EP 2: The CIO’s Role in Adapting to the New Normal w/ David Kenner

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

As the world transitions from panic mode to a new normal, the IT community, and in particular, CIOs are faced with unprecedented challenges and “we need it done yesterday” directives. Sitting down with David Kenner, General Manager & Global Head CIO Strategy and Advisory of Wipro Ltd. led to some relevant insights into what it’s like to be in an IT role right now. How to transition your organization to a “business-anywhere model” is just the tip of the spear on this episode of Unleash IT.

 

We talked about the CIO’s role as a strategic partner in business planning; enterprise architecture’s place in the IT landscape; and, anxiously prioritizing digital transformation, thanks to Covid-19.

 

To hear this interview and many more like it, subscribe to the Unleash IT Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or on our website.

So if you don't have somebody who really is adept and understanding the technology landscape and somebody who is adept at being able to manage that effectively, their value back to the organization is probably diminished. Welcome to unleash it, a podcast where we discuss the experiences and ideas behind what's working in enterprise architecture and digital transformation within the IT landscape. Unlock Your Business has digital capabilities. Transform your enterprise architecture. Unleash it. Let's get into the show. Hi, welcome to unleash I T. I'm very pleased to announce that today's guest is going to be David Kenner, who's the GM and global head of CIO advisory in the cloud at w pro. David, you have such an amazing background and I know what you're doing right now with pros. It's really incredible work. But could you give us a bit about your background? How did you get into it in the first place? It's a great question. So I was actually one of those guys that I put myself through college selling shoes many, many years ago, and bunch of college selling choose at up macy's departments quarterback on Miami Mirny. Years ago, computer science a law were my two areas of interest. I've slowly drifted into the computer side. I was one of those guys who had radio shack computers back in the day. Learned cobal and you know and all the languages that most people wouldn't even recognize nowadays, and so I was just always had a kind of a natural interest to me and that's my career kind of as followed that path, moving through systems development, architecture, strategy planning. But it did have a very strong foundation and it large complex systems design with IBM Seaman Center of Excellence, a couple of large global organization. So I've always been I've always kind of landed at the right place where I had interesting, challenging problems to be able to solve. I was fortunate and blessed in that regard and so my career just kind of, you know, has taken off from there. How well. So tell me a little bit about your responsibilities now with prow sure. So today I had up our global center of excellence really for our the office of the CIO. Our view is that the role of the CIO is, especially in the Times that we're in right now is very, very challenging. It's always been challenging. If you go back a couple of years. The CIO's office is typically got a lot of turnover and I view the CIO was really being kind of the Lynch pin and bring it together business and technology. He's got to be able to have a business vocabulary as well as a technology vocabulary, being able to kind of talk about time to market and Roi and capital expenditures and opex expenditures and map that to his it strategies. So my job is to really work with the top CIO's lobally frost multiple industries within the whip row portfolio, help advise them, help them understand and not only our service offerings but also how to look across whip row and also use US correctly. It's also difficult for a lot of our large clients to really understand how to navigate and get the best out of whip row and whip row consulting, and so we feel like having that strategic relationship with them helps them that will use US better, but also helps us understand their business and their challenges of a more long term basis. Yeah, are there any trends that are seeing in very enviable position because you're talking to Ceios all the time and to actually different conversations with them. Is there's certain trends that you're seeing within the CIO with landscape that the cio today is now facing, or he's going to need to face very sin...

