Taking place from 6 – 8 April at the wonderful Château Élan in Atlanta, Georgia the US edition of our CIO Insight Summit will bring together senior IT decision-makers and business leaders from across North America to share experiences, discover new ideas, and discuss the hottest topics in tech.

The summit program will focus on key themes such as: innovation and digitalization: separating from the pack; the CIO forecast: emerging tech and trends to integrate into your strategy; and infrastructure and operations: strategic, tactical and organizational challenges 2020.

From case studies that lift the lid on operations inside best-in-class organisations, to workshops and collaborative sessions that focus on real challenges and future technology innovations, to one-to-one meetings with industry peers offering practical advice tailored to your specific needs, the summit provides you with everything you need to implement your key projects more effectively.

Our Approach

Every GDS Summit has one stated aim: to help attending executives implement their key projects more effectively. We do this by developing an in-depth understanding of those executives' project needs, the business outcomes they want to achieve, and the challenges they face in terms of hitting those goals.

Who Attends

Our summits are designed for executives looking to take their business to the next level – from market-leading brands to disruptive new entrants. As such, we’ve worked with some of the world’s best-loved and most forward-thinking businesses.
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Past Attendees

At previous events we've helped executives from some the world's most significant firms - as well as the most forward-thinking - to address their project challenges.
Image of Paul Moulton
Logo of CostCo
Paul Moulton
CIO
CostCo
Image of Justin Kershaw
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Justin Kershaw
CIO
Cargill
Image of Jayne Lerman
Logo of Mastercard
Jayne Lerman
EVP
Mastercard
Image of Kerry O'Donnell
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Kerry O'Donnell
Executive Director
Estée Lauder Companies
Image of Alyce Reopelle
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Alyce Reopelle
SVP PMO Leader & Chief of Staff
Citi
Image of David Nuss
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David Nuss
CIO
Cresa
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Ashok Kumar
Former CTO
Verizon
Image of Sumit Anand
Logo of At Home Group
Sumit Anand
Chief Strategy Officer and CIO
At Home Group
Image of Endre Walls
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Endre Walls
CISO
Customers Bank
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Nabil Malouli
SVP
DHL
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David Whipple
CISO
Apple Leisure Group

6 Challenges in IT

Our summit is focused on solving your strategic challenges
  • Cognitive Computing – exploring AI and ML use cases to solve business problems, not upgrade business processes.
  • Security & Risk – the realities of increased malicious and regulatory security concerns.
  • Digital Transformation – breaking down what digital transformation means to your organization, employees, and customers.
  • The Future of Work People and Culture – focusing on emotional intelligence and company culture to drive diversity, address the skill gap, and improve employee retention.
  • Legacy cultures and systems– how technology is changing the way we lead, collaborate with, and inspire our workforce.
  • Innovation, implementation, and integration – the headaches associated with implementing scaled change, strategies for assessing the impact of emerging technologies, and looking at potential use cases and industry standards for new technologies.
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Summit Schedule

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Monday April 6, 2020
Registration
1:00pm - 6:00pm

Join us at 1.00 pm when registration opens to collect your badge, check-in, meet the on-site team, and start your 2.5 day Summit experience.

Welcome Remarks
2:30pm - 2:45pm

Our Master of Ceremonies will kick off the Summit with a welcome brief and orientation session, giving you all the information you need to maximize your Summit experience.

Panel Discussion
2:45pm - 3:30pm
The perspectives of 4-5 industry experts into one of the key challenges we're all facing today. This will be moderated to create a session of different perspectives, opinions and tangible takeaways of how our panelists are tackling them.
Building Forwards and Backwards: The Experiential CIO.

The exciting players are not just building for the consumer space but also giving the employee better IT tools to do their work with. If you’re not building great tools to keep your employees engaged, it becomes a talent retention problem. This falls on the CIO’s shoulders. A recent survey said that 75% of CIOs will fail in their job if they don’t turn their IT group into an enabler for digital transformation. As the labor market tightens, CIO’s need to focus on engaging employees, improving their experience, and keeping them on board.

Interview
3:30pm - 3:50pm
A one on one interview diving into the details of how to prepare yourself for the realities of one of the industry's top challengers.
Garbage In/Garbage Out: Automation and Vendor Management.

