CIO Panel: Harnessing Digital – Mobile/Cloud/Data

05-CIOpanelOn Thursday, April 9th, I attended the 2015 San Antonio North Chamber CIO Panel, presented in conjunction with InnoTech. The sellout event at the San Antonio Convention Center was attended by over 300 representatives from San Antonio’s leading business and government organizations. After opening remarks by Gary Britton, New Horizons Learning Centers and San Antonio North Chamber Technology Chair, the session turned to recognizing the winners of the annual and lifetime technology leadership awards. Bill Phillips, Senior VP/CIO of the University Health System received the IT Executive of the Year. His accomplishments included leadership in major facilities and technology upgrades. David Monroe was given the first Lifetime Achievement Award for his many accomplishments starting with his leading role at Datapoint, San Antonio’s first breakout technology company.

In keeping with the theme Harnessing Digital – Mobile/Cloud/Data, Todd Chudd, Practice Director, Mobile & Modern Web at Randstad, presented his thoughts on how success can be achieved in the coming digital environment. As context for his comments, he pointed out that the typical American now spends 10% of their time using some mobile device. In his view, the successful future enterprise must continuously measure, adapt, and change again. For retailers, he felt they must move from the customer loyalty program as a source of data for macro marketing and sales strategy to one that creates the basis for one-on-one customer relationships.

CIO Panel Discussion

After that presentation, the session shifted to its main business, the CIO Panel Discussion. The panel included four of San Antonio’s most prominent technology leaders: Chris Cox, USAA, Head of Digital Delivery; Apollo Gonzalez, Catapult Systems, Chief Technology Officer; Greg Sarich, CPS Energy, Senior Vice President Enterprise Support & CIO; and Doug Skiba, Frost Bank, Executive Vice President IT Architecture & Strategy.

The first topic tackled by the panel was mobile strategy and measurement. All of the panelists advocated a customer driven strategy. Highlights on measurement included Frost Bank’s reliance on Google Play and Apple’s App Store customer ratings, CPS Energy’s goal of shortening walk-up lines with particular attention paid to the walk-up customer who spends the entire wait on a digital device, and USAA’s focus on adoption and utilization.

Next up was a discussion of the impact of 24/7 mobile access on support. Again the group generally agreed that support must match customer access, including adding support modes for chat, voice, and video. Catapult sees the explosive jump in user access driving a move to the cloud to assure availability and to reduce the risk of excessive down time. CPS sees the access to multiple mobile applications driving an ever increasing demand for service and new capabilities.

The third topic for discussion was the impact of the “Internet of Things.” Of note was USAA’s moving from an episodic relationship with customers to a continuous relationship based on input provided by the customers’ “things.” CPS is particularly impacted as meters move from being the trigger for billing read monthly to an energy management device for both the customer and the company read every 15 minutes. Catapult sees the major impact being the mountains of data generated by everything from vehicles, to thermostats, to refrigeration units.

The final topic was the impact and application of the “cloud.” As a group, the panelists were relatively conservative on the use of public or third party cloud applications and storage because of security concerns. Generally, common administrative and support systems like email were considered the best candidates for the cloud. The one exception to that thinking was CPS Energy’s use of a California-based provider that collects and processes all of their meter data.

My sense as the crowd exited the room was general agreement of time well spent and a value added event. I’ll certainly Save the Date for 2016!