Samuel Chesterman, Worldwide CIO, IPG Mediabrands
Information Security as a Challenge
A big challenge continues to be information security. With so many solutions moving to a cloud model, there will be a need for continued emphasis on information security and compliance. Having so much data traverse between the corporate network and cloud environments equates to an expanded number of attack vectors. This will always be considered while choosing any partner, cloud based or not. More software and service providers must offer more robust APIs for leveraging their product suites outside of standard interfaces. At IPG Mediabrands we are aggregating all data in one place, but there isn’t an API or otherwise elegant way for us to harvest that data without complicated workarounds on our part.
Recovery from Disaster–A Challenge
Disaster recovery poses a hitch. There are hundreds of ways to attack the challenge of disaster recovery. Many of the obvious solutions involve maintaining secondary environments. However, doing so is very costly and quite tricky to maintain identical data sets across two separate physical environments. This is especially true when standard practices would have those locations many miles or even states apart. It’s not uncommon in our business to ingest 5GB per campaign, per day, of data from various sources. Simply capturing that data and making it actionable for our clients requires a highly developed mechanism; having it available in a disaster situation is an equally daunting task.
Expanded Focus on Cloud Based Development
The past few years have created an expanded focus on cloud based development environments and I see that growth rate increasing over thecoming years. Service offerings like Salesforce One, Amazon Redshift, Amazon Elastic Map Reduce, Heroku, and Elastic Beanstalk are really changing how rapidly we can develop applications, ingest data, and query it in ways for our clients that were extremely difficult using on-premium solutions. This capability at your fingertips without the traditional overhead of a datacenter is a huge advantage.
"Simply capturing data and making it actionable for clients requires a highly developed mechanism; having it available in a disaster situation is an equally daunting task"
My Role as a CIO
More and more I’m being pulled into client meetings to talk about our technology offerings and how IPG Mediabrands has transformed into the
data driven business it is today. This means I work a lot less on traditional IT operations or infrastructure, and more on technology solutions that allow our clients to access and use data in a faster, user friendly fashion which helps boost their bottom line.
Advice to Fellow CIOs
Hire the most experienced and knowledgeable people possible, even if their degree of knowledge can be intimidating to others or yourself. Onceyou have hired the best and brightest people, continue to reinforce the fact that they are paid to think. Never take that away from your employees by being a micromanager. Instead, put them in a position of being able to have ownership of the technology decisions within their realm of expertise. Support them when they need you, and most of the time you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the quality of work they put forth. I have learned that using this approach creates a bidirectional trust between boss and employee which in turn promotes out of the box thinking and creative solutions. My staff is never afraid to come to me with an idea, no matter how outrageous it might be