-mail—I do—but that’s how I keep a pulse on things: by meeting and talking to people. Challenge your team members People need a challenge, and the way you challenge them is by setting goals that stretch them. If people don’t have goals, and they’re just fighting fires every day, they’re going to leave. Know your customers To be effective, IT must meet the needs of its internal business customers. To do that, you’ve got to understand what your customers do and how they work.
“It’s about the business stepping up and demonstrating what value they’re going to deliver if IT executes their project,” explains Moore, who says the most successful PMOs are those that have clear charters explaining what they will and will not do. “PMOs can be a hindrance rather than a help if they’re not implemented correctly; it’s important that you make it clear to the business, ‘The PMO isn’t here to tell you what to do or how to run your business; it’s here to help you prioritize your projects and achieve your business objectives.’” Unfortunately, a clear PMO charter isn’t enough. To truly gain business buy-in, Moore’s department must actively build personal relationships with its customers. “A lot of IT people believe they can sit at their desks all day and communicate via e-mail or instant message,” Moore says. “That’s not good enough. You need to get out there and meet with your customers face to face. You can’t establish credibility and build trust when you’re isolated inside a data center or an IT office space.” Along with good time management, a strong PMO and engaged customers are the ingredients that help Moore balance so many projects across so many businesses. More importantly, they’re the ingredients that afford him the versatility he needs to be a flexible business partner. “It doesn’t matter if you have one business or twenty; as a CIO, you have to understand all the different functions of any given company, be it sales, marketing, finance, manufacturing, or HR,” Moore concludes. “I have to understand: How do you produce a quartz countertop? How does a flight get from Minneapolis to Dallas? How does somebody originate a loan? How does milk get from a dairy to the end customer? CIOs have to have a very broad exposure to all parts of the business, because all those different parts run on technology. You have to be a businessperson first and an IT person second.”
Chris Moore is a true partner of ESP IT. He understands the value of building a relationship so we can find him the best talent, ultimately saving him time. Our consultants know where they stand; he is clear about expectations, he values his people, and he treats them with respect. Issue 002
Sync talks with
Sandra Seres & Luis Canepari Interview by Mary Kenney
It’s been more than forty years since a class-action lawsuit at Newsweek demanded that female employees be integrated into the editor-and-writer track, but women’s fight for workplace equality continues today. This is particularly true in industries like technology and computing. A 2013 report by the National Center for Women and Information Technology showed that just 26 percent of professional computing jobs in the United States were held by women. That problem is even more challenging at companies like Goldcorp Inc., which works in a mining industry often dominated by male employees. Sandra Seres, director of IT strategy, analytics, and innovation, and vice president of IT Luis Canepari work to promote diversity at the gold production company, and it’s paying off.
What does the tech industry look like for women today? Sandra Seres: I’ve been in the industry for twenty-four years, and it’s much more diverse now than when I started. In the 1990s, you seldom saw women as managers, and you never saw a female CIO. There’s been a steady increase over the last decade, and today, women sync-magazine.com
are becoming CIOs and CEOs of IT corporations.
Sandra Seres Director of Strategy, Analytics, and Innovation Goldcorp
Luis Canepari Vice President of IT Goldcorp
Luis Canepari: I don’t think there’s much of a gender gap in IT anymore. It’s getting so much better. But mining is still a male-dominated industry, so we work to overcome that and make diversity at our workplace a top priority.
stereotype of programming-only dissuades girls and young women from choosing tech as their field of work or study.
What does Goldcorp do to address the disparity?
Seres It’s an up and down story, really. Women are still underrepresented in most areas, and the number of graduates in computer science is dropping. At Goldcorp, half of our managers are women, but that’s because Goldcorp makes diverse recruitment a priority.
Seres Our approach to diversity is clearly defined in our code of conduct, and it’s based on antidiscrimination policies. It’s one of the most comprehensive codes and set of core values out there. We have a program called Creating Choices, an experiential training and development program for our female workforce. Graduates of the program will be able to participate in a new course, Growing Choices, starting in 2015. It helps women expand their capabilities and grow into management positions.
Why is it difficult for women to break into this field?
What other programs do you have to help women develop as leaders?
Seres It’s harder for women to choose to pursue a technical degree. There are so many negative stereotypes about the industry. Most people think that all IT professionals do is programming, but there are so many opportunities, such as communications, graphic design, and branding. But that
Seres We have a mentorship program, which I participate in. It’s very interesting, fun, and rewarding. It’s not quite the same as coaching; your mentor serves as your sounding board, listening to challenges or issues that the mentee faces and discussing different ways to approach problems. We’re a geo-
That’s all great news. Does the gender gap still exist for you at all?
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Percentage of female employees at Goldcorp
Seniormanagement positions held by women
Sierra Systems delivers superior information technology solutions and consulting services helping organizations achieve measurable improvements in strategic and operational performance to solve
complex business problems. MANAGEMENT CONSULTING
graphically dispersed organization, so sometimes it’s hard for people in IT to connect with one another. This fosters collaboration.
Why is promoting advancement for women a priority at Goldcorp? Seres: Goldcorp has a high level of integrity. We live our values. We reward diversity and address discrimination, and I’m excited to be part of a company that embraces the benefits of gender diversity. Having women in leadership positions encourages a lot of us and makes us feel that there are open doors. There are ways we can progress, and we don’t have hurdles that you might see in other companies. Canepari: A diverse workforce benefits everyone at the company. We constantly reach out to try to attract skilled workers of any gender. Our internal programs help women grow within the company. What benefits have you seen? Seres: The way that Goldcorp approaches issues is different than the way male-dominated companies do, in my experience. Having people from different backgrounds and with different personalities, priorities, and ways of socializing creates broader, more informed discussions about challenges and issues.
SYSTEMS INTEGRATION MANAGED SERVICES
sierrasystems.com Sierra Systems and Goldcorp have enjoyed a highly productive relationship over the past several years. We are proud to be part of your operational success and look forward to continuing to provide you with seamless IT operations and outsourcing services. Our mutual commitment to excellent customer service and high delivery standards have allowed us to build a long-term and trusting relationship. 38 / Sync
While most experts agree that the gender gap in computing and technology is growing smaller, many organizations, such as the National Center for Women & Information Technology, argue that we still have a long way to go. Hereâ€™s a look at the situation by the numbers.
related job openings expected in the United States by 2022
24% CIO positions
computing jobs in the 2013 US workforce held by women
64% Decline in
at Fortune 100 companies held by women in 2012
first-year undergraduate women majoring in computer science between 2000 and 2012
The situation at the tech titans Women
35% 28% 17%
* 1% of Yahoo positions other/not disclosed
SOURCES: National Center for Women & Information Technology, Workforce Diversity at Yahoo, Diversity breakdown at Apple.com, Diversity at Google
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EXPAND Move Ideas Into the World
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REVOLUTION 4.0 The emergence of the smart factory is upon us, and itâ€™s changing how we think about manufacturing. With a new consulting firm, Barry Brunetto prepares companies for the future.
By Mary Kenney | Photos by Mitchell Dyer
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Barry Brunetto 4th Revolution Consulting Founder
“No matter what business you’re in, you’re going to feel that impact.” 44 / Sync
Barry Brunetto has made his career in information systems, and as a technology leader in the manufacturing industry, he is part of the so-called fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0. The term, coined in 2011 at the Hanover Fair, refers to the computerization of industries such as manufacturing and the widespread adoption of the Internet of Things. Some experts believe the age of the “smart factory” is upon us and that the majority of manufacturers will have adopted interconnected machinery within the next five to ten years. How these developments will ultimately shake out is still in question, which is why, at the start of this year, Brunetto launched 4th Revolution Consulting to help companies navigate these changes. He brings to the table seventeen years at Blount International, a manufacturer of forestry, lawn, and agriculture equipment. His work there gave him firsthand experience with the trends changing manufacturing. Several aspects of the revolution interest Brunetto for the way they will impact the industry. One is the role of customization. Consumers don’t simply want a phone anymore—they want a device that makes calls, holds all of their favorite apps, is encased in their favorite logos, and remembers all of their personal details. The days of consumers buying a mass-produced product and using it as-is are slowly coming to an end. Brunetto references a recent article in the Wall Street Journal to offer McDonald’s as an example: millennials shun the franchise in favor of Chipotle, Panera, and Five Guys—all chains that market types and combinations of food that can be matched to each diner’s preferences. This is the generation that drives the tech industry, Brunetto adds, and that attitude is not limited to food. Customization will be increasingly important to manufacturing companies, which are just beginning to explore new ways to tailor the consumer experience for each individual or group. While at Blount, part of Brunetto’s job was to envision ways for the company to follow this trend and create a better user experience. Brunetto also sees exciting potential in the development of smart items. The Internet of Things is becoming the norm for individuals and could become the norm for companies as well, drastically improving efficiency as different machines, departments, and processes interconnect and work together. “The remote control of some of the things happening in our nation’s factories is huge,” Brunetto says. “It will definitely change the way we work.” The final aspect of the revolution that interests Brunetto is the development of smart devices and analytics. Sophisticated sensors are being built into everything from car engines to factory machinery. These sensors will eventually be able to send information to large databases, which can then be analyzed by predicIssue 002
PREPPING FOR INDUSTRY 4.0
At Blount, Brunetto led three initiatives to enable the capabilities of smart manufacturing. An Interconnected Enterprise System Brunetto developed strategies that allow access to the system using anywhere, anytime, any-device parameters. Tools like SAP Persona and SAP MII (Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence) can enhance user interface without the need to customize the software. Putting Big Data to Work Blount is interfacing data from its production machines into SAP MII to capture real-time data to improve the production process. This allows easy access to user insight via the Internet and social media, which can lead to new and improved products and services. 24-7 Customer Access In 2009, Blount contracted with Corevist to provide its US distributors and European dealers real-time access into Blount’s SAP system. Dealers can now place orders, see the status of their shipments, and print everything from packing lists to invoices.