...yeah, I would say there's a number of them. Obviously there's technologies, with cloud adoption, cloud first technologies bringing additional and higher value back to the business stakeholder. The role of the CIO and our view is really a partner in the business and more and more my view is that technology strategy becomes the business strategy. So if you don't have somebody who really is adept at understanding that technology landscape and somebody who is adept at being able to manage that effectively, their value back to the organization is probably diminished. And so part of what we focus on is helping them get business insights, business intelligence and being able to run the it organization really as a business so that when they sit down and they talk to their CEO or they talk to other stakeholds within the organization, they can have a business level conversation about how they're trying to mapter technologies to solve different problems within their clients organization and if we can do that effectively and help them understand business, spend it, spin and map that back to the business capabilities in the IT capabilities, whether we've got alignment, whether we're overinvesting in various areas of the business. Also glider the different value streams that are important to the business versus value streams that can potentially be outsourced for more commodity base. Most CIOS, when they're running very large, complex global organizations, don't have the right tooling. They don't have the right level of maturity in their organization to be able to have that level of insight and that lay level of data readily available. Yes, that's start where enterprise architecture sets coming into play, a bed I think, and the role the enterprise architecture I see changing. You know, we're moving away from that old model type, like a togaff model, and much more being a business concerned entity within the IT organization. You know, what was your view on enterprise architectures? Are you seeing this shift to, you know, as a playing in the overall world? I probably how to give you some context. My view of enterprise architecture, starting with Zachman Zak framework at also that kind of goes back. I've seen it evolved when SAM's document use to walk in with this little plastic sheet in this little pointer. If you've ever put any those presentations, and it's probably at least on its third or fourth iteration. And my view, I like the term that I the Gardner another's use about the role of enterprise architecture today and that the enterprise architect today, if used correctly, as more of a true strategy advisor. Here's how we can use these technologies. They're not sitting down lost somewhere in the it organization writing code or doing testing or writing systems. A good enterprise architect that's not a good use of that asset. They're normally very expensive. If they're good, they normally can bridge complex technologies, UNFLEX solution, complex business and technology patterns and bring them together. So my view today is that enterprise architecture is very much focused on business outcomes, specifically focused on looking across different programs, different strategies of looking at what is the specific business outcome that I want to achieve your one, year, two and your three. So the tools are changing too, because it's not just looking at your present landscape, it's trying to figure out, you know, where your landscape is going to look like in two or three years from now and then correct you know how are you going to get there? Absolutely so this is we to another question. What we're finding, and when I talk to Ceeios, what I'm finding is that they're moving from this very project oriented, you know, stands too much more of a product focus stance.

Instead of just, you know, putting in a crm system, now they're building ecommerce tools for the marketing department or invoicing systems for finance. Do you see this shift and hen you see this playing out as we move forward, because we're actually not only talking to ceios, but more and more we get brought into conversation with the CTEO right now. I do see that and there's a couple things that I think you're driving at. First, all of the everything is a service is part of the paradigm shift that is happening with a lot of appliance and moving to a services or product based company. And it's more than just saying, okay, my software used to be I used to sell to you discat or on Prim or installed on servers and it's now in the cloud. It's much more complex than that. It's how do I wind up architecting the product correctly? How do I now license those services? How do I start looking at how we're going to wind up, not like building the system, but how do we want up starting to stay ahead of our feature release and how we're going to want up getting those in the hands of our users the correct way. So it becomes much more of a mind shift in the culture of the organization. So that starts bringing up great opportunities for enterprise architects, business architects, business designers, because now you're looking at the operating model of the company also. How do we operate? We're just not a getting talking to those guys and it that used to produce the software for US. It's now a much more collaborative effort. We typically talked in terms of whether it's devops or business devops, your portfolio or the product owners are more closely aligned, sometimes even colocated, those situated even sometimes as if it's across a monitor or virtual meetings. They are part of that software development team versus just throwing over a set of specification or requirements over the wall. We find that at much more complex but also much more collaborative, you know, setting up, you know, the environments to be able to support that collaboration, making sure also the workflow from the business side now stays in sync with the product development or the IT side. If I've got a it organization that can reduce cycle time down from twelve months, six months, down to a day or down to a week and my business can't keep up with me, I really haven't accomplished anything. So I've really got to be able to keep the two and sink. I've got to really be able to keep that product engine slowing and so that drives some of the orb changes, culture changes, licensing changes within our clients environments. Yes, sheeping up services, and certainly in the cloud micro services are playing a big part as we're rolling out more and more of these. How you've been to manage them? I mean before you city managed a couple of thousand applications. Now you can even thing tens of thousands of these micro services and correct. You know. How are we facing that? Yeah, so we're sing this followed for a while with the within woodbroke consulting. So I kind of go back to the point. To point the Hubband spoke integration days and service oriented architecture and how you start managing this becomes, my view, managing them and having really a top level business view as to Capabil would business services in which capabilities, and if you start marrying those microservices and have a taxonomy and place at Mary's lower level micro services back to the business capability, get a client service applied, check and check out, taking funds in Transfer Fund whatever that business service might be. That, to me, is the right way, so that you've now got a business view not only of the services landscape but also what are we invested in, what are we re using in those services landscape also, and to...

