Keith Morrow, EVP, CIO, Epsilon
Leveraging technology for quicker delivery
Some of the big challenges will be the ongoing shift from traditional marketing technology approaches to an intense focus on real time data analysis and decision making. Marketers can now leverage the cloud, Big Data and machine learning to speed the time to serve their customers and prospects into instantaneous interactions that can occur mid-stream in the shopping or transaction process. This places greater demands on applications, infrastructure and people. Solutions providers need to provide the technology underpinnings to allow for this increased level of performance, resiliency, scalability and self-healing capabilities brands demand. Some specific areas we are focusing on include Private Cloud and Big Data Management tools which can manage workload, and performance as well as repair themselves on the fly.
"Cloud, Mobile, Social and Software Defined Networks are a few technology trends that are rapidly becoming mainstream in solution offerings"
Utilizing latest technology for securing information
Security is always a top concern for our organization and any company in today’s complex digital ecosystem. As a result, we take every step available to ensure we understand and utilize the latest technologies available to protect information and remain vigilant. The second area that comes to mind is attracting, training and retaining the most talented and experienced associates. The complexity involved in new marketing technology is extremely high. We need our engineering leaders and technical people trained and empowered to tackle this challenge. Even with high unemployment in the US, qualified IT people are in very short supply.
Technology trends impacting business
Cloud, Mobile, Social and Software Defined Networks are a few technology trends that are impacting our business. These emerging areas are rapidly becoming mainstream in solution offerings. Marketers are experimenting with these technologies in concert with digital agencies. Better customer insights, individually tailored consumer interactions and real-time customer loyalty rewards are all possible now leveraging these technologies and they will continue to have a significant impact.
My role as a CIO
I’ve personally been charged with enabling revenue growth and cost efficiency through the use of technology more so than ever
in my career— keeping things running smoothly and maintaining high services levels while optimizing cost is imperative. Many top CIOs have a mandate to grow a profitable business which requires innovation and leadership.
Advice to fellow CIOs
My advice is to always possess a technology vision coupled with detailed plans that are developed in concert with your key investors, executive team and stakeholders in the company. They should be socialized with this group regularly so we can stay aligned on the future technology direction in the firm. To me, the job of a CIO is to have an overarching view of how the business works, what enables sales growth and how technology can best be used to drive the strategy. The other lesson is that people and relationships are what push the business of technology forward. This requires the CIO to have stewardship for their team and create a workplace environment where everyone can succeed at their primary mission. It’s probably said best by the training and development firm Franklin Covey’s 4DX = “The Four Disciplines of Execution” methodology which refers to this as “creating a winnable game” for the CIO’s team and their stakeholders.