tive analytical software that can measure performance and longevity. But the use of big data will not be limited to internal operations. Outreach to consumers will help a company to create better consumer experiences. This could be extremely important for manufacturers like Blount, as most of such company’s products are not sold directly to the consumer but through distribution channels. By tapping into the voice of the end user, a manufacturer could have access to previously unheard insight and use that knowledge to boost performance. Many of these developments are in the works and are years away from deployment—some experts believe these trends are ten to twenty years away from being the norm. Brunetto is focused on keeping manufacturers apprised of the latest developments in the tech industry by looking beyond the technology itself and trends to evaluate what it means for the manufacturer. In every presentation, Brunetto emphasizes that changes in technology are driven by generational differences, and understanding the different priorities and mind-sets of consumers, be they baby boomers or millennials, is key to understanding how another industrial revolution might emerge. “I was at a conference and the speaker showed a video of his one-yearold daughter playing with an iPad, using her fingers to move the screens,” Brunetto recalls. “Then he gave her a regular magazine, and she just stared at it. She tried to move it like she had the iPad and couldn’t figure it out. [The speaker’s] daughter has been rewired by Steve Jobs. No matter what business you’re in, you’re going to feel that impact.” In his e-mails, Brunetto uses the tagline, “Businesses that do not know how to do business in the future will not be in business in the future.” With his new consulting firm, he will help companies address this challenge and pave the way for the fourth industrial revolution. sync-magazine.com
SAP eCommerce in 90 days. Like a chainsaw through a tree. In 2009, Blount International, a manufacturer of outdoor products and power equipment, launched its first b2b web channel. Now, the company has 12 b2b websites for separate brands and subsidiaries, all connected to one instance of SAP. Together, these sites process 25% of Blount’s total revenue—all without one single IT hire. Find out how Blount did it with:
Download the full case study at www.corevist.com/blount-story
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A new structure necessitated new capabilities for IP consultancy TechInsights. Bryan Belanger highlights four projects that address the company’s pressing challenges. By Zach Baliva
Business & Metrics Reporting
THE CHALLENGE At TechInsights, 2013 closed with the arrival of a new management team, and the company started 2014 by launching a full business restructuring. Belanger became CIO. “We wanted to update everything to make our use of technology match the innovative nature of our business,” he says. The first step toward widespread transformation was to update an outdated legacy customer relationship management (CRM) system and align sales processes and tools with staff needs.
THE CHALLENGE Prior to 2014, TechInsights had many disparate applications (home-grown and off the shelf) and systems (CRM, finance, quoting, time sheets). Despite the wealth of data, the organization lagged in business intelligence analytics. “We needed a digestible way to share all this data and information we were collecting,” Belanger says. “It’s fine to have reams of data, but what we really need is business intelligence. We needed a new reporting and analytics platform.”
THE SOLUTION Belanger says choosing Salesforce—the gold standard in CRMs—was a no-brainer. The main challenge was to engage stakeholders at every level. By winning buy-in from the top, convincing salespeople of the tool’s potential, and putting together a great team, Belanger insured a smooth transition. Prior to the launch of Salesforce, Belanger and his team interviewed users to uncover needs and preferences. After an October 2014 implementation, he went back to those users to inquire about satisfaction and then optimized the software accordingly.
THE SOLUTION To start, Belanger signed up for a free trial with a company called Domo, an executive-management dashboard and analytics platform delivered in the cloud. He then pulled the trigger on a full subscription in April of last year. Company executives now have access to one platform that integrates data from all of TechInsights’ systems. Executives can generate reports, dashboards, and customizable charts, as well as drill down to a few key metrics, such as specific project revenue, expenses, billable hours, job progress, and other key information.
THE RESULTS Full Salesforce implementation allows TechInsights to move completely into the cloud, thereby providing easy access for salespeople who travel across all corners of the world. “It’s much faster for everyone to update and evaluate information,” Belanger says. “We get better engagement, and people enjoy using a tool that’s more friendly to them.” His engineers deleted some administrative steps and made the programs as “vanilla” as possible to capture only the data needed to enable decision making. This year, Belanger plans to monitor the size of the pipeline and the number of opportunities created. He’ll also look at increases in revenues and margins as well as the reduction in the number of administrative tasks to determine Salesforce’s effectiveness at TechInsights.
THE RESULTS After Belanger created custom dashboards, he and the executive team use Domo at monthly meetings to review what they call TechInsights’ “Golden Metrics.” The system helps leaders see things they never saw before. “We could assume something was over budget, but it was hearsay,” Belanger says. “Now we can track everything with visuals and then know how to address problems that arise. It gives us the intelligence we needed.” Senior executives are making better decisions based on current and valid information. While it’s hard to find the perfect metric, Belanger says the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming—he’s being asked to create new dashboard views on a weekly basis, and the tool is a key fixture at every executive meeting.
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Bryan Belanger TechInsights CIO & Vice President of Business Transformation
Cloud Capabilities THE CHALLENGE Prior to cloud implementation, TechInsights relied on an inhouse team to maintain data-storage systems and all other IT functions. Although effective, the tech staff and developers represented potential savings in both time and money. If Belanger could find an alternative, his staff would be free to work on higher-priority functions while his company could eliminate line items in the budget.
Reduction in capital spending due to TechInsights’ migration to cloud systems
THE SOLUTION As TechInsights migrated to the cloud, Belanger’s plan included ways to access the “latest and greatest” while enhancing mobility. Since the company already used Microsoft programs, he selected Office 365. Critical IT functions like data storage and simple back-ups were pushed to the cloud so IT professionals were freed up to do other things. Although Office 365 is basically an out-of-the-box solution, Belanger was able to leverage the collaboration utility through Skype/Lync to make communication easier for his colleagues scattered around the world. He also trained users on Sharepoint/ OneDrive for document sharing and on the ability to sync data between home and work computers.
THE RESULTS Office 365 increases efficiency and collaboration while reducing IT support time on low value-add projects. The programs are also helping with disaster recovery and business continuity planning.
Mobility THE CHALLENGE With offices in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, access is incredibly important for salespeople who are often on the go. After hearing stories from frustrated colleagues about waiting to boot up laptops, find Wi-Fi, and hook up a virtual private network, Belanger asked his team to engineer ways to increase and enhance mobility.
How can we help you?
THE SOLUTION TechInsights’ sales team is now equipped with 3G-capable iPads loaded with Salesforce and Office 365 apps. Documents and reports can be pulled up on the spot. “If a customer calls a salesperson on Friday evening, he should be able to access any relevant information at the drop of a hat,” Belanger says.
THE RESULTS After providing mobility tools to fifty customer-facing users, Belanger started to hear feedback. Employees no longer need to go to the office for a conference call. Customers’ issues are met with better response times. Data reporting is more up-todate, and collaboration rates are on the rise. With new mobility solutions, Belanger will track things like turnaround time, device usage, and the frequency of report data accessed while mobile.
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Sync talks with
Cy Fenton Interview by Zach Baliva
In the last few years, cybersecurity has become top of mind for many retail organizations. From his posts at Books-A-Million, Cy Fenton has had a front-row seat to the growing threat landscape, and in 2014 he stepped up to chair the National Retail Federation’s IT Security Council, a task force dedicated to addressing threats head on. He discusses the organization’s first year and where it plans to go from here.
Cy Fenton Books-A-Million Senior Vice President of IT Booksamillion.com President National Retail Federation’s IT Security Council Chairman
What is the state of technology and security in retail? How does that drive your work today?
Photo by Barb Jones
Fenton: I’ve been involved with the National Retail Foundation (NRF) for a long time, and it’s an industry group that gives small, medium, and large retailers a voice in Washington and in promoting retail. I sat on the NRF CIO Council, where we interact with other tech leaders, because even though our businesses are all different, everybody is trying to solve the same problems. We’re all dealing with large, powerful competitors like Amazon. We’re all trying to be relevant in the digital age . . . so it’s valuable to share problems, opportunities, solutions, and ideas. In 2013, we came together and realized how issues around security were starting to come to the forefront. Did something specific make security issues more pressing? 48 / Sync
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Fenton: The incident with Target thrust it into the mainstream. What was the atmosphere among your peers following the breach? Fenton: CIOs have always been concerned about the security of our customers’ data, but after such a major breach, we all started thinking, “I wonder if my company is next.” Seventy million credit and debit cards were impacted, and the world became aware. In our January 2014 meeting, we decided to take action. In the wake of the Target breach, we needed information, so we organized a conference call with iSIGHT Partners in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security. The security firm walked us through their technical analysis and postmortem on the Target incident. We had more than 120 people on the call, and realized we needed a safe place to talk about alerts and issues. That’s why we created the NRF IT Security Council, which I now chair. Tell me about your vision for the group. Fenton: We want to build bridges with vendors and government agencies like Homeland Security and the FBI to make alerts, information, and resources available to our members and all retailers. We have about 200 members now, but we plan to extend membership to retailers outside of the NRF, because it’s critical to get this information out. We’ve established an alert mechanism that sends out notices from government agencies, and we’re looking at other important steps. We hold webinars and face-to-face meetings built around educating our group and the larger industry on best practices for securing our networks and understanding the threat landscape. We also talk about emerging technologies that help reduce the overall risk. 50 / Sync
How real is the risk?
THE NRF’S IT SECURITY COUNCIL
Fenton: It’s real and it’s increasing. In the Target breach, we saw extremely talented hackers that were highly specific and focused on one company. These teams know as much about the tech infrastructure as the individual companies do, and they are smart, creative, and talented. I can tell you that inside the security community, we were amazed at their ability to move data around. A retailer’s relationship to our customer is the most important thing, and we need to guard their information zealously. After Target, the conversation went from “if ” we get hacked to “when” we get hacked.
AREAS OF FOCUS Networking and communications: The council brings together 190+ members for a common cause.