Garbage in/garbage out has become a mantra for anyone invested in the future of AI. If you don’t have well classified, hygienic data the data will not do its job. Data hygiene will pave the way for AI/RPA, if we look down the road to 2023/2024 there is a substantial amount of reskilling that will tie into this.

In the next few years, there will be less emphasis on the service desk and traditional IT functions and more emphasis on supporting AI and automating processes. The question is, who’s going to monitor the KPIs for AI tools and what role will vendor management play?

As the tools we use become more complex, more emphasis will be on holding vendors accountable, having SLAs for vendors, and upskilling employees in line with it. Ensuring that you are managing your vendors before they manage you.

Roundtable Track 1
Session 1 - Challenges
3:50pm - 5:00pm
It’s all about identifying your challenges. What are the key questions that keep you up at night? What solutions are you looking for? Find common ground.
Security, Resilience and Continuity.
  • Understanding what assets to priorities by exploring risk-based approaches to security.
  • Focusing on high-availability in an environment where business-continuity is the only option.
  • Mitigating the risks of having data in motion within the enterprise.
Roundtable Track 2
Session 1 - Challenges
3:50pm - 5:00pm
It’s all about identifying your challenges. What are the key questions that keep you up at night? What solutions are you looking for? Find common ground.
Architecture and Transformation.
  • Focusing on architecture as the building blocks for transformation, automation, and innovation.
  • How to disrupt as little of the environment as possible when scaling change.
  • Strategies for avoiding optimizing a redundant process, tool, or service.
Roundtable Track 3
Session 1 - Challenges
3:50pm - 5:00pm
It’s all about identifying your challenges. What are the key questions that keep you up at night? What solutions are you looking for? Find common ground.
Data, Insights and Innovation.
  • Leveraging both sides of the AI conversation; customer insights and operations.
  • Reverse engineering technical strategies from business use-cases by using your own data rather than generic industry data.
  • Creating highly connected analytics between discrete sources and, more importantly, making these insights actionable.
Roundtable Track 4
Session 1 - Challenges
3:50pm - 5:00pm
It’s all about identifying your challenges. What are the key questions that keep you up at night? What solutions are you looking for? Find common ground.
Talent, Training and Mobility.
  • Methods for finding true talent; people capable of dealing with novel problems in novel ways.
  • Best-practices for training talent in-house as the complexity of IT roles increase across the board.
  • Unpacking the next chapter of automation and the potential of 5G to build platforms that you can put in anyone’s hand to accelerate progress.
Roundtable Track 5
Session 1 - Challenges
3:50pm - 5:00pm
It’s all about identifying your challenges. What are the key questions that keep you up at night? What solutions are you looking for? Find common ground.
Leadership, Culture and Creativity.
  • Becoming a resilient leader capable of taking a step back as the role of the CIO changes dramatically.
  • Ensuring IT is entrenched within the business rather than reverting to an operational department.
  • Channeling creativity to drive revenue in the enterprise.
Roundtable Track 6
Session 1 - Challenges
3:50pm - 5:00pm
It’s all about identifying your challenges. What are the key questions that keep you up at night? What solutions are you looking for? Find common ground.
Strategy, Partnerships and Flexibility.
  • Exploring how business models are evolving across all industries.
  • Challenging the industry standards that a core set of applications have defined.
  • Understanding the consequences of the proliferation of applications in the marketplace
Roundtable
5:00pm - 5:30pm
Roundtable Feedback

This is a show and tell with the entire delegation, lead by the roundtable moderators. Hear other challenges, perspectives, and topics that will set the tone for the Summit.

Attendee Downtime
5:30pm - 7:00pm
Gala Dinner
7:00pm - 10:00pm

Join us for our Gala Dinner & Keynote Speaker. An opportunity to network with your peers in a social environment with a three course dinner and wine whilst listening to an industry leader discuss a key topic.

Keynote
8:00pm - 8:30pm
Our Keynote speaker will be addressing the entirety of Summit attendees during our Gala Dinner. They will be going beyond the 'brand story' and sharing their experience and the real truths of tackling a challenge that is shaping the industry.
Becoming a Resilient Leader.

Your fellow business leaders are learning about the different technologies available every day. As the authority on tech within the organization, it is important to develop a leadership style that stops you from being stuck in the trenches and seeing the full picture.

