CIO Insight: Confidence in Digital Transformation


Digital transformation has become a buzz word/phrase in the technology world. According to Gartner, “two-thirds of all business leaders believe that their companies must pick up the pace of digitalization to remain competitive.” The emphasis on digital transformation is putting stress on CIOs as they navigate change.

As a result, Rural Sourcing put on its first CIO Forum in Atlanta, focusing on digital and the associated security considerations.  Some of the country’s top CIOs came together to share how they are tackling digital transformation, including Fred Lee with Cars.com, Matt Ball with ParkMobile, Dan Burke with UPS and Dan Sheehan with Beacon Health Options. In addition, former Governor of Massachusetts and Managing Director/Co-managing Partner Bain Capital Double Impact Fund Deval Patrick kicked off the event with a keynote message on leadership and building communities.

The panel reflected on the change they’ve seen in the technology industry and how they have overcome those challenges.

“We were focused on the product,” said Fred Lee, chief technology officer at Cars.com. “Over the last five years, I’ve seen companies become focused on the back-end and how that can support customers. It’s about delivering the right experience to the right customer at the right time.”

As part of delivering these results, IT teams have been forced to change the way they see the business. Dan Burke, VP Network Planning Systems Development at UPS, has been with the company for 30 years. He has seen UPS grow into a major enabler of e-commerce due to investment and innovation.

“We had to perform significant changes to meet the challenges of global commerce and digital transformation,” said Burke. “Like the Internet, our transportation network is alive with e-commerce. That has led to investments in automation and analytics.”

Engagement is critical to successfully integrating digital transformation with customers and within an organization, according to Dan Sheehan, EVP & CIO at Beacon Health Options. Previously, he oversaw IT at Dunkin Brands.

“It’s all about engagement,” said Sheehan. “In previous roles, I was focused on engaging customers. Now in healthcare, it’s all about engaging patients. As a company, we went down one path with digital transformation but pivoted, because digital transformation needs to be about the patient and creating patient-centric solutions.”

Within digital transformation, security remains a hot topic. Our CIO panel addressed the concerns and gave advice for tackling security and risk within an organization.

“We need to bring all stakeholders together,” Lee said. “Strategic alignment is critical to create an IT infrastructure that can stand up to today’s security challenges.”

“In the industry, we often say that risk, privacy and security are everyone’s job, but when that’s the case, it’s often no one’s job,” said Matt Ball, chief technology officer, ParkMobile. “We need to define who is in charge of risk management, while baking security into everything we do.”

“Security is the top priority,” said Burke. “On the IT side, it is built into our culture and part of everything we do. There is constant training, testing and attention.”

Digital transformation presents challenges for any organization. Although there are countless technologies and solutions that you can implement, our panel recommended being specific and conscious of your audience.

“Just because we can, doesn’t mean that we should,” said Ball. “We forget that we’re in the business of enabling the product. If we try to do too much, we will lose sight of what is important to the customer.”

Digital transformation will continue to dominate discussions in technology. It’s important to know where you and your company fit within the discussion, and then be able to implement change. Know your options, be creative and look for targeted solutions. Find confidence in digital transformation.


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