That paints a grim picture. What should a tech leader at a retailer do in the environment? Fenton: You have to know the tactics and you have to know your systems. We have to be perfect, because all a hacker needs is one small vulnerability in a sea of access. It’s delicate, because our customers and associates need and expect wide access, but we have to keep the hackers out. What new threats are you seeing? Fenton: There’s a new and popular tactic called spear-phishing, which is a targeted e-mail attack on one person in an enterprise that has mid-level authority. It’s a direct, innocuous, and well-crafted e-mail. If that person responds, their computer or user credentials are compromised. The hackers are in, and away they go. How should enterprise IT teams react? Fenton: It’s like sweeping a desert— your work is never done. There are good vendors and good tools that help us see what’s going on in our networks. You have to redouble your efforts to try to know what’s
Real-time information exchange: Through partnerships with the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center and federal agencies, the council provides a forum where members can share information, ideas, problems, and solutions with their peers. Benchmarking, research, and publishing: The council is working with NRF’s CIO subcommittee to establish riskmanagement priorities. Conferences, webinars, and educational meetings: NRF’s IT Security Council is expanding its series of events in both remote and live settings. Industry representation with lawmakers: Council members support a federal law to standardize threat response in the retail space and to ensure cyber crimes are investigated and prosecuted. EARLY SUCCESS In late July 2014, the Secret Service issued an alert about a POS malware called BackOff. The NRF system broadcast that alert the same day to more than 200 members. A member used that information to check 1,000 stores and found evidence of an early penetration. Because of the timely notification, the member was able to limit the attack to less than 2 percent of their store footprint.
happening in your own electronic boundaries in new ways. You have to realize that you can’t dig a moat deep enough or build walls high enough to protect your data. It’s about protecting the most important things. Your networks will always have a certain level of exposure, but hopefully the sensitive core stuff has been moved out and away from those most vulnerable places in a system of layered defense. The other thing you can do is make yourself more aware of what’s going on out there.
Beyond the loss of customer or private information, what’s at stake? Fenton: Your company’s reputation. In today’s world of fierce competition, if you lose the trust of your customer because there was an event that wasn’t handled well, or if you’re playing fast and loose with security, you’re risking it all. Issue 002
“if you lose the trust of your customer because there was an event that wasn’t handled well, or if you’re playing fast and loose with security, you’re risking it all.”
What happens to a post-breach retail company? Fenton: Customer loss due to breaches is real. Large companies can lose hundreds of millions of dollars and alienate customers. If I’m a CIO at a medium-sized retailer, what should I be doing? Fenton: You need to realize that this is no longer an IT problem; this is an enterprise problem. Before, we had IT cyber-response plans; now we have company-wide plans to prepare for this eventuality. Last year, I was part of a war-game scenario at a conference where I was the CIO of a fake company that had a breach. We responded in real time in front of a large crowd of observers as news outlets responded, customers were calling stores, stocks were dropping, and the CEO had to respond publically. That’s what every company needs to be prepared for. We’re going to do that very exercise at [Books-A-Million] soon. You mentioned a public response. When is a retailer obligated to make a breach public? Fenton: There are different state laws that dictate this. The NRF is sync-magazine.com
pursuing a federal standard on these laws, because most companies operate in numerous states. When is the right time? The right time is when you have the right information. Companies do themselves a disservice by releasing inaccurate information. You don’t want to release early numbers about a breach only to come back and admit that early numbers were low. Create a company-wide response plan and practice it, so that when there is a breach, you can make a rapid response with accurate information.
Should consumers panic? Is it time to ditch plastic and move back to an all-cash system?
and encryption, which disguises your information at the point of sale and uses a proxy number with the bank. There are great advancements coming soon.
Where will the NRF Security Council go from here? Fenton: We’re working with other retail associations to do more together and push these best practices as wide as we can. We’re talking to large security conferences to add retail verticals to what they’re already doing, and we’re looking to take the lead in federal legislation. We’re doing all we can to make sure the customer’s information is as safe as possible in the retail world.
Fenton: Of course not. We live in a world that’s built on this great promise of the convenience that all this technology brings us. It brings some peril, too, but retailers and credit-card companies are moving to make sure this is all done in a safe and protected way. Apple Pay is a perfect example. If a crook steals transactions from Apple Pay, it’s a one-time use number that can only be used with that particular retailer. Card brands and retailers are implementing a number of solutions like tokenization Sync / 51
COMING JUNE 2015 thealumnisociety.com
For sponsorship opportunities, contact Krista Lane Horbenko, firstname.lastname@example.org
A PROJECT BY
Collecting data is only the first step in unlocking the value in information. True differentiation is the result of putting that data to work, not only for your company, but your customers. For Armada’s Mark Ohlund, that begins by identifying actionable data points to automate the supply chain and improve efficiency. By Evan Cline
50% Mark Ohlund Armada CIO & Senior Vice President of IT
Improvement in data accuracy following Armada’s implementation of the 24TRACC application
1,200% Increase in available storage space
Integrated trading partners using the 24TRACC application sync-magazine.com
When Mark Ohlund accepted the position of CIO at Armada in 2011, he began leveraging the company’s available data to improve internal and external customer decision making. “To accomplish that goal, there were two areas in need of significant improvement,” Ohlund says. “The first was integration with our trading partners: distribution centers, suppliers, carriers, and customers. The second was the creation of a purpose-built data-warehouse environment to store and process incoming data.” Available storage space was quickly increased by more than twelve times through business continuity initiatives and the build-out of a data warehouse. Improved data integration turned out to be a larger undertaking. In logistics and supply chain management, most of the data is derived from inventory-related transactions: What is the current inventory level? Which inventory is at risk of expiring? Where is each particular item currently located within the overall supply chain? And most importantly, how do each of these factors relate to each other? When operating on a global scale, with thousands of daily supply chain transactions, a company can easily drown in a sea of data. To avoid this, Armada’s focus is on capturing actionable data. “If it doesn’t support part of a process somewhere within the organization, then it’s not actionable, and it’s not something we need to see,” Ohlund says. In order to find that actionable data, Ar-
mada needed to get organized. In the past, the company had provided purpose-built scripts to individual trading partners in order to perform data integration. These custom-built tools were fragile, inflexible, and incapable of scaling. To solve this problem, the Armada team rewrote the company’s proprietary application, 24TRACC, following a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. “Today, 24TRACC provides visualizations and reports while allowing visibility into customer inventory levels and supporting a number of supply chain related processes,” Ohlund says. For example, last-minute transportation costs can be avoided by identifying and avoiding their cause. “Just like airline bookings, the later you acquire that transportation, the more expensive it will be,” Ohlund says. By analyzing relevant data, Armada is able to observe patterns of behavior leading to increased premium freight charges and make recommendations that enable the company’s clients to acquire additional freight capacity at a reduced rate. Armada also needed to address issues of data viscosity. “Historically in this industry, data gets transmitted in daily batches sent early in the morning,” Ohlund says. “We get one transmission of all the previous day’s activities, process it, and load it into our various applications for visibility.” By 9 a.m., that data may already be up to twenty-four hours old. “So our big push with our trading partners is to have more regular data transmission and eventually Sync / 53
ARMADA’S DATA PROJECTS INCREASED STORAGE Armada plans to once again double its available storage space in order to acquire point-of-sale data and explore its connection to the larger supply chain. UPGRADED TRANSMISSION Armada expects to see all trading partners relaying data on a near-hourly basis within two years, and in real time within ten years. PROACTIVE ALERTS Currently, dashboards must be consulted in order to identify hiccups within the supply chain. Armada would like to program the system with data triggers that will recognize potential faults and alert trading partners via e-mail, instant message, or a phone call.
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real-time data transmission triggered automatically by their enterprise applications,” Ohlund says. In order to efficiently process various transmission levels, Armada deployed a new integration platform two years ago. “From a data-processing perspective, the biggest improvements are data-cleansing and redundancy-reducing activities, which make the data flow as pristine as possible,” Ohlund says. Preliminary results indicate as much as a 50 percent improvement in data accuracy over the earlier system. The automated data extraction also works independently of human interaction, increasing productivity and transmission speeds. The new system marks an evolution in how Ohlund and his team approach data. “We are moving from a ‘rows-and-columns’ understanding of data to a visualization of data,” he says. Using actionable data to generate reports that display trends and inform customer decision making, 24TRACC processes the underlying forensic information. “I’m always asking the team, ‘What can this tell me in five seconds or less?’ Driving down the highway, a glance at your dashboard tells you everything you need to know,” Ohlund says. “If you’re designing displays that take minutes for a human to analyze and digest, then functionally it’s not a dashboard.” Currently, many system processes are still primarily dependent on human operators, but that is expected to change. “We’re establishing business rules and manual processes with the intent of automating and codifying those business rules so that we can automate the responses to data triggers,” Ohlund says. Think about those premium freight charges. Under the current model, the system generates a report indicating the shipping space required, but is still dependent on an operator to act on the report. The next step will be creating proactive alerts to notify an operator when reserved shipping space is below the required threshold. The culmination will be an entirely automated process: a set of data triggers automatically tenders a request to the carrier. “Each time you can define the limits of an operation and codify what you do to remediate occurrences outside those limits, you automate more and more of the supply chain,” Ohlund says. “The human operators involved become the detailed exception handlers, and the management and operation of rote supply chain activities become increasingly efficient through automation.” Issue 002
According to Verizon Enterprise Solutionsâ€™ State of the Market: Enterprise Cloud 2014 report, 65 percent of businesses are now using cloud technology, services, and solutions, with the CIO/CTO controlling more than 80 percent of total cloud spending within the organization. No longer is it a question of whether or not you should bring the cloud to your organization (you should), but how it can transform your business and drive unprecedented value. ASK YOURSELF
How are you continuing to show the value of cloud solutions to your users across the business? Are your cloud service providers keeping up with your needs? Do you have a handle on shadow IT operations that might be hindering a unified IT strategy?