...your point, you know we used to have thousands of applications. Now you can now say it's now many thousands of services. If you've got that top down taxonomy laid out a give part of enterprise or architecture, then you've got a better chance for success and managing that environment. It's always good to have a plan first, isn't it? So that's one that you don't fly by the seat of the bands. Yes, it's good town a plan see brought about up and I know we're pros done a lot of migrations from on Crem to clouds and helping those organizations do that it, which is no trivial feat, by the way. Would you see the cloud adoption increasing it even more? I read some of courts that say, you know, about a two thousand and twenty five, we're going to be like eighty percent in the cloud, and yet when I talk to ceios that are still in that MIGRACI in period, they're like, oh no, we have to push it off. You know, we were looking maybe at twenty and thirty being fifty percent on the cloud. Fifty. What are you seeing out there in the field as you talk to people? Maybe I should for some of these clients to you. We would certainly welcome that. Sort absolutely be appropriate. was certainly a take that. My view is that it was already accelerating before the pandemic. Yeah, now with the pandemic you have so many cios today with their hair on fire. Okay, I need to be able to take substantial cost out of my organization. They've got if you're in the retail space, we've got stores closing. If I'm in the airline space, I've got the planes that are sitting on taxiways not flying, a lot of layoffs, and so most of them are hoping I'll get back to a year in budget. That was where it was the prior year and to get even. That's no guarantee, but that is driving some very aggressive behavior and cloud adoption. The as you mentioned, four to five year cloud adoption road maps to me or pretty well out the window. Yeah, we started the last couple of years with some of our clients moving entirely out of their data set, and that was when you talked about that. As recently as two to three years ago, people thought that's kind of crazy, especially when you're talking about mainframe systems or complex systems. That's pretty well crazy. That is now a common topic. How do we if we're not going to get out of the data center, we need to be able to substantially reduce the data center footprint or collapse a lot of data center so that maybe it is just the main frame systems or some of the back office system but whether it's going to be sales forth, whether it's going to be work day, whether it's going to be other SASS technologies, sap Oracle in the cloud, the CIO today. They're not any less risk averse, but they are willing to move at a much more accelerated path. So part of our job with the consulting is from a CIO perspective, is how do you bring together all those various disciplines, bring together security, bring together data and then, in all its cloud migration, and today it's not just I'm going to Amazon or I'm going to assure or I'm going to Google. It's probably be some combination of those three, whether it's polycloud or hybridcloud. It's going to be a very complex environment and so to be able to have the tool lean and understand the dependencies between in flight projects, systems, design, security requirements, multicloud environment consoles. It's a lot of work but they're taking it on and we're finding that those three year time frames and many cases have been collapsed to twelve months to eighteen months. So that's really putting the pedal to the metal to get them it is. Yeah, leave powd ready. So that also thanks the question. You know, we've been talking about digital transformation for years. You know, it's been a I don't...

...know if it's been overhyped in the past I don't know if it's overused. Certainly there's a transformation going on. I be curious to and I think you starting to hit on it too, is with more people moving to cloud that the digital transformation is in reality. I mean this stuff is actually I think. I think covid might have been the instigator here that ignited the fire. It's certainly accelerated the adoption work from home self service. You know, we've moved very quickly from business process management to AI driven solutions. So you're absolutely correct. Again, it's about how do I do more with less? How do I want up take? And canadably most of those are working from home, was you and I are today. We can be more productive, we can be more efficient. It does require a reinforcement of security protocols, the make sure of the system software is meeting our governance and compliant specifications, but I think the CIO today has become accustomed to that. They have become much more comfortable with that. If you look at productivity figures that have been announced the last couple of months, mostly I as will tell you they're seeing their productivity levels be much higher now. Whether that's a combination of people working harder people not having to to mute and spend, you know, ten the fifteen hours a week on the road. They can not be at their computer. Probably a combination of all of those factors coming together. Yeah, yeah, it's really interesting, you say. You know, just personally, I'm on boarded entirely virtually into this role. I haven't met my team or is in bond and that could be able to try. Yeah, I know I will be able to travel for some time yet. Will you ever get on a plane again? Right, exactly, it's not too bad. I'm not minding this, I'm not. Might be that other yeah, so it really is the impacts that it has an enterprise. Architects and figuring all this this out is really been at the forefront, I'm sure, of a lot of CIA's minds. But I'm also curious too, because a couple of years ago, and I'm at at CMO, my budgets sometimes for even bigger than the overall it budget. I'm wondering if we're going to see that shift now back into it, as they're becoming more service and customer oriented. You know, would you see a shift back in the direction of it or I would say it's situational. I think the reasons that you saw so many CMO budgets get blown up last couple of years is they had to said Cmo such for yourself, might have to said I can't tell them my it organization to do this work for me. I might have to engage your whip bro I might have to go to an agency, I might have to engage a third party to do that work. I believe as it organizations mature, they need to be your partner. They can't be just kind of the guys that you know are going to want up supporting the system. And again I believe that's where enterprise architecture can play a role. What systems you need? How you keeping tract of that client? You know, sales forces, just not crm. It's campaign management, it's, you know, keeping track of the entire life cycle. And I don't even really talk about platforms today. I talk about what's the user experience? What's the buyer experience? What's a antient experience, what's the worker experience? And we need to really think in terms of that as to what is it we're trying to accomplish with the entity or the persona that we're trying to engage. Once you can define that, and to me it's kind of the CMOS role, then it's must use your really for the it organization. Say here's the IT capabilities that we need to be able to provide to you. So it is. It's much more of a partnership. I'm seeing it myself completely that it's becoming a much better partnership. So I hate to say it, but I didn't do some shadow it in my past. I'm sorry for it, but I did. Yes, I get it done. It was. It was. It's been the nature of the beast. You've...