  • Learning how to take a step back, set expectations, and develop a realistic strategy.
  • Aligning your fellow executives’ vision with your own to drive innovation.
  • Developing your leadership style to see better returns on a team of diverse perspectives.
Tuesday April 7, 2020
Breakfast
7:00am - 7:50am

Please come down and join us for breakfast and prepare for a day of workshops, keynotes, debates and panels.

Welcome Remarks
7:50am - 8:00am

Our Master of Ceremonies will brief you into the day 2 program to make sure you are in the right place at the right time.

Panel Discussion
8:00am - 8:30am
The perspectives of 4-5 industry experts into one of the key challenges we're all facing today. This will be moderated to create a session of different perspectives, opinions and tangible takeaways of how our panelists are tackling them.
The CIO and their Team of Master Integrators.

As the proliferation of tools and services shows no sign of slowing down, more CIOs are noticing the toll of having data spread across multiple systems is having on their ability to act with agility. On every project, CIO’s must tackle the headaches of integration and configuration, in this session, we will explore:

  • How to avoid the “plug and pray” scenario when implementing any new tool.
  • How to create a sustainable integration model that can be used to open dialogues with potential new partners.
  • How to train effective teams of “master integrators” and what they can do for your business.
Keynote
8:20am - 8:50am
A brand exec takes you behind the scenes, providing insight into a successful project implementation – what worked, what didn’t and which pitfalls to avoid.
Data as the Foundation for Anything as a Service.

There is no other business unit or department within a company that has as wide and deep a knowledge of the business as the technical people. Having explored how effective integration lays the foundation for actionable insights, now we can discuss how you can use your own companies’ data to make novel observations about your customers, products, and environment. In this session we will explore:

  • How to reverse engineer a data insight strategy by nailing down what your CEO/CFO really cares.
  • How to effectively use your insights to contribute to your organization’s revenue stream.
  • How to drive IT as a revenue-generating business partner within the enterprise.
Keynote
8:50am - 9:20am
A brand exec takes you behind the scenes, providing insight into a successful project implementation – what worked, what didn’t and which pitfalls to avoid.
Great Expectations.

Who are we learning from and how are we creating product roadmaps:

  • Best in class vs best in breed – the market continues to set expectations on best of breed instead of market leaders in your space.
  • What are the implications of this moving forward?
  • Exploring the liquid expectations of the market and how leveraging new technologies will help us engage with our customers better.
Oxford Style Debate and Live Polling
9:20am - 10:00am
One Topic. Two experts. Two opinions. You'll get the chance to vote on where you stand before the session starts. We'll then hear from our two experts, to see if they can sway your opinion when you participate in the closing vote.
Taking the Lead: Security or Business.

This house believes that the business will increasingly pressure the CIO to deliver connectivity at the cost of security and, as such, security will always take a back seat to more “business-friendly” solutions.

Coffee & Networking Break
10:00am - 10:15am

Take a break and refuel whilst networking and socializing with your peers.

Case Study
10:15am - 10:55am
A brand exec takes you behind the scenes, providing insight into a successful project implementation – what worked, what didn’t and which pitfalls to avoid.
If You Hear Hoof-beats, Think Horses Not Unicorns: Why You Should Prioritize Upskilling Over Recruiting.

As the pace of change accelerates the “unicorn” employee becomes a must-have asset. Now, almost every organization needs people who can perform at a technical level across a range of subjects, capable of communicating strategy to the masses, talking to clients and leading teams of developers.

Combine the need for the “unicorn” employee with almost every enterprise’s inability to compete at recruitment with the digital giants, it falls on the CIO to think of innovative new ways of upskilling their own people.

Workshop
11:00am - 11:40am
An industry expert will lead an interactive workshop tackling common challenges and scenarios, engaging the audience to confront the issues and discuss ideas. What will your proposed solutions be?
Unlocking Mobility to Drive Experience.

As connected devices become the norm, consumers and employees are being prepared for an era of mass personalization. At the foundation of this change are the mobile devices that function as the presentation layer for us to interact with the new tools of the organization (IoT, ML and, in time, edge computing). Although most organizations believe they have developed an effective mobile strategy, IDG estimates that only 46% of organizations have actually deployed mobility extensively. This workshop will look at how you can use mobility to empower the everyday end-user and make data actionable.

Panel Discussion
11:45am - 12:25am
The perspectives of 4-5 industry experts into one of the key challenges we're all facing today. This will be moderated to create a session of different perspectives, opinions and tangible takeaways of how our panelists are tackling them.
Democratizing IT: Simplifying the Development Process.