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FOCUS PUBLIC SECTOR
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Cloud Smarts King County, home of Seattle, is bringing its legacy technology into the modern era with a new private cloud. Spearheaded by CIO William Kehoe, the transformation is the latest in a line of initiatives brought about by the countyâ€™s reorganized and refocused IT team. By Peter Fabris
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FOCUS PUBLIC SECTOR
Technology, on the other hand, changes rapidly, and governments often have a tougher time than the private sector keeping current with IT. But public sector organizations that do fast forward to the future reap huge benefits. Recent enterprise IT developments, such as server virtualization and cloud computing, can enable great leaps in efficiency and in the quality of service to the public. William Kehoe, CIO for King County, Washington, a 13,000-employee organization that serves Seattle and nearby communities, has moved his IT unit far down that road of transition. In addition to moving to the cloud and standardized systems, he has completely restructured the county IT organizational structure and the way it delivers services. As an agent of sweeping organizational change, Kehoe has learned that the human element is more challenging to manage than the technological one. When Kehoe stepped into the county CIO role in August 2010, he presided over a decentralized staff of 430 employees spread among multiple offices and facilities. These teams managed unconnected, siloed systems. With more than 1,600 IT application solutions to maintain and support, the county was spending a bundle on outdated technology. It was an unsustainable model that needed drastic change. Kehoe’s first step was to create a central IT department to replace department-level shops, a process that was completed in July 2011. With IT staff no longer reporting to a business area, the new organizational structure would take some getting used to—both for staff and clientele. If that wasn’t enough change, Kehoe would soon implement a system whereby departments place an order and are charged for each service performed by the central IT unit. This initiative demanded a big upfront labor investment—7,000 staff hours—to devise a catalog with rates for seventeen specific services. The efforts produced “a more efficient service structure based on outputs, not inputs,” Kehoe says. “We changed the conversation with stakeholders.” IT morphed from units that primarily only looked at the needs of their departments to one large provider sync-magazine.com
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Photo by Edmund Lowe Photography / Shutterstock.com
Governments have reputations for bureaucratic inertia—in many cases for good reason. Strategies, systems, and policies get entrenched and perpetuate for decades because substantive change takes extraordinary effort and strong leadership.
William Kehoe King County, WA CIO
the human element is more challenging to manage than the technological one.
taking a countywide consultative, strategic approach. “That’s how we could introduce new platforms like the cloud,” Kehoe says. Consolidating servers, moving to the cloud, and standardizing applications will save the county millions in the long run. For example, moving most processing and storage functions to the cloud has allowed the county to reduce its data centers from twenty-eight to two. The countywide adoption of cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 has streamlined the technology architecture, which has made it easier to standardize services through all departments. These two initiatives will save untold hours in maintenance and training. While Kehoe won the backing of county leaders for the organizational and technological transformation, he nevertheless had a formidable challenge to sell the plan to King County’s IT staff. “A big part of it was getting me out in various forums to communicate IT strategy so all staff would know where they fit in and how valuable they are,” he says. The new alignment benefits IT staff at all levels, as it allows for more opportunities for training in new skills and for movement among disciplines. Staffers are also encouraged to bring ideas forward to improve efficiency and service. Training opportunities in the 60 / Sync
latest applications and platforms, along with exposure to a wider range of challenges, give IT personnel many more opportunities to become well-rounded professionals. This has boosted internal support for the transition. The county’s departmental managers were also wary of IT staff centralization at first, fearing that the lack of technical specialists embedded in their offices would mean less attentive service. And with a new ticketing system that queues orders for IT services, department managers wondered if their needs would be met quickly enough. To help alleviate those fears, Kehoe installed senior staff members as IT liaisons for each department. Based on site at each departmental office, these senior IT staffers report directly to Kehoe and advocate for each department’s IT needs. If an urgent request gets lost in the shuffle, the matter can be escalated to the boss. “That made things more palatable,” Kehoe says. Service-level agreements with a majority of the departments provide departmental managers additional comfort. Kehoe waited until after the IT reorganization was completed and departmental managers had become accustomed to the new structure before introducing the fee-for-service system. “If we had tried to do both at the same time, it would have been too much change all at once,” Kehoe says. The new arrangement frees up IT departmental liaisons to focus fully on their clients. “They actually have more time to devote to serving the business units now, because they no longer have the operational and staff oversight responsibilities,” Kehoe says. Benefits of the new IT environment to the county are numerous. “It’s easier to set direction based on new technology,” Kehoe says, “and it allows us to move much faster than in the past, when we had eight or nine individual IT departments. IT is better aligned with the county strategic plan.” The savings from IT operations are welcome—the county is saving $700,000 annually from the implementation of a private cloud/standard virtual environment. At the same time, worries have been reduced over how to keep legacy systems running as staffers with expertise in older applications and languages retire. The changes have been dramatic and sudden, especially by government standards. The pejorative phrase, “good enough for government work,” certainly doesn’t apply to King County’s IT department.
TAKEAWAY To successfully implement sweeping IT changes, public sector organizations need to set ambitious yet achievable goals, manage expectations, break large tasks into manageable steps, and communicate with all stakeholders.
BIG IDEAS IN TECHNOLOGY LEADERSHIP
PRINT & DIGITAL EDITIONS FIND US IN THE APP STORE SYNC-MAGAZINE.COM
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In bringing the private cloud to the University System of Georgia, Curt Carver is driving new capabilities for the state’s leading educational institutions. How the move is changing the game for students, faculty, and the state government itself. By Emma Janzen
When universities outside of Georgia discover how the state is using the private cloud to leverage learning capabilities for students and faculty, it’s only a matter of time before other higher education systems follow suit. The path to move the University System of Georgia’s disjointed IT services to the cloud model originally started out of necessity. “About fifteen years ago, we figured out that this idea of engaging with lots and lots of vendors to run bandwidth was awkward and cost prohibitive,” says CIO and vice chancellor Curt Carver. As a solution, Carver says the University System bought about 2,800 miles of dark fiber across the state to create a bandwidth service that was “effectively unlimited for each campus.” When Carver joined the department in 2009, the University System was already moving toward the full private-cloud format with increased bandwidth capabilities, storage, data centers, and backup as offered services. The system took off quickly, so Carver started layering Software as a Service (SaaS) on top of that as well. Now, the private cloud caters to 314,000 students across the thirty-one schools in the system; further, 250,000 unique users access the cloud on a daily basis, Carver says, generating more than 50 million hits a day as students access files, participate in discussion boards, and participate in other activities like submitting assignments. One of the most prominent benefits of this technology is the ability for the universities to work at large economies of scale while driving down costs. Instead of negotiating independent contracts with various networks to cater to each of the thirty-one institutions’ 62 / Sync
technological infrastructures individually, the single state package centralizes those costs, saving time, staffing, and substantial funding. Taxpayer dollars can now be allocated to higher priority tasks within the educational system. Secondly, and arguably more importantly, thanks to private control and internal engineering, the university-wide cloud system always works. Fears of outages or times where access is not possible have been assuaged. The academic system can now focus entirely on enabling student success as opposed to wrangling with inefficient technologies. Carver says this is one way to “truly transform higher education,” as it’s “creating a platform for innovation by others.” This concept is especially significant for faculty. Since the streamlined learning management system lives on the cloud, staff can spend more time figuring out ways to elevate their curricula and innovate where that opportunity didn’t exist to the same extent before. To date, more than forty-three terabytes of course material, with 120,000 courses added in fall 2014 alone (and more to be added in upcoming semesters), have been stored as learning management systems and software were brought on board. For Carver, articulating the value of the system to both participants and outsiders is a relatively easy task when he couches the infrastructure in human terms. “This is not just an IT system,” he says. “It’s about the people and how they use it.” As a result, the general reaction has thus far been very positive. “[Students] have really appreciated the new functionality, the fact that it’s mobile-enabled, the ability to get
Miles of fiber-optic cable that makes up the private cloud used by the University System of Georgia, providing rapid access to the centralized service
Terabytes of course material generated by faculty now stored in the cloud. More than 120,000 courses were available to students last fall, with new ones coming on board this spring
Students that will have access to the private cloud when the state’s K–12 institutions come online
Photo by Joe Silva
FOCUS PUBLIC SECTOR
in and do their work and see all their courses in one place.” Yet it’s the reaction from institutions outside of the educational system that best illustrates the cloud’s success. In 2013, Nathan Deal, the governor of Georgia, recognized the potential of the cloud and is now investing in moving all K–12 schools to the system, and 1.6 million students across 6,000 schools will be online by summer 2015. Other state agencies, nonprofits, and even a federal agency have also since reached out to Carver to inquire about joining. “This idea that started fifteen years ago is the mustard seed that’s beginning to blossom into this very large and transformational agent,” Carver says. “The economies of scale and the performance—the system always works—has built trust in this technology that has lead to options for the greater benefit of the citizens of the state of Georgia.” sync-magazine.com
“This idea that started fifteen years ago is the mustard seed that’s beginning to blossom into this very large and transformational agent.”
Curt Carver Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia Vice Chancellor & CIO
TAKEAWAY Through private cloud technologies, the University System of Georgia has not only transformed the way education is conducted at the state’s thirty-one institutions of higher learning, but is also starting to create a stir with other state agencies as well. Sync / 63
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I.T. PROFESSIONALS EXPECT THE NUMBER OF PERSONAL SMARTPHONES AND TABLETS ACCESSING THEIR NETWORKS TO MORE THAN DOUBLE IN THE NEXT TWO YEARS.1 Mobility is praised for propelling staff productivity and collaboration, but getting a handle on this mobile office explosion is a different story. We can help with a complete mobile solution that includes a BYOD policy and device visibility that can help you maintain better control. Total Mobility Management from CDW•G is a comprehensive end-to-end solution that covers each phase of implementation and management to integrate, regulate and simplify all aspects of mobility. To learn more about Total Mobility Management, call 800.808.4239 or visit CDWG.com/mobility
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Source: CDW.com, “Mobility at Work,” September 2013 152532 1
64 / Sync
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Case Study While the City of Calgary’s rapid growth may be driven by private sector jobs, public services must rapidly expand to meet demand. Doug Hodgson profiles four recent projects that put technology to work for citizens. By Evan Cline
The Common Fleet Operating System
CHALLENGE “Our web presence was in need of a refresh,” Hodgson says. “We wanted to build out our new website, but there was also a push to make all of our services available as e-services.” In a city where more than 97 percent of citizens have web access at home, improving online access to city services was a necessity.