...got a particular job to do, a particular set of deadlines and if you can't get it done by your own internal organization, that can't stop you. So I think it's a matter of the maturing of the it organization, matter of maturing of the CIO's role to be able to partner with you and be candid this to if you've got a one year time frame, here's what we can do with in one year, here's maybe what it takes a little bit longer, a little bit more budget it. Have a business level conversation about whether we should go together and outsource it or whether we should keep it with in the four walls of our organization and partner up and try to deliver it together. But it has to start with a business vocabulary is to what you're trying to accomplish, versus getting into the specific solution, getting into the specific platforms. Yeah, it's really a turning into business outcome, business value that you're driving rather than a technical discussion that is forever. Yeah, because it they're things that the lines of business want to accomplish and you know, you guys are the the the CIO is the technical expert on the team to make sure that those objectives can be mad. Yeah, and that's when I see a lot of what you talk about cloud, whether you talk about crm systems, where they typically get into trouble or where they fail, or there is maybe, I would say the adoption is not as quick as we would like to see, is because the CIO is really not having a effective communication with the business as to what's in it for them. We talk about cloud and if I tell a line of business had we're going to take all of your apps and put them into the cloud, and could be like why, why am I doing this? I'm I adding risk to my portfolio. Yeah, you haven't really given them any business justification for. You know, you can talk about risk, you can talk about to breed down your it budget of operating those systems a little bit. Those are nice to have, but those are not the reason that I'm going to go off and if I'm to see him, I would say I'm going to run a risking all of my crm or my marketing or my campaign manageing systems just because today they're sitting over in the office and I can go touch them and now you're going to move them end of the cloud, whatever that means. Why want to see himout do that? There you even given them any reason to do that? Exactly, subiship, why we need the enterprise architect we do you see this world heading, enterprise architecture in general, where do you see it going? I think it's going to continue to evolve and it has to. I think the issue with enterprise architecture today is too many times we tend to still be still waterfall versus we need to be more agile, even in the EA space, and that's still a challenge. You know, I've talked a lot about enterprise architecture and the agile approach to that. I've written a couple of white papers on this, but I still think the tooling, the methodology is still got to be able to evolve. It's very hard to be able to bring in fast time to market for systems or capabilities if you don't have a strong foundation to build on. Security Foundation, Infrastructure Foundation, those are still all the basics that have to be there. Now, with cloud platforms and SASS platforms, a lot of that is given, but now you have to have the people capability to be able to manage that. So I think that to me, that having the enterprise architect continue to have a seat where the investment decisions are being made truly and an advisory role, but also and how I can bring faster time to market. Net to me is agility, internal it agility and really bringing the focus to what is it that's going to make the business successful, differentiated or value add to me, the enterprise architect used to be the guys who is downstream and would most of those decisions would be handed to them. Today, more and more they your role has evolved and they have input into those decisions. Yeah, we're starting to see the same thing to what would you give advice to a theio, say a new CEO coming on board? Okay, advice would you give him, especially in like turbulent times like this? First off, will hired a pro consulting higher hier os or somebody...

...like us that can really help you look at really the entire landscape? Too many times a CEIO walks in it doesn't have really the right tool kit to be able to say, here's all the things I need. How do I manage my budgets? How do I manage execution? How do I manage my risk? Do I need multi speed it? How do I modernize? So really coming in with the right tool kid being able to know that it. Normally in a large complex organization it takes you anywhere typically from six months to a year to really get your hands around not only the systems but the capabilities, but also the culture of the organization. Mostly, I oh today they might have been the third or fourth one that that organization scene within ten years. So how can I start coming in and not over promising or over committee, but making sure I really got a fundamental understanding of the business and the systems that are required before making the commitments too early? Off. Yeah, yeah, that's great advice, advice. Thank you. Thank you, David, for spending some time with us. I want to thank you very much. Yeah, I think this has been great and they spell our listeners. We'll see you, Sarah. Thank you, team tears. You've been listening to unleash. I team to ensure that you never miss an episode. Subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you'd like to learn more about enterprise architecture and tools to help unleash your businesses digital capabilities, visit lean ixtnet. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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