Top CIOs Attend Insight Summit, Share Transformation, Cloud, Data Best Practices

Takeaways from the 2019 CIO Insight executive event, with insights from the CIO of InterContinental Hotels Group, Druva, Tenet Healthcare.


The technology industry is an essential driver for business today. However, when business strategy shifts, technology strategy must shift with it—requiring transformational changes. This was a major discussion at the CIO Insight Summit in April 2019, in Savannah, Georgia.

Technology Transformation

Driving business forward through technology transformation is not an easy task. But, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has approached a comprehensive technology transformation across its people, processes and tools, to pave the way for the capabilities required for future growth.

Our Keynote Speaker, Laura Miller, CIO of IHG, spoke in depth about how technology transformation is integral to IHG’s Business Transformation. She said it helps deliver solutions faster and improves quality, performance, and cost. Miller advised that in order to transform the IT organization, it’s important to upskill internal talent and outsource partners.

“I set up strategic supplier relationships. We are going to make sure we are getting the value out of these relationships,” said Miller.

She encouraged the audience to bring in the right people to their organizations and put them in them in the right roles. “If you don’t have innovative people – clients will go to other services.” Miller said it’s important to have a good internal team and talk to them about any transformations. “You’ve got to communicate, communicate, communicate.” With any big change – she highly recommends getting a partner to help.

Miller said in modernizing technology, they look at their cloud strategy very carefully. “We do everything cloud first. As we touch applications going forward, they go cloud first,” she said. Going forward, she said IHG plans to release a new hotel interface platform, an enhanced reservation system, and hotels will be equipped with new digital technology. She said the new technology will personalize offers and services for guests, encouraging them to become loyalty members.

Full Keynote

Video poster

Watch the full keynote now, by Laura Miller, CIO of InterContinental Hotels Group.

The Missing Link in Digital Transformation

Value Stream Management (VSM) continues to evolve IT. Our Breakfast Keynote, Marvin Stigter from Eli Lilly and Company, spoke about how they are leveraging VSM and the benefits. Value stream management is a way for CIOs to create more value for a business and show how and why. Stigter said VSM maps out processes and sees how to cut out waste and improve steps.

“Trying to figure what we have, what we can do with it, and how we can improve it.”

Stigter also discussed how digital transformation is helping them speed up the process. Some of his tips include:

• Move from waterfall to agile and adaptive delivery
• Create DevOps Tool Chain
• Simplify the software
• Look for integration opportunities
• Improve work-life balance by automating communication.

Stigter says the lessons learned from implementation are: never assume, focus on integration and be smart with it, and increase visibility. He says it’s important to continue looking at value stream mapping for other opportunities and to always show the benefits!

Breaking the Glass Ceiling

A panel of powerful women came together at the summit to discuss the importance of attracting more young women to get into technology. Paola Arbour from Tenet Health, Kirsty Dyson from Southern Glazers Wines and Spirits and Sue Taylor from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation discussed the need to propel technology forward and getting more women into the field because they have a unique skill set that can be leveraged.

“We need to be able to create a movement that entices young girls to want to be a part of it,” said Sue Taylor.

The women discussed the need for organizations to bring women back into the workforce that left to take care of children. To give them an opportunity to come back without starting from the beginning.

Embracing culture change was also brought up. The women agreed it’s not easy – but programs and structure should be put in place, so people want to be a part of that organization. “Structure is critical, and you have to weigh the outcome,” Arbour said. “Find ways to break what’s inside the meeting. Give people a psychological space to open-up. It’s not just about women opening up, but everyone.”

Building an IT Client Services Organization

Tenet Healthcare held a workshop on how to build a Client Services Organization, why it’s important, and how it operates. The organization said they believe IT’s sole purpose is to serve their customers and listen, collaborate and work with them to deliver world class products and services that improve patient care and makes them more efficient.

Carolyn Campbell, Vice President of IT Client Services at Tenet Health said yesterday it was all about top-down decision making. She said now decision making is shared. It drives change around growth. She advised that organizations need to start listening more to their customers.

Campbell said Tenet Health collected feedback from 59 hospitals and focused on defining the pain points and the missing components of enterprise solutions. They then created an action plan. She said it’s important to create an ecosystem that is agile and focuses on the right things, including:

• Voice of the customer
• Innovation
• Efficiency and Productivity
• Talent

Campbell said client services needs to take in constant feedback and measure success by looking at patient experience, customer satisfaction, and response and resolution.

The Cloud & Data Protection

Our Lunch Keynote Address presented by Mike Palmer, the Chief Product Officer at Druva, spoke about trends in data management and why the cloud is perfect for data protection. He explained that the cloud brings substantial advancements to the data protection and management table that simply aren’t possible without it.

Unlimited scalability is an advantage and the cloud is the simplest way to centralize the storage of all secondary data sources while also providing unlimited computing that can be used to gain additional insight and business value.

Bill Lapp from Zscaler also spoke about the Cloud. In his workshop “Transforming Agility and Security in a Cloud World” senior IT leaders explained real-world scenarios and best practices for successfully navigating the journey to the cloud.

“The cloud is the new data center,” said Lapp.

“It’s great for securing internet traffic and brining business objectives together.” He also listed CIO Objectives which include:

CLOUD FIRST – Enabling a faster time to market and IT agility for business needs
USER PRODUCTIVITY – Remaining competitive by maximizing user experiences and collaboration
COST REDUCTION – Delivering cost efficiencies.

Robotic Process Automation

A lot of organizations are looking at RPA (Robotic Process Automation) to drive efficiencies in their company. Kirsty Dyson the VP Innovation Technology at Southern Glazers Wines and Spirits explained their RPA journey and the opportunities it offers.

Dyson talked about RPA’s potential to speed up processing and enable employees to deal with human customers and issues. However, she said the fear that RPA will replace humans is not true.

“RPA is not a robot and won’t replace humans. It does not replicate human functions yet,” said Dyson.

She explained that RPA are algorithms that solve certain problems and deliver benefits and big return on investments. Dyson also shared the results of her organizations user sessions. They found that: people overestimate how long they spend during certain tasks, people are afraid robots are taking their jobs so tread lightly, and outsourcing is another option. “Don’t get hooked on technology and be closed off to other options,” said Dyson.

GDS Group hosts experts to help experts. We strive to provide an atmosphere for our attendees that enables them to confidently lead their companies through major transformation projects. For information on upcoming events, view our technology summits and executive events. To remain current on our activities, visit GDS Group on LinkedIn.