CHALLENGE Like any major city, Calgary has a large vehicle fleet spread across several major departments. Hodgson began to wonder how technology could be leveraged to improve asset management. “We wanted to have an onboard modem able to talk to the vehicle’s onboard diagnostics,” Hodgson says. “Vehicles are getting smarter and can now alert a driver or technician when they need an oil change or are running too hot.”
SOLUTION Self-service is the focus of the revitalized Calgary.ca website. “The first thing you’ll be presented with is the Google search box,” Hodgson says. “It’s a departure from the hierarchical way of organizing and presenting content.” Utilizing easily searchable content, citizens can apply for construction permits, complete transactions, submit service requests, and access Calgary’s CITYonline Store or the Open Data Catalogue.
RESULTS Citizens have greater awareness of events transpiring in their city and are able to avoid routine trips to city hall. The city itself also saves money: by moving service requests online, more than $500,000 in costs has been avoided over the last two years.
Submit online service requests Online transactions
Visits to the calgary.ca website in 2013
Portion of visits that arrive via a mobile device sync-magazine.com
Uses of the site
Doug Hodgson City of Calgary CIO & CTO
SOLUTION What began as asset management has grown into 900-plus vehicles connected over the Common Fleet Operating System (CFOS). Interdepartmental communication revealed a slew of optimization opportunities. “Since we’re already putting a mini network in the vehicle, that network could become a field office for the onboard crew,” Hodgson says. CFOS can also track variables such as vehicle location, speed, fuel consumption, and travel time in order to establish a benchmark to gauge future performance.
RESULTS CFOS enables city employees to optimize performance, increase driver safety, and even plot more efficient trash pickup routes. Onboard GPS capabilities allow citizens to track snowplow activity in real time, easing anxiety during snowstorms.
900 Information Searches
Wired fleet vehicles in use by the City of Calgary’s departments, including parks, water, roads, waste and recycling, and fire Sync / 65
CHALLENGE The growth in staff needed to meet the city of Calgary’s new demands puts a lot of stress and strain on the city’s current facilities. “We are in a position where our facilities are full,” Hodgson says. “We cannot afford to go out and build or buy new buildings, so how can we utilize our current space better?”
CHALLENGE In addition to the 97 percent of Calgarians that have home Internet access, 70 percent have access at work. The city saw an opportunity to increase citizen service by increasing public WiFi access at popular city destinations, such as train platforms, arenas, stadiums, and the University of Calgary.
SOLUTION An initiative dubbed Tomorrow’s Workplace is a two-pronged effort aimed at increasing employee mobility and density. By investing in virtual desktops and Wi-Fi expansion, as well as outfitting employees with appropriate technology, Calgary is building a force of flexible, mobile workers. “We are also using more hoteling space and shared space as part of the new configuration and layout,” Hodgson says. “We built a Flexwork Hub in city hall so that employees who work primarily from satellite offices—but are downtown for meetings—can plug into this versatile hub and maintain productivity.”
SOLUTION The city of Calgary partnered with Shaw Communications to provide public Wi-Fi as a free service. “By using our preexisting facilities and network, we were able to provide a point of presence for Shaw to install these Wi-Fi access points.” Hodgson says. The cost to the city is negligible, as it is borne mainly by Shaw. Shaw gains access to city facilities and retains its large customer base at home, at work, and on the go.
RESULTS Still in early deployment, the main benefit to citizens will be in cost-avoidance. But Hodgson also hopes to improve service. “Flexibility moves the service provider closer to the citizen, enabling staff to stay connected no matter their working style or location,” he says.
Flexwork Hub Opened September 15, 2014
RESULTS In just four months, from May 2014 through August 2014, there were more than 163,000 connections to the service, with total data usage peaking at more than 357,000 MB. Devonian Gardens, a large indoor park and botanical garden in the heart of downtown, saw more than 930,000 minutes of use and more than 188,000 MB of data.
New locations planned for the expansion of the city’s Wi-Fi infrastructure
Average visitors per day
Average number of hours worked in the hub per day
Acrodex has proudly supported the City of Calgary’s strategic IT initiatives for over fourteen years. As a trusted adviser, we continue to provide desktop managed and procurement services to all client locations. Our partnership is a reflection of our commitment to service excellence and improving efficiencies to maximize the City of Calgary’s uptime and productivity. 66 / Sync
TAKEAWAY Increased public service does not require increased spending. Doug Hodgson and his team are implementing a number of costand time-saving initiatives that effectively serve the flourishing population of Calgary.
Photo by Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com
FOCUS PUBLIC SECTOR
Technology of the Commons Michael Sylvester leads the IT team at LA County Department of Public Social Services, where he’s using the latest in analytics capabilities to drive efficiency. By Mary Kenney
Michael Sylvester Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services Department CIO & Assistant Director
The phrase, printed on lanyards and the badges clipped to those lanyards, looked like something that belonged in a Fortune 500 company or a Forbes conference: “Focus on the customer.” The people wearing those lanyards worked for neither. That phrase was the slogan of the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services, and the mind-set that Michael Sylvester wanted his team to keep in mind. People who develop technology, Sylvester says, have a tendency to focus on building a product rather than how that product is going to be used. It’s absolutely crucial, whether you’re operating in the public or private sector, to keep the customer in mind. In his role as department CIO and assistant director at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS), Sylvester has fostered close collaboration between teams that focuses on ample, honest feedback. That approach has created an environment that stimulates the creation of great technology solutions, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Recent projects launched by his department have been honored by the American Public Human Services Association, the American Society for Public Administration, and the Center for Digital Government, among others. DPSS’s mobile application, available on the Google Play store and Apple app store, had its soft launch in mid-2014 and began formal marketing later that year. DPSS had already offered the public a website portal in which people could request services; verify benefit issuances; and submit formal paperwork, verification forms, and other needed documents, such as pay stubs. Now citizens can do the same thing on a smartphone or iPad. “We realized that many people don’t have scanners, so our website wasn’t as convenient as we thought for submitting documents,” Sylvester says. “But many people are carrying a built-in scanner in their pocket every day: the camera on their smartphone.” Sync / 67
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FOCUS PUBLIC SECTOR
“We realized that many people don’t have scanners, so our website wasn’t as convenient as we thought for submitting documents. But many people are carrying a built-in scanner in their pocket every day: the camera on their smartphone.”
Users can take photos of the documents they need to submit and upload them using the mobile application. They can also check account balances in the same way someone using a bank app would be able to. “Any Apple or Android user can access it, so the mobile app now reaches more than half of our current online users,” Sylvester explains. “It already had begun taking off after the soft launch, and we think it’s going to continue to grow in popularity.” Another project developed under Sylvester’s management won more awards than any other program in the department’s history. The Data Mining Solution Fraud Framework for Government uses predictive analytics and historical data to create statistical models that can sort through child-care case files and identify situations that may be more likely to involve fraudulent activity. Each case is provided a fraud risk score, which is a scorecard-style rating system that ranks cases by their probability of containing fraud. “This doesn’t replace our investigators in any way,” Sylvester emphasizes. “It helps them do their jobs more effectively. It helps them prioritize which child-care providers and child-care recipient cases need to be analyzed more thoroughly.” The framework isn’t perfect, and Sylvester and his team are working to reduce false positives. A probability of fraud is not a guarantee, but it highlights certain cases for investigators to examine more closely and prioritize their workload. It can also track and match data between hundreds of data elements that would be much more difficult or nearly impossible for an investigator to decipher without the tools, such as connections between individuals, like a single phone number or former address that could hint at a larger conspiracy ring. “Those links wouldn’t show up in any other kind of report, but they are visibly displayed for the investigator with this tool,” Sylvester says. “This has led to many new coconspirators being added to existing cases and new cases being opened that would otherwise not [have] been discovered.” Technologies like this are in high demand in Sylvester’s department, which provides solutions for everything from providing cash assistance to employment services to homeless services to health-care eligibility and coverage. To prioritize where to invest in technology innovation, the department creates a sync-magazine.com
THE DPSS MOBILE APP Challenge Historically, customers have had to either mail or go into one of the Department of Public Social Services’ offices to provide periodic reporting and verification documents to continue their benefits. This meant possibly having to arrange transportation to the office during regular business hours, passing through security, and waiting in line to be seen just to drop off a document. Solution Sylvester’s team developed and implemented a mobile app, available in the Apple App store and Google Play store, that allows customers to utilize the camera in their smartphone to capture an image of their periodic reporting and verification documents and automatically upload them to their case. This helps users stay in compliance with program rules and sustain their benefits, avoiding a potential gap in aid. Based on Google Analytics, more than 65 percent of the department’s customers now access their portal with smartphones and other mobile devices. Results The app gives customers the opportunity to provide the department with required information in a timely manner at a time that is more convenient for them and more supportive of their needs to pursue self-sufficiency. DPSS can now offer more self-service functionality to customers, who may not have access to computers themselves but do have access to smartphones.
strategic plan three years out that outlines what should be accomplished each year. Sylvester has led the development of this process to help identify key strategic IT projects annually. This approach is the result of the mind-set Sylvester developed in his twelve years in the private sector, took to Riverside, and continues to embody in Los Angeles County: knowing the customer and delivering solutions that help overcome their business challenges. Local governmental organizations serve a diverse population with varying needs, so knowing how to develop IT solutions and tools that a majority of the population can and would be willing to use is key. “That sometimes gets lost for some CIOs,” Sylvester says. “They have their own priorities, initiatives, and projects, but don’t consider whether those projects are actually creating necessary value for their customers.
