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Doug Cyphers is the Chief Information Officer for Welk Resorts and has been with them since January, 2012. His organization is responsible for delivering all technology related services and solutions which include Software Development, Salesforce Implementations, Database and Reporting, Application Support, Agile Delivery, and IT Operations. Having almost 30 years of experience in IT, Doug has held Executive or Senior Level positions with organizations in industries that include Resort Development & Hospitality, Banking, Payments, SAAS, Direct Sales, Public Schools, Defense and Industrial Automation & Controls. The size of companies he has been involved with have ranged from “Startup” to Fortune 50. Aside from working at Welk, some highlights have included helping one company gain Inc500 Hall of Fame status, working for one of the largest event and license registration companies in the US, and partnering with the nation’s top credit card processors to implement cutting edge End-to-End Encryption solutions. Additionally, he’s worked with several nonprofit organizations in a variety of roles. Doug has a degree in Computer Science and a Masters of Business Administration, has obtained several professional certifications during his career and was named San Diego Magazine’s 2014 “Top Tech Exec”.
What’s the #1 area of focus CIO’s should concentrate on?
Partnering with heads of divisions outside of IT. Without taking the time to get to know these people, what’s important to them and where they plan on taking their area it’s very difficult to become a strategic partner
What’s your take on Public Cloud?
It’s here to stay. Most colleagues I talk with see the AWS’s and Azure’s of the world as more stable and secure than their own data centers. It also provides a level of stability and accountability that is hard to match internally.
What are you (the CIO) doing to support innovation in the company and its own organization to deliver better solutions?
I go to key conferences that I believe are riding that progressive wave and I do entertain new vendors to see what their products can do. I make sure that I’m a key player in the company’s strategic planning so that I can share what I see and have experience in the context of helping the company realize a new revenue stream or to improve an existing one
We are hearing so much about the internet of things – what does or could the internet of things for your business look like?
The jury for me is still out on how this area can help. Sure in our resort operations there are some compelling offerings that may provide a better experience for our customers, but I would like to see them become more mainstream and a business case made for it. The greatest revenue generating part of our business is our sales which I’ve struggle to find a good fit for in this context.
Are there any hiring challenges?
Yes. There is a shortage of highly skilled and experienced people in San Diego. I’ve been told by many that in some cases there are not enough candidates to fill certain specialized roles. There’s not a lot of large companies in San Diego comparatively to other large cities. We just don’t have the inventory they do.
What did you want to grow up to be when you were a kid?
An astronaut, then a doctor that uses technology to cure diseases.
What kind of messaging is coming down from the CEO/Key Executives about their partnership with IT? What are they expecting you to look at?
They always want it faster and cheaper. The funny thing is that I find that they don’t have enough staff to support all the projects they want to do and many times are the ones that become the regulator of the amount of projects we end up doing. Being able to react to new directions and priorities is probably what everyone wants. It’s really a balancing act between stability, flexibility, scalability and cost
Has the idea of using cloud changed your mindset of using outsourced/Managed Services?
Yes. I’m much more open to it. The same problems though still exist when working with any partner. You’re still looking at someone who has a great track record, who can do it well, quickly and cheaply… just like me
If you could give guidance to any CIO, IT Manager Director about how they position their careers what would you tell them?
Become much more of a business manager. Run your org like a business. Think like your colleagues outside of IT. Constantly be looking at things in how they can benefit your company from a business perspective. Use other people in your org to focus on the deep dark technical stuff. The really successful guys think business first, then how to harness technology to drive it. Don’t forget to learn all aspects of your business quickly and stay connected to your colleagues.