In this session we will explore methods of making IT a strategic partner of the business by giving groups outside of IT the tools to co-create, democratizing not only data but technology itself. In this session we will explore:

  • The hype around 5G and its capacity to build generic functional platforms that you can be used in the back of the house and in the customer’s hands across many verticals, for instance, AI at the edge and AI VR.
  • The next chapter of automation being standardization and how some organizations are building central user platforms where non-IT literate users can build their own bots in a low or no-code environment.
Keynote
12:30am - 1:00pm
A brand exec takes you behind the scenes, providing insight into a successful project implementation – what worked, what didn’t and which pitfalls to avoid.
Strategies for Transformation.

The guidelines for a successful transformation strategy are simple on paper, take a lift and drop approach, change as little of the environment as you can in-transit, and save optimization and streamlining until after the first stage is complete.

However, this is much simpler said than done. Even seasoned transformation veterans find themselves making improvements on the go and this is when things get complicated and out of hand. In this keynote, we will explore how to successfully define where you’re going before you start, create strategies to stick the plan, and decide when its time to execute.

Networking Lunch
1:05pm - 1:45pm

Join us for a sit-down lunch, and a chance to catch up on emails and get ready for the afternoon.

Roundtable
Session 2 - Discovery
1:50pm - 2:30pm
Learning and sharing with your group. What are the solutions? Are they readily available? What path are you going to take?
Drill Down Roundtables

Return to your roundtable groups from day one and continuing to explore your priority challenge.

Workshop
2:35pm - 3:15pm
An industry expert will lead an interactive workshop tackling common challenges and scenarios, engaging the audience to confront the issues and discuss ideas. What will your proposed solutions be?
Availability, Redundancy, Continuity: The Security Mantra.

This workshop will focus on developing a network of high availability to support business continuity by creating systems designed for triple, if not greater degrees, of redundancy. We focus on redundancy and continuity as these are the only acceptable outcomes as even disaster recovery can cost millions of dollars in downtime. We will look at dockers, containers, and infrastructure as tools to spin up assets in the cloud and, therefore, improve continuity strategies.

Case Study
3:20pm - 4:00pm
A brand exec takes you behind the scenes, providing insight into a successful project implementation – what worked, what didn’t and which pitfalls to avoid.
Building Value Out of Value: How IT Can Create New Revenue Streams from Existing Sources.

The new role of the CIO is, in part, to help the CEO with revenue, do things to boost the top line, help with cost structure, make the business more agile and offer competitive intelligence. This is starkly different from the operational role of IT in the past, now CIO’s need strategies to be able to identify what the business can do and create new value streams from this.

One way of doing this is to think of an existing function in a business and create horizontal value streams that cut across this function. For example, a product creation process that could become a monetizable platform service. In this panel, we will explore the strategies IT can use to drive revenue in the business.

Panel Discussion
4:05pm - 4:45pm
The perspectives of 4-5 industry experts into one of the key challenges we're all facing today. This will be moderated to create a session of different perspectives, opinions and tangible takeaways of how our panelists are tackling them.
Continuous Learning: How CIO’s Get to the Top, Stay at the Top, and Avoid the Fall.

The journey from entry-level to CIO is long and arduous. Whether you started as a pure technologist and learned the language of business on the way or vice-versa, you need to prioritize continuous learning.

This doesn’t stop when you reach the top, personal development should be your number one priority if you want to drive innovation, revenue and avoid the media hype-machine. In this panel, we will explore how CIOs can stop their skills from stagnating when they reach the boardroom and how more junior technologists can set themselves up for future success.

Oxford Style Debate and Live Polling
4:50pm - 5:30pm
One Topic. Two experts. Two opinions. You'll get the chance to vote on where you stand before the session starts. We'll then hear from our two experts, to see if they can sway your opinion when you participate in the closing vote.
The CIO is A Political Animal, Not Technical One.

This house believes that the role of the CIO will morph beyond recognition in the next two years and take on a completely political/business role in the enterprise.

Attendee Downtime
5:30pm - 7:00pm

A needed break after a content filled day. Please use this time as you wish prior to joining us for our night 2 seated dinner.

Networking Drinks
7:00pm - 7:30pm

A casual setting to network and meet the rest of the attendees and discuss relevant topics at your leisure.