TAKEAWAY Success in the IT space, whether in the private or public sector, relies on customer service. Sync / 69
In the public sector, there is always more to improve, especially when it comes to technology. Ben Berry explains how he created a focused technology agenda for the City of Portland that gives the metropolis a clear way forward. By Zach Baliva
Talk to any IT professional in the business world and you’re likely to hear glowing reports of successful project implementations, widespread technology upgrades, and forecasts about the rise of enterprise solutions, big data, enhanced mobility, and cloud storage. Companies from large to small are harnessing these new tools to improve operations and reduce costs. But what about the public sector? Can CTOs in state and local systems navigate the red tape of bureaucracy and leverage best practices in an era of budget cuts and uncertainty? Consider, for example, one West Coast metropolis. With a population of more than 600,000, Portland is the largest city in Oregon and the twenty-ninth most populous in the union. Its Bureau of Technology Services (BTS), comprised of 230 workers, is responsible for supporting 6,000 customers spread over the city’s twenty-nine bureaus. Leading that group is CTO Ben Berry. He is charged with what seems an impossible task: improving the city’s technology infrastructure and meeting increased demands for IT innovations without breaking the bank. The challenge doesn’t intimidate Berry, who learned the value of hard work from his parents. Berry’s father was a Tuskegee Airman in World War II who later joined the Apollo space program. Berry remembers sitting in the car with his sister while his parents attended night school. His mother became a schoolteacher; his father, the president of an engineering society. When Berry was fourteen, he accompanied his father to work, where he encountered a room filled with tape-mounted devices connected to a mainframe—it was the first time Berry laid eyes on a computer. “I was mesmerized,” he recalls. “I never forgot that moment, and that experience led me into technology and aerospace, but moreover, it gave me the focus to learn and to be inquisitive.” Berry started his career as a network services supervisor at AT&T in 1972 and has spent the last forty-three years in roles of increasing importance in health care, 70 / Sync
defense, government, and telecommunications. After serving on the city’s technology oversight committee for thirteen months, he applied for and accepted the CTO position in January 2013. His first move was to hire a consulting company to help him review and analyze Portland’s technology needs. “It’s important for a new leader to know what he or she has,” he says. The citywide assessment allowed Berry to zero in on the city’s use of hardware, software, technology processes, and IT talent. He then met with each of Portland’s twenty-nine bureau directors and their teams to discuss IT capabilities and desires. The citywide technology assessment yielded seventy-one recommendations that Berry then pared down to ten points for presentation to the City Council. Perhaps one of the most integral ideas to Berry’s plan is the IT governance consolidation of Portland’s twenty-nine bureaus into five “communities of interest”— wherein services can be consolidated, streamlined, and leveraged for greater effect. “The public sector often has many divisions that all cut their own deals in a structure that brings waste because there is little sharing of data, applications, or systems,” Berry says. In his plan, similar bureaus form communities of interest such as public safety, which contains fire, police, emergency communications, and emergency management. The community of interest model helps BTS enhance its IT governance structure for decision making. Another tenet of Berry’s plan that deals with organizational structure compliments consolidation. Previously, twelve division managers reported to the CTO; now, six of those report to a deputy. Then, the office developed the Center for Strategy and Innovation to combine customer-relationship management and enterprise-architecture teams. After meeting with bureau leaders and other officials, Berry started to piece together a vision for moving BTS and the city into the future. However, he noticed a gap between planned tech initiatives and the skills of
Ben Berry City of Portland CTO
Portrait by Andie Petkus; photo by Jackie Miles / Shutterstock.com
FOCUS PUBLIC SECTOR
existing employees. Berry ramped up IT skills-training efforts by holding firm on training budgets. “We can’t put into place the right IT processes, programs, and applications to support our customers without equipping those within our bureau properly,” he says. Berry restored training dollars cut in the recession and included training budgets within approved projects. Several other items Berry has presented to the city council addressed ways for Portland to maximize value without dramatically increasing costs. When the plan goes through, BTS will move a data center off-site, migrate customers away from a mainframe, migrate large applications from bureaus to systems applications products where applicable, and save $1 million per year by executing on enterprise architecture. “City government is like having a hundred businesses under the same roof,” Berry says. “It’s complicated, and you can’t find the benefits that exist until you peel back the structure.” Lastly, BTS plans to replace some outdated software and reallocate funds. When Berry arrived on the scene in 2013, the city was still using Microsoft Office 2003. He’s taken customers to Office365 by migrating 4,150 desktops to the cloud. In phase two, teams will implement SharePoint and a host of smaller functions. Berry’s office will also address a need for more spending in information security. Enhanced security to protect funds and uncover fraud is key, as Portland’s payment gateway moves about $200 million per year. The far-reaching proposal may seem lofty, but Berry says it’s actually a simple blueprint. “We’re trying to optimize the resources that the City of Portland uses in IT,” he explains. “This strategy will help us get more value out of our teams, budgets, and processes that we have and bring us into the twenty-first century.” Like private companies, public entities were hit hard by the recession. Now, they are racing to find modern and innovative ways to recover. Berry, with his experience in public, private, and nonprofit roles, says that each area brings its own challenges, and life in the public sector brings many benefits. Berry’s ideas are based on direct input from customers and citizens. By the time he presented the final ten initiatives to bureau directors, they liked what they saw. “I used a classic approach to walk through each stage and build the support I needed prior to approval,” he says. After getting bureau directors on board, he met to convince commissioners, the mayor, and ultimately, the city council. Berry’s plan got the go-ahead in March 2014, and he is currently navigating the financial challenges to implement as many steps as possible. The key, he says, lies in prioritization. Few public leaders get all the resources they want, but those who direct funds judiciously can add value and deliver on commitments. Future changes should also have a positive impact on city residents. “We were often forcing people through multiple steps because we couldn’t integrate data well . . . but that’s changing,” says Berry, who adds that taxpayers shouldn’t have to fund work done in silos. Shared systems and applications will allow the new communities of interest to share information and provide speed, accuracy, and convenience. sync-magazine.com
Bureaus in the city government, which were consolidated into five communities of interest to leverage IT resources and services
Desktops moved to the cloud in an effort to modernize software tools
Amount processed via the city’s payment gateway, necessitating a revamped informationsecurity plan to avoid fraud
TAKEAWAY When acting on the benefits of enterprise technology, challenges arise. Careful planning can help leaders find ways to overcome budget shortfalls, complex bureaucracy, and other obstacles that stand in the way of enterprise IT goals. Sync / 71
Spotlight on Education
As told to Emma Janzen
Ron Reyer leads the initiative to provide individual digital access for every student in the Bethel Park School District. The “one student, one device” learning initiative is something the [Bethel Park] school district has wanted to do for a long time. Before we did this, we tried a bring-your-own-technology (BYOT) device system. The problem with that is that everyone has something different, and some people don’t have anything at all. How do you take a student who comes to class with a fifteen-inch MacBook and put them alongside a student that has a traditional cell phone and say that BYOT works? You’re working with the lowest common denominator: the three students who don’t have any technology. We decided to use BrightBytes, a research platform that specifically helps school districts assess the technology readiness of their user base. We gave a link to everyone—students, teachers, and parents— and one of the things we learned is that 97 percent of parents and families have access to the Internet at home, but 74 percent of
students share a computer with somebody. So if a teacher gives a student homework that involves access to a website, they can’t do it if parents are using the computer. That was a eureka moment. One of the main challenges with integrating technology into the education system is that the way students learn has been changed by the web. The way everyone learns has been changed by the web, so people aren’t so reliant on teachers as experts anymore. Schools have to keep up. We try to meet students where they are already, which is having immediate access to learning. The way we do that is by putting a device into the hands of every student. It shifts the paradigm for how we consume education. Traditionally, students learn by lining up in a row and the teacher writes on a chalkboard. The kids consume the information and spit it back out to prove they learned it. Now, students create their own learning, and teachers help them through that process. Teachers are still the authority, because they have the ability to guide understanding, teach how to discern good information from not-so-good information, and help students come to well thought-out conclusions. Students want to pay attention, because they are part of what’s happening. Every student is a contributing part of the process. It’s not just a device for every student—it’s a cultural change in the way we work.
97% Ron Reyer Bethel Park School District Direct of Technology Services
Bethel Park School District students that have access to the Internet at home
Bethel Park students that share a computer with someone in their homes, as opposed to accessing the Internet via their own devices
CHROMEBOOK VALUE Google Chromebooks are quickly emerging as a feasible option for school districts for many reasons. For one, they cost $200–300 less than comparable devices, making acquisition easier for budget-strapped schools. According to Google, Chromebooks can save schools an average of $5,200 per device over the course of three years, compared to other options when factoring in purchase, maintenance, and acquisition costs. 72 / Sync
Google also supports application updates on Chromebooks for up to five years, and the devices integrate seamlessly with Gmail, Google Docs, and other apps used to encourage interactive learning and collaboration. Administration has a system-wide management console, allowing control over access and monitor usage across hundreds of devices. School district testing systems in Pennsylvania and around the nation are also largely moving to
the cloud. Bethel Park’s Ron Royer anticipates that all state testing will be online in less than five years, as scheduling and coordination is more expedient when each student has a personal device than when schools have to share thirty computers in a lab with hundreds of students. Pennsylvania’s testing contractor, Data Recognition Corporation, communicated compatibility for state CDT testing on Chromebooks in November of last year. Issue 002
FOCUS PUBLIC SECTOR
In July 2012, we decided we’d be a Google Apps and Docs district, so we’ve spent the last two years migrating over from Microsoft Exchange. Every student from kindergarten to twelfth grade has an e-mail address at Bethel Park, so students can e-mail each other and their teachers. Teachers can make documents and share them with students, create assignments, and collect them all virtually. Teachers use Hapara—one of many classroom management tools—to assign or quickly look at the history of any document and see what students contributed, so there’s also a visibility into the collaboration that didn’t exist before. This will propel us to a different mode of instruction, where we will be able to divorce or separate the need for students and teachers to be in a single place at a single time. In a traditional classroom, how much working remotely are students asked to do? None. In our model, every student is able to work remotely. Most jobs today involve working remotely. People in the workforce have been dealing with it for some time now, and it’s coming to our kids. Do we proactively bring it to them, or wait for it to hit them when they graduate and they won’t be prepared for it?
BrightBytes’ mission is to improve the way the world learns. Its research and analysis platform, called Clarity, gives leadership teams the evidence to prioritize learning initiatives, thoughtfully allocate spending, and identify the factors that most impact student learning.
TAKEAWAY The landscape of education is changing, thanks to digital advances. Devices have the potential to connect students and teachers in a new system of interactive engagement, but implementation must be holistic.
