Tibco COO Matt Quinn, BMO Financial Group Chief Technology & Operations Officer Jean-Michel Arès, former NASA Chief Astronaut Dr Peggy Whitson and JLL CIO Chris Zissis were among the contributors to episode nine of the CIO UK podcast discussing CIO-CTO delineation and CIO to COO leadership lessons.
Chief Technology Officers from software and integration company Tibco, Nelson Petracek, and JLL’s Andy Crow also shared their perspectives on the differences between the CIO and CTO role.
Former CTO Quinn, who was appointed Chief Operating Officer in January 2018, was speaking to CIO UK at the company’s Tibco Now conference in Las Vegas at the beginning of September. He said that the CTO was the “coolest job” but that becoming a COO was a next step in looking at the bigger picture of the business and its products as he discussed the people side of innovation.
“I’ve made no bones about the fact that I loved being a CTO,” he said. “In fact I grew up desiring to be a CTO. I thought that was just the coolest job; I got to make technology decisions, I got to play around with tech. That’s always been my jam.
“As I got older – I wanted to say more mature – it became increasingly obvious that the success that I wanted for my engineers and my engineering teams was more than just the technology itself, and it was more than just the products – you’ve got to think about the business more holistically than just the tech.
“Certainly for me, it’s been an exercise in understanding the business at a more holistic level, but still knowing what my strengths are as a person and adapting my worldview to these new challenges, but still staying true to who I am and my core principles.”
As well as launching a host of new business intelligence, integration and analytics software tools at Tibco Now, the company announced its ‘Digital Code of Conduct’ as the organisation and its CMO Thomas Been look to provide greater transparency and openness around its communication with customers and partners. Quinn also spoke about the notion of “humanising information, not digitising humans” which he said as a concept had gained traction in the company.
“I think that the next stage of evolution of technology really does need to think as much about the social impact as the business impact because it is now such an important part of everyone’s lives,” Quinn said.
CIO to COO
Jean-Michel Arès, Chief Technology & Operations Officer at multi-billion dollar Canadian bank BMO Financial, described his career history as CIO at GE and Coca-Cola and assuming operations responsibilities at the eighth largest bank in North America.
Earlier Arès had discussed BMO’s partnership with Tibco and the smart core of data and analytics services the bank had placed at the heart of its digital transformation, while Arès also discussed why moving into broader COO responsibilities might be the right step for some technology and IT leaders.
NASA Chief Astronaut
Dr Peggy Whitson, a former NASA Chief Astronaut who was the closing keynote speaker at Tibco Now, also spoke to CIO UK about her leadership lessons.
The No 1 US astronaut for duration of time in space, Dr Whitson has been on 10 space walks and spoke about her journey from research scientist and biochemist to becoming the Chief of the Astronaut Office.
“I think the biggest lesson is the fact that you have to push yourself to do maybe a little bit more than what you think you can do,” Dr Whitson said. “I never dreamed of being chief of the astronaut office, but by accepting opportunities and challenging myself to do more in various different situations I was able to be successful.
“I think a lot of my success, had to do with prior to becoming an astronaut – I did a lot of international negotiations and work setting up teams that gave me an experience base so that when I was selected as an astronaut, I did go up through the leadership ranks, which typically, as a biochemist, I would not have gotten those opportunities.”
Dr Whitson also shared her views on the innovation culture at NASA which was “steeped in innovation and new ideas, really even before there was a box to be thinking outside of”, but was something all organisations could learn from.
“You can make something that is impossible happen if you have an innovative culture, people that are collaborative, and use all that diversity to come up with the best solution,” she said.
CIO and CTO
After Quinn spoke about moving on to the COO role and the differences between the CIO and CTO responsibilities, Tibco CTO Petracek also offered his thoughts on working for a particularly tech-savvy COO, the CIO-CTO delineation, and the emerging technologies which he expects to have the biggest impact on the enterprise – some of which were the drivers for the launch of the Tibco Labs innovation programme for customers and partners.
JLL CIO Zissis and CTO Crow also joined the CIO UK podcast at their offices in London at the end of August to discuss their roles and how they collaborate.
Zissis, who oversees regional CIOs and two CTOs, each of whom oversee technology development and architecture, said that the CIO was focused on “delivering the strategy” and that the CTOs were “co-enablers either through applications or infrastructure and operations”.
Launched in January 2018, the CIO UK podcast is a monthly discussion featuring CIOs, commentators and technology executives thrashing out the key issues relevant to the UK’s business and technology leaders – as well as the tangential and irreverent musings of guest CIOs.
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