San Diego — Local Information Executives Discuss Emerging Strategies and Tactics From a Technology Perspective
Excerpts were selected for publication by the San Diego Business Journal from interviews conducted with local industry experts as part of a survey by Liliana Ciurlino for Managed Solution, a San Diego-based full-service technology firm. These excerpts have been edited for brevity and clarity.
On leveraging big data: Some customers are more paranoid about hoarding their own data and others are more open to sharing it because they get greater benefits.
Offloading a lot of the IT support, I think that everyone is warming up to the idea in the industrial realm. For big data, the costs are still a little bit high, to truly host that in the public cloud. The best scenario would be to use public cloud for elastic computing, scale it back down, figure out how to transfer the data.
But I definitely think it’s the wave of the future.
On customer-focused solutions: For us, our customers, we travel out and get a whole new appreciation for the challenges they face. When you meet them on a drilling rig, you get a whole new appreciation for what they face.
The movie Deepwater Horizon showed how their lives are on the line. People are responsible for many lives, and for us, our software is supposed to help reduce risks and predict catastrophic incidents. For us to deliver value, we have to have state-of-the-art monitoring capabilities and integrate with their work so things don’t slip through the cracks. We have to deliver value for improving efficiency with equipment.
SVP & CIO ThermoFisher Scientific
On the role of IT in corporate strategy: My CEO is looking to move to cloud strategy faster. The CEO never thought we would say this, but we’re the competitive advantage for the company. It’s an incredibly target-rich environment because we can do things better than we’ve done before.
In the next five years it’s going to be drastically different. You won’t have silos. The question is what do we go after first that’s going to drive the best amount of value?
The speed we can move is so much faster, you don’t want to make mistakes; you want to invest in the right things.
We are connecting all of our sales force around lead management. We did a lot of work crunching our CRM data and systems to better enhance our sales agents to manage leads. As we continue to roll out the cloud it gets us closer to the customer.
On real impacts: When you look at what we do, the mission is to make the world healthier, cleaner, safer, and that is all digital. So this is going to change the way we live.
I have two kids alive today because of what the company does. They were both born with a rare genetic disorder, and because of our instruments (the rare genetic mutation was found and treated). (The kids) take medication three times a day now, and it was this digital answer.
When I think of the future of big data, you see a future that is really different for everyone.
CIO City of San Diego Department of Information Technology
On what IoT means to operations: We hear from a lot of vendors in the technology sector and when we talk about it as a local government, IoT is discussed alongside Smart Cities. There is a lot of discussion about improvements to transportation, development, and energy.
We see a lot of potential for the city and surrounding governments to partner and make life better for our residents, neighbors, and community members. The city announced a partnership with Google Waze, and we are looking at how we can use that data to really improve transportation. Our traffic engineering department can take that data and potentially implement changes.
The city also has a project to deploy LED streetlights, and some will have sensors to generate new data and drive analytics that the city can make improvements from.
If the regional governments can take advantage of IOT and aggregate that information into a single source, there are some great possibilities. You can take analytics and data from multiple organizations and aggregate it and put up a heat map, and so some really cool things.
The city has an open data portal releasing a lot of data sets to the community. As we look at IOT, we really look at a lot of future potential, data and analytics, which could ultimately bring improvements to the everyday life of citizens.
SVP & CIO Sharp HealthCare
On how IT is helping drive revenue through the company: We are looking at taking our current assets to expose those services to more through things like telehealth, video-based, online services which allow us to extend services without having to build new buildings or have people come to us.
Using technology makes things more convenient for individuals. We use technology to understand if we are providing the best treatment, and make sure we are not penalized or making sure we are effectively leveraging our payment process. That’s how we are effectively leveraging technology to help increase
On the role of IT in corporate strategy: We’ve gone from IT being a back-end service to being partners with the business. It is the engine for business transformation and growth.
There is hardly anything we look at that doesn’t have technology involved in some way. There is so much technology available, pick the right technology and hold people accountable to leverage it and provide value.
We have to think about how we bend the cost curve. We can’t keep increasing the spend if there isn’t some return. Everyone likes to add stuff, nobody likes to take things away.
CIOs are becoming more like change agents and transformational leaders. The message is we’ve got to be nimble, faster, more accessible.
VP, Global Infrastructure and IT Operations Western Digital
On the public cloud: Public cloud is one of several tools for corporate computing, but not one
that solves every need — or will ever solve every need. This is a hybrid world.
Public cloud isn’t cheap. Some things run cheaper on premise. Sometimes you have capital to spend, and public cloud is only OpX. Fit the right tool to the right job.
On the role of IT in corporate strategy: Our company views IT as a key enabler for marketing, sales, manufacturing, business intelligence, supply chain, and productivity.
This change occurred because our CIO and his team set out to understand every facet of our business, and then focused on delivering innovation at every opportunity. “Keeping the lights on,” low-value work was moved to SaaS and cloud, allowing our internal resources to focus on innovation and delivering value.
VP of Information Technology Sycuan Casino
On how IT is helping drive revenue through the company: A lot of people think of IT as being a cost center. We really tie every initiative we do in IT to some business initiative. Sometimes those initiatives are not specifically a revenue target. We don’t always look at return on investment, sometimes the focus is return on objective.
When it comes to truly revenue focused goals we do a lot of projects for marketing and for finance that drive revenue back into the casino.
We also take some of the things we do really well that other casinos don’t do and commercialize them. As an example, we are commercializing a process we developed in-house for transferring data in real time to analytics providers. We are the only casino that does that for this provider, and now they want to commercialize the product and offer it to other casinos.
On IoT: We are expanding, so we’re looking at smart building technologies. You’re talking about hundreds and hundreds of thousands of end points, from lighting, to fans, to temperature sensors, to valves for sprinkler systems, all can be tied together and integrated to a system that controls everything.
We have a little over 2000 slot machines on our floor. Each of them sends us all kinds of data, being able to mine all of that data, being able to grab all of that useful data, and process it with streaming analytics is going to be very important for us.