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Sync / 73
Sync talks with
stu davis Interview by Evan Cline
The challenges of IT sprawl are compounded at the state level, when agencies and departments across geographies begin to reconcile systems. Solving the problem is easier said than done. Stu Davis, CIO for the State of Ohio, discusses how he’s made significant progress on behalf of the Buckeye State.
IT sprawl is a common issue facing many large government entities. What were the particular challenges in Ohio? Stu Davis: Across Ohio State government, we have 9,000 servers, more than 2,000 applications, and a lot of storage sprinkled all over the place. There are twenty-six different cabinet agencies, and they each have a CIO that does not report to me. There were thirty-two data centers in use even though we do have a primary data center. When I came in, I found each department doing its own thing, but wrestling with the same budgetary issues. Through IT optimization, we are changing the way the state does business and lowering the overall cost of IT. Government agencies are more often than not in competition for resources. How were you able to 74 / Sync
get everyone on board and communicating effectively? Davis: We had great support from the administration. When you have the department of administrative services, the office of budget management, the governor’s office, and the board of regents all in alignment, you can really make a big impact. To meet the needs of each agency, we created a technology board by segmenting those twenty-six different CIOs into five different lines of business. Each line of business has a lead on the technology board that carries information between the agencies and us. We had talked about disaster recovery for over six years, and we could never get the agencies to give us all the information we needed. By going through those lines of business and the technology board, we pulled that information together in three months. Agency participation has been exceptional and crucial to the success of our IT optimization initiatives. Where do you start with a project this size? Davis: The first step was e-mail. There were nineteen different
Stu Davis State of Ohio State CIO & Assistant Director
Square footage of the State of Ohio Computing Center (SOCC)
DNR servers migrated to the SOCC over one weekend
$36m Reduction in IT infrastructure spending between 2013 and 2014
e-mail systems in use, and the inability to communicate efficiently from agency to agency was out of hand. Next, we wanted to migrate everything onto our centrally managed mainframe so that we could more easily do some much-needed upgrades. Server consolidation was also important. We needed to reduce complexity in order to have a single, statewide posture for security and disaster recovery. And to accomplish all of this, we needed to update our primary data center, the State of Ohio Computing Center (SOCC)—a 210,000-square-foot data center that was designed back in the late eighties. In February 2013, we began updating the SOCC in preparation for the migration of servers.
Where do you stand on those improvements today? Davis: We have consolidated all e-mail systems, with about 64,500 e-mail accounts migrated to the center. The necessary building and facility fixes for the SOCC were completed in March 2014. We now have a large space on the second floor, about 70,000 square feet, where we believe we can host every IT asset of the state agencies. Since then, we’ve migrated about 2,300 virtual-server Issue 002
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images and about 1,500 servers into the SOCC. Each migration is a learning process, and we’ve had great involvement from a number of agencies. Each time we go through this, we take a step back, look at the lessons learned, and apply them to the next. We also repurposed the third floor to provide collocation services for organizations such as Ohio State University, so they can leverage Tier 3 data-center services, and others are using it for a disaster-recovery site.
I would imagine all of this technology consolidation also required some personnel shifts. Davis: Definitely. Even though the department of administrative ser vices is the central IT provider, it was not staffed appropriately for all of these new initiatives. We posted positions and hired the additional staff from other IT agencies in state, and 86 percent of the central IT workforce has experience from another agency. That interagency team quickly changed the culture, removing some of the bureaucratic hurdles that can plague large projects. Technology changes so rapidly year over year. How are you plan-
ning ahead now to avoid the need for yet another overhaul in ten to twenty years? Davis: As we centralize, we’re building out our private cloud. And as we reduce the complexity and embrace standardization, we are making the operating system and the configurations the same across the board. That increases our flexibility and agility looking forward to new cloud services outside of what we currently provide. What was the cost of this project to Ohio taxpayers? Davis: There were no cost increases to the IT budgets of the various agencies. We were actually dealing with a 10 percent cut across the board, so most of the things we’ve done have been by leveraging existing resources. When we bring in virtual images, we repurpose the servers they came in on, do the virtualization, and then put those back into the server farm. There wasn’t a big budget for IT optimization. It was a collective pooling of resources. More efficient procurement and planning also helped reduce our costs. Beginning in 2012, we put policies and procedures in place to ensure that agencies were making
FIVE REASONS TECH TALENT SHOULD CONSIDER THE PUBLIC SECTOR 1. Advancement Opportunities In Ohio, 32% of the IT workforce is eligible for retirement. Budding IT professionals cannot only get in on the ground floor, but have the chance climb the ladder as well. 2. Application Development Government IT departments are shifting their focus outward, giving teams the chance to build and develop applications that impact citizens. 3. Experience The workforce at large is pivoting away from a traditional thirty-year career at a single company. IT work in the public sector offers a chance to start a career or give it a refresh—it can also lead to a diversified résumé. 4. Scale Projects in the public sector have the possibility to positively impacts tens or hundreds of thousands of people. In the case of Ohio, IT projects can touch more than 12 million citizens. 5. Positive Impact Like any public position, working in government IT is a public service, and working in the public sector is a way to give back to the community
the appropriate purchases. That came to fruition between 2013 and 2014, when we saw a drop of $36 million in our IT infrastructure spending. Some particular agencies were getting ready to make large storage purchases. We got ahead of those costs, migrating their storage to the SOCC. That saved $400,000 in just one instance.
Photo by Katherine Welles / Shutterstock.com
Advocate serves as a valued partner for the State of Ohio, assisting the State CIO in achieving his vision by quietly propelling statewide IT consolidation and transformation. Providing strategic counsel, active risk mitigation, and guiding project initiatives, Advocate delivers results that lower costs, reduce complexity, and improve service delivery to the citizens and businesses of Ohio.
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Given the improvements made so far, what is on the agenda for the next couple of years?
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Davis: Our priorities for fiscal year 2015 are the continuation of the migration of our server infrastructure to the SOCC and building out our private cloud. We will also see a flip in how we spend our money. Before, spending was focused on infrastructure and operations, with a very small amount on our public-facing and business-facing applications. We want to flip that, so that we are spending 40 percent on infrastructure and investing 60 percent on what matters. We’re starting to see that trend; 35 percent of spending right now is focused on applications that bring value to the citizens and businesses of Ohio. One example is integrated eligibility, where citizens can become eligible for Medicaid online. Citizens are more educated, informed, and likely to be taking advantage of the technology at their fingertips, so rapidly deploying these applications is crucially important. When will this consolidation be completed? Davis: It will never be quite done. There is always going to be continuous improvement. We told the governor in 2012 that this particular wave would be five to seven years. We are two years in and making significant progress.
TAKEAWAY IT improvements can be costneutral for many government entities, as consolidated services help curb IT sprawl. With such an environment in place, government IT organizations can focus on creating improvements for citizens.
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Open Government In his time with the City of Edmonton, Chris J. Moore pioneered the idea that technology could increase city savings and engage citizens in new ways. Now he’s taking those lessons to his new venture, AcuitasGov, as he works to create an open, transparent, and responsive public sphere.
Photo by Fred Katz
By Mary Kenney
When Chris J. Moore left his position as CIO of Edmonton, Alberta, to start his own consulting firm, the news was met with mixed reactions. Some thought his idea to create a consultancy catering to government needs was innovative and brilliant. Some thought it was crazy to give up his prestigious position. “I think it was the right thing to do,” reflects Moore. “I wanted to leverage my experience to help other organizations.” Criticism didn’t deter him, and after five and a half years with the city, he was ready for a new challenge. “I’ve learned that there are always going to be detractors, in any organization, in any role,” Moore adds. “They need to be heard and respected, but you can’t let them distract you so much that you don’t reach your goals.” Though he has taken his talents to AcuitasGov, a new venture that develops and strategizes open-government policies using technology solutions, Moore says his proudest moment in the tech sphere was the work he did with his team at the City of Edmonton. A talented team, ample political support, and administrators who believed in the IT branch’s goals helped Moore build an open-government strategy to be proud of. He emphasizes that this was not done alone. The City of Edmonton partnered with other city governments—Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver—in a commitment to create an environment of open government. “We leveraged the power of the collective,” Moore says. “I’m one person, and I can only accomplish the work of one person. But by getting hundreds of people to work together, we could achieve so much more.” sync-magazine.com
Chris J. Moore AcuitasGov Principal Consultant
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“If people don’t believe that government is running effectively or efficiently, they’ve always had the ability to say so. But now people have a much larger audience to say that to.”
The major difference in an open government is the availability of data. In days past, the media would call information or press officers to ask for statistics and news. Now, both the media and citizens have the same access to sets of data that demonstrate what’s happening in the city and how the government uses its resources. Moore faced challenges at Edmonton, and the greatest of these were rooted in a mind-set that balked at the idea of changing processes that had always existed in city government. This is a symptom of operating in the public sector, Moore says. Businesses are more likely to want to adapt and keep up with the latest technologies to stay competitive, but governments may approach the same problems with a “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” attitude. Moore emphasizes that technology can do more than fix something that’s broken; it can take what already works and make it more efficient and useful than it was ever able to be before. For example, in April 2013, one of Moore’s major projects as CIO of Edmonton saw him switching more than 11,000 city employees from Microsoft Outlook to Google for Work, a major change that could have stalled at several junctures. Moore and his team worked with Google Guides to lead them through the transition, and now communication is much more efficient for the city. Employees can access their files and e-mails from multiple devices and locations, making these operatives more effective by far. It wasn’t just the mind-sets of people within the organization that threatened some of Moore’s plans. While a business answers to shareholders or a board of directors, a city government answers to its voters, and that cast is diverse in terms of need, opinions about the role of government, education, and many other factors. “Many people think government workers are lazy or don’t do enough,” Moore says. “I’d say 99 percent of people who work in the public sector want to make a difference, improve communities, and serve the public. 78 / Sync
But even what that means is open to interpretation.” There are some, both inside and outside the government structure, who do not agree with the idea of an open-government strategy in which records and data are easily accessible. Moore vehemently opposes this. He says the government has an obligation—and if he could find a stronger word, he would—to use technology to create a transparent environment. If an individual opts out of using the technology, such as e-mail and Facebook, to stay connected to his or her peers, that person quickly becomes, in Moore’s words, “irrelevant.” They are unable to connect professionally or personally and can be overlooked. That can and does happen to governments, too. “If people don’t believe that government is running effectively or efficiently, they’ve always had the ability to say so,” Moore notes. “But now people have a much larger audience to say that to.” Moore is always looking forward in terms of technology, mind-set, and planning, but it’s hard to say what is up next for him, AcuitasGov, or technology itself. What Moore wants is to drive a hover car. He’s thought about them since he was a kid, and the possibility of an airborne traffic system doesn’t seem nearly as implausible as it did back then. The future, whether of cars, communications, or governance, is frightening. Moore knows this. But that fear can’t be allowed to stall governments any more than it can businesses. “You can’t stay in the past, and governments need to know that,” Moore argues. “The future’s scary because no one’s been there yet, and the past is safe because we’ve all experienced it. But we need to not be afraid.” TAKEAWAY Technology is about more than fixing what’s broken. Governments can use the latest in tech to optimize their offerings, communicate, and promote transparency.
