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Unlocking Value on the Digital Transformation Journey & Investing in Talent

4 min to readTechnology
In 2022, many CIOs are focused on building upon recent digital transformation achievements. Tech Alpharetta, an organization dedicated to helping grow technology and innovation initiatives, recently hosted a panel of prominent CIOs to discuss the challenges and opportunities they are encountering today and their insights on the future.
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4 Takeaways from LeasePlan’s Participation in Tech Alpharetta CIO Panel

Technology – and the roles of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and IT professionals – was thrust into the spotlight of business leadership in the last two years. The pandemic confirmed the importance and influence of CIOs as remote work and the acceleration of digital transformation led to a holistic expansion of the role and allowed CIOs to help their businesses continue operations and find new opportunities through the disruption.

In 2022, many CIOs are focused on building upon recent digital transformation achievements. Tech Alpharetta, an organization dedicated to helping grow technology and innovation initiatives, recently hosted a panel of prominent CIOs to discuss the challenges and opportunities they are encountering today and their insights on the future.

LeasePlan USA’s CIO Greg Buckland was invited to speak alongside Bob Toupin, CIO of Jackson Healthcare, and Flavio Villanustre, SVP, Technology and Global CISO for LexisNexis® Risk Solutions. Here are four key takeaways from their discussion:

1. New security concerns introduced by remote work are placing increased emphasis on employee education and tech investment.

Greg Buckland:  We find that it’s harder to educate and train new people who are starting in a remote environment. While their laptops are already secure, we have to make sure we thoroughly educate them on how to maintain a secure environment moving forward. 

Bob Toupin:  Gone are the days where you can build a moat around your data center and your office and keep all the bad guys out. For years, we've been securing things that aren't on premise. We use OneDrive and SharePoint, and those applications don't care where you live or where you're connecting from.

2. Securing the tech supply chain is essential as disruptions delay tech upgrades, create materials shortages, and cause companies to scramble to meet customer demands.

Greg Buckland:  From a business perspective, OEMs didn't have the foresight to know that they might not be able to get semiconductors. Now, there's a definite shortage and our clients are demanding new vehicles from us. In response, we’ve become more creative about the way we solve these problems. We’ve been able to respond well and continue to grow business, despite the issues across the automotive industry. It hasn’t stopped us, but it has created added work and challenges to get the same work done. 

Bob Toupin:  We’re seeing three, six, nine month delays on key hardware. For one of our important pieces of hardware we're about to upgrade, there’s a six month delay. We’ve even had to scour eBay to purchase equipment. It slows us down, but luckily it has not impacted us businesswise. 

Flavio Villanustre:  Current supply chain challenges make me wish we started our cloud journey faster and earlier. We placed orders with computer manufacturers around October 2021, and we still haven’t received them, and it's the end of March 2022. There is a significant lag in the supply chain, and it makes us scramble and accelerate portions of our cloud journey to better contend with these challenges.

3. Investing in your people has never been more important in the battle against burnout.

Flavio Villanustre:  At this point, we’ve found equilibrium. We are finding ways to maintain a sense of community, which is what makes us who we are. As I always say, a company may have  a bunch of walls, patterns, technology, computers and customers, but the only important thing in any company is the people. If we don't put enough value in those people, the company as a whole does not have much value.

Greg Buckland:  We try to be as empathetic as we can, engage as much as we can remotely, and make Zoom calls as often as we can. We started doing things like assigning “break buddies,” where we carve out 30 minutes and randomly assign people to have 1-1 conversations. Finding opportunities for engagement is a big priority, and we’re starting to bring people back to the office for team meetings so they can engage more naturally with one another. 

Bob Toupin:  Zoom burnout is real. Even now, it’s a challenge. We may have three people in one  one office on one floor, and we'll still do a Zoom call. It saves time and you don't have to book a conference room, but I think we have to change that.

4. Opportunities for CIOs and IT teams are abundant.

Greg Buckland:  Internal disruption is a significant opportunity for CIOs and IT departments. The pandemic opened leaders' eyes to the capabilities of different technologies. We've seen great growth in digital transactions and automation through the machine learning process. People now want to apply the same strategies to their functions and divisions. More and more, people are starting to realize what technology can do in a business and are changing the way they think about internal IT. 

Flavio Villanustre:  Moving to the cloud is enabling us to achieve our goals that were almost unimaginable before the pandemic. This creates more flexibility and gives us more speed to market. It also allows us to have decentralized development teams that operate tens of thousands of miles away. It truly allows us to become a next level global organization.

Bob Toupin:  The biggest opportunity is for CIOs to understand the company’s strategy and direction. If CIOs are seen as valuable team members, they can help accomplish the company’s goals. They need the same opportunity to look at the goals and determine how to help the company get there.

Thank you to Tech Alpharetta for hosting this insightful conversation and to LeasePlan’s Greg Buckland and his esteemed panelists for sharing their perspectives. It’s clear that more than ever before, CIOs are uniquely positioned to lead and contribute their expertise to enable one of the most precious assets in today’s business world: technology itself.

Published at June 17, 2022

June 17, 2022
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