Executive Exchange: IT business leaders roundtable

header_text_exec_1170The best part of the inaugural Red Hat Summit Executive Exchange was seeing strangers come together for 1 day to openly discuss their IT challenges. The executive leadership roundtable was a more organized discussion, and included 5 attendees and mediator, Peter High, president, Metis Strategy.

Roundtable participants:

Adam Burden, Global managing director, emerging technology innovation, Accenture
Aziz Safa, VP & GM, Enterprise applications and applications strategy, Intel IT
Lee Congdon, CIO, Red Hat
Tim Dickson, CIO, Emerging technologies and user experience, Dell
Tony McGivern, CIO, FICO

The panel shared stories about their small and large successes connecting IT to business goals, and supporting fresh new ideas to completion. Some of the many tips they shared:


  • Build a strong IT core and increase business value of IT.
  • Find a partner in another part of the organization and cross-pollinate.
  • Develop and R&D mentality to bring ideas to the rest of the organization.
  • Build skills on your team so IT speaks the language of business: finance.
  • There is only one customer; the external one. – Don’t refer to colleagues as customers.
  • Hire people who know both the business and IT. They’ll come up with more ideas.
  • Be customer #1: Use your own products. It gives you a fast feedback loop. Strengthens your support org.
  • Get executive support. If this isn’t organization-wide, it’s not going to work. Be prepared for tough feedback. Convert the ones who are the most noisy.
  • Organization needs to make a decision that a part of the organization needs to be focused on innovation. But it has to involve everyone. Those on the service desk are fixing problems, and if they don’t “bubble up” the pervasive ones, we won’t succeed. Everybody is an innovator.
  • Everyone is under cost pressure. Are you ready to justify the cost of growth? Or find efficiencies in your own organization? Or do you sign up with a big, bold project and find ways to fund it?
  • Be ready for serendipity. While teams have their sleeves rolled up, go for it.
  • Innovation comes from people who are doing their day-to-day jobs in the field.
  • A lot of innovation comes out of recessions when money is tight.
  • Allocate 3 days a month. Operations, engineering, product team. Work on nothing other than a wild, crazy, idea.
  • Create different domains to innovate inside of. Don’t just look at a single product’s progress—look at the portfolio return.


Event: Red Hat Executive Exchange
Date: Tue, April 15, 2014