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The cloud has made its presence known in the public sector, but what about big data? The TechAmerica Foundation reports that 83 percent of federal IT officials say big data solutions could save 10 percent ($380 billion) or more in the federal budget. Thatâ€™s about $1,200 per person in the United States. ASK YOURSELF Public sector entities have access to significant information stores. What are your most high-value data sets from which you could extract value? Who owns the big data agenda in your organization? If itâ€™s you, how do you create a holistic plan with necessary stakeholders? How can you demonstrate ROI to both the organization and to citizens?
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INNER CIRCLE Meet the seasoned executives, intrepid entrepreneurs, and bold thinkers whose ideas shape this issue and address the promise of technology in the enterprise.
BRYAN BELANGER, P. 46 TechInsights CIO & Vice President of Business Transformation Before joining TechInsights in 2009, Belanger was senior manager of IT for Semiconductor Insights and TechInsights’ TIPS division. He studied computer science at Acadia University in Nova Scotia and earned an executive MBA from the University of Ottawa. His previous experience includes work as a financial analyst for the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club and twelve years in IT at Telesat.
BEN BERRY, P. 70 City of Portland CTO Prior to accepting his position as CTO, Berry served as CIO of the Oregon Department of Transportation. His four-decade career has taken him around the world and through many sectors in information systems. Berry was CTO of Oregon’s Providence Health System and has also worked in defense, aerospace, and several other industries, including a stint in Saudi Arabia.
BARRY BRUNETTO, P. 42 4th Revolution Consulting Founder A veteran of the manufacturing industry, Brunetto’s new consulting firm helps companies navigate the upcoming changes and promise of the fourth industrial revolution. Brunetto works with executives to show how businesses can maximize the effectiveness of their technology investments and encourage a paradigm shift in their organization to meet the challenges of the future.
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LUIS CANEPARI, P. 37 Goldcorp Vice President of IT Canepari has worked with the mining company since November 2012, when he started as the director of IT applications. He began his career at ExxonMobil in May 2000, before attending Georgetown for his MBA and proceeding to AES Corp., in Arlington, VA. In October of 2014, Luis Canepari was recognized as one of Business in Vancouver’s Forty Under 40.
CURT CARVER, P. 62 Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia Vice Chancellor & CIO @carverc Carver has acted as CIO and vice chancellor of the board of regents of the University System of Georgia for five years, during which time he helped bring the system’s thirtyone institutions onto a singular private cloud. Carver oversees a department of 240 people who support a total of 310,000 students and 40,000 staff members.
STU DAVIS, P. 74 State of Ohio State CIO Davis’s first joined the State of Ohio team in 1997, working as the GIS Coordinator. Since, he has worked as an enterprise shared services administrator and the state’s chief operating officer, before becoming CIO in January 2011.
CY FENTON, P. 48 Books-A-Million, Inc. Senior Vice President of IT Booksamillion.com President @CyFenton
Fenton started his career in Nashville, where he opened a computer consulting company in 1989. In 1994, he created NetCentral, an Internet-marketing company he later sold to BooksA-Million. Fenton stayed on at BAM!, and has held several roles. He also chairs the National Retail Federation’s IT Security Council, a dedicated group of CIOs working to address the rising cyber threats facing consumers and retailers.
license renewals. Kehoe started his career in 1984 as a project engineer for the Naval Undersea Warfare Engineering Station. He served as CIO of the Washington State Department of Licensing before stepping into the CIO seat at King Country in 2010. In 2012, Kehoe was acknowledged as a Best CIO by Puget Sound Business Journal.
“This idea that started fifteen years ago is the mustard seed that’s beginning to blossom into this very large and transformational agent.”
DOUG HODGSON, P. 65 City of Calgary CIO & CTO
KIN LEE-YOW, P. 25 CAA South Central Ontario Vice President of IT
Hodgson has spent the majority of his career serving the city of Calgary. With a background in engineering, Hodgson transferred into IT in 2000 and was promoted to CIO and CTO in 2010.
Lee-Yow manages technology for CAA South Central Ontario. Prior to joining the organization in 2012, he implemented various technology solutions for Moneris, Sears Canada, and the Royal Bank of Canada, where he assisted in the launch of the bank’s first online system. He completed an undergraduate degree from the University of Waterloo and received MBAs from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and York University’s Schulich School of Business.
WILLIAM KEHOE, P. 58 King County, WA CIO @kccio Under Kehoe’s leadership, King County’s IT department made many technology-related updates to the county’s systems, from a Microsoft 365 implementation to the improvement of kingcounty. gov, the county’s web portal. Citizens can now access popular registration forms via the website, such as those for car licenses, business licenses, and driver’s
LINDA MARTINO, P. 18 Sony Computer Entertainment America Vice President of IT A proven executive with twenty years in IT and professional
services, Martino focuses on developing strong business relationships. In 2005, she won the YWCA of Silicon Valley’s Tribute to Women and Industry award for executive excellence. She was also a CIO magazine’s 2011 “Ones to Watch” recipient.
JAG MADAN, P. 30 Vancouver Community College Director of IT Madan began his career in systems engineering, technology, and operations consulting, and eventually progressed to senior director and executive positions with a Fortune 10 technology company. Madan’s experiences have brought him across the globe, and he now brings those perspectives to the heart of Vancouver as VCC helps craft the workforce of the future.
CHRIS J. MOORE, P. 77 AcuitasGov Principal Consultant Moore’s experience managing teams of varying sizes in both the public and private sectors has allowed him to transition into his current role as a consultant to government. With the imminent transition to the fourth industrial revolution and the growing importance of the Internet of Things, Moore’s expertise will be more important than ever as the public sector responds to what these evolutions means for society. Moore began his career at Deloitte Canada and was the CIO of the City of Edmonton before launching AcuitasGov.
CHRIS K. MOORE, P. 34 Davis Family Holdings Executive Vice President & CIO Moore began his IT career as
an undergraduate at Mississippi State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business information systems and quantitative analysis—a combination of IT and statistics. Upon graduating, he moved to Kansas City, where he ultimately became a senior systems analyst at Ferrellgas, the nation’s secondlargest propane retailer. From there, he moved to electronics retailer Best Buy, where he spent six years, and Uponor North America, before settling into Davis Family Holdings in 2014.
travel to genetics. Prior to joining the company, Sacolick was the founder and chief operating officer of TripConnect, a web 2.0 social travel website where users can share advice on destinations and hotels with friends, family, and communities with common travel interests. He was also founder and CTO of PowerOne Media and AdOne, companies that provided SaaS applications to newspaper companies. You can read his thoughts on the state of the CIO at blogs.starcio.com.
MARK OHLUND, P. 53 Armada CIO & Senior Vice President of IT
SANDRA SERES, P. 37 Goldcorp Director of Strategy, Analytics, and Innovation
Ohlund’s first exposure to supply chain management was as a lead technologist at a division of US Steel. He went on to hold the position of vice president of technology strategy at PLS Logistic Services. In 2011, he joined the team at Armada as CIO.
Seres has more than twenty years of experience in the technology industry and has focused on e-business, strategic consulting, and applications management. She also spends time as a mentor at Goldcorp, encouraging other women in the field.
RON REYER, P. 72 Bethel Park School District Director of Technology Services Reyer has been with the suburban school district, based in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, for the last nine years. He oversees a staff of nine and is responsible for all IT strategy and operations for the eight schools in the district.
ISAAC SACOLICK, P. 10 McGraw Hill Construction CIO @nyike
MICHAEL SYLVESTER, P. 67 Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services Department CIO & Assistant Director Sylvester has worked in government for more than twelve years, and he spent another twelve in the private sector at Ernst & Young and Cap Gemini S.A. He says his decision to switch to the public sector was a good one, and he’s been able to accomplish complex, innovative projects in Los Angeles and Riverside counties.
MIKE VEDDA, P. 22 Affymetrix Vice President & CIO Vedda joined Affymetrix in 2007, where he manages forty IT professionals in a company with 1,100 employees and annual revenue of $330 million. Previously, Vedda served as CIO at Credence Systems and Edify.
“I’m always asking the team, ‘What can this tell me in five seconds or less?’ . . . If you’re designing displays that take minutes for a human to analyze and digest, then functionally it’s not a dashboard.”
Sacolick has held two CIO positions at McGraw Hill. In these positions, he’s leveraged experience in various industries from digital advertising to SaaS solutions to
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“I think a lot of companies that have that best-of-breed approach are struggling with this. And I don’t know that there’s a single solution out there.”
“A lot of IT people believe they can sit at their desks all day and communicate via e-mail or instant message. That’s not good enough. You need to get out there and meet with your customers face to face. You can’t establish credibility and build trust when you’re isolated inside a data center.”
“It’s like sweeping a desert— your work is never done . . . You have to realize that you can’t dig a moat deep enough or build walls high enough to protect your data. It’s about protecting the most important things.”
“You can’t stay in the past, and governments need to know that. The future’s scary because no one’s been there yet, and the past is safe because we’ve all experienced it. But we need to not be afraid.”
COMING IN ISSUE 003
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