The Era of the IT Executive: 25 CIOs Speak Their Minds
Chief Information Officer
How does the vision of Vantiv guide technology’s vision?
At the core, Vantiv’s vision is simplifying payments innovation. That means that we create assets that simplify customer experience with payments. Any asset we think about at Vantiv is a technology asset. Anything we do across the organization is a manifestation of that. Whether we enable Apple Pay, utilize mobile devices or seamlessly connect merchants through our digital ecosystem, the vision is the same.
We are a technology company; it is our business. Sooner or later – 8, 10, 15 years from now – there will be very few businesses that will not consider technology the business itself.
In a technology-centric business, how do you prepare people for change?
The education we went through was the key. Although people are excited about outcomes, people are also excited about the journey to get to that outcome. Change is the mindset. The changes will be the new norm. The sooner people realize that the world around us doesn’t stop, the better, since nothing around us is static. Assuming a static model is not real anymore. It took a while for my organization to realize that change is the new norm and they need to feel comfortable about that and uncomfortable when it’s static. I think I got it to a point where when it is static people get anxious. In order to thrive we have to continuously change in order to see where things are and how to improve.
How do you see your role within a “rapid change” environment?
The days of autocratic roles are long gone. Outside of that we all play multiple roles at any point in time, such as evangelist, coach and team leader. No one has a fixed role. You have to be able to adapt and organize your leadership style to what the organization and the team needs at any point in time.
The important thing to realize is if the changes are drastic, then you have to be able to coach people so that they are successful in their new roles. If someone has a lead engineer role today, tomorrow you may want him to be a lead architect. That individual may aspire to do that new role and you will have to be prepared to coach him into that role. You cannot put someone in a role where they will most likely fail without support. That is the organizational support you need to have when large change occurs.
How do you communicate risk with other business partners?
Business partners care about many things. I see two prominent concerns. First, will the manifestation of the risk affect the client? Second, will the revenue be affected? The business partners wear multiple hats when it comes to business risk and technological decisions. I need to be able to articulate the risk and give them a prediction of the impact, and more importantly, the probability of that impact. If you say risk and don’t quantify it, then you are driving fear.
I have found that the more transparent you are, the more support you get. The more you talk to them, the more they become aware, the more they are able to support you in those positions. Transparency is a huge advantage, unlike 10 years back when it was seen as weakness. When you are in a place to make a decision, you typically have about 15-20% insight. If you make an effort to socialize that with a few more people, then you get a little more insight. The closer you get to 30-40% of insight is when you are ready to decide.