Dinner & Entertainment
7:30pm - 10:00pm

Join us for our night two Gala Dinner, which will be in a casual and inviting setting.

Wednesday April 8, 2020
Breakfast
7:00 am - 8:20 am

Please come down and join us for breakfast and prepare for a day of workshops, keynotes, debates and panels.

Welcome Remarks
8:20 am - 8:50 am

Our Master of Ceremonies will brief you into the day 3 program to make sure you are in the right place at the right time.

Keynote
8:30 am - 8:50 am
A brand exec takes you behind the scenes, providing insight into a successful project implementation – what worked, what didn’t and which pitfalls to avoid.
Avoiding the Sunk Cost Fallacy: A New Business Model for the Hyper AI Economy.

As enterprises prepare for an AI-driven future, they find themselves trying to rescue as much data as possible. Most find themselves doing this with the needs of the data scientist in mind but not of the future AI engineer. To quote Elon Musk, “one of the mistakes smart engineers make is optimizing a thing that shouldn’t exist”, many organizations have fallen into the trap of optimizing an existing system rather than making the necessary changes for the hyper AI economy.

Keynote
8:50 am - 9:20 am
A brand exec takes you behind the scenes, providing insight into a successful project implementation – what worked, what didn’t and which pitfalls to avoid.
Five Lessons For Collaboration: How Building Bridges Will Drive Innovation.

The growing ability to partner and collaborate across functions is the most promising and poorly-understood opportunity for CIO’s in 2020. The amount of time you’re going to have to spend with frenemies is increasing and, traditionally, this is not a great skill for companies in general and even less for CIOs. Here we will look at how can we foster a partnering mindset in IT and use this to revolutionize the business.

Coffee & Networking Break
9:20 am - 9:30 am

Take a break and refuel whilst networking and socializing with your peers.

Case Study
9:30 am - 10:10 am
A brand exec takes you behind the scenes, providing insight into a successful project implementation – what worked, what didn’t and which pitfalls to avoid.
Resilience, Responsiveness and Responsibility: Owning Security.

A dramatic increase in the number of elements (for example, systems, devices, things, data, and dynamic relationships) are exposing scalability issues with traditional security solutions and raises questions of responsibility. A discussion of putting security in the hands of technical, non-technical, or a combination of both and the consequences of each approach.

Workshop
10:15 am - 10:55 am
An industry expert will lead an interactive workshop tackling common challenges and scenarios, engaging the audience to confront the issues and discuss ideas. What will your proposed solutions be?
Preparing for a World of Connected Things.

IoT no longer just means controlling a device from your smartphone. IoT equals ecosystems – some isolated, some connected, and some ready to be connected in the near future. As our devices get smarter, what are the implications of a connected world?

Roundtable
Session 3 - Outcomes
11:00 am - 11:40 am
What does it all mean. Tracing back through two days of work, where are we? What you are bringing back to the office with you.
Drill Down Roundtables

Continue your roundtable conversations from day 1 & 2.

Keynote
11:45 am - 12:10 pm
A brand exec takes you behind the scenes, providing insight into a successful project implementation – what worked, what didn’t and which pitfalls to avoid.
Platform Plays and Partnerships.

CIO’s are central to the conversation of how to leverage the changing economics of the digital community. This is significant as we see more companies moving towards becoming service platforms.

The most lucrative businesses of the C21st have been pure platform plays like Google, Facebook, and YouTube. Platform businesses grow faster and are more valuable than traditional businesses but there is only a handful in the market (< 2%) to learn from. What lessons do platform businesses have to offer and how can we use them to open new opportunities for growth?

Panel Discussion
12:10 pm - 1:00 pm
The perspectives of 4-5 industry experts into one of the key challenges we're all facing today. This will be moderated to create a session of different perspectives, opinions and tangible takeaways of how our panelists are tackling them.
What’s Next?

A closing panel with your roundtable leaders to discuss the key takeaways from the sessions and explore how to implement them back in the office.

Summit Location

Château Élan, Atlanta, Georgia

Our events take place at some of the most prestigious venues in the world. Five-star accommodation, dining and amenities make attending one of our summits both business and pleasure. Being productive has never been so much fun.

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GDS Summits host experts to help experts. Our speakers are leading executives willing to share their insight to change the industry and the world in critical ways.

To discuss how GDS Summits can help you solve your project challenges contact us on: 0117 921 4000 or email sayhello@gdsgroup.com.

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