Salesforce, Silicon Valley Bank CIOs Weigh in on the Future of IT

Read time: 5 mins
CIO Responsibilities

How often do you get to sit down and hear what's on the Chief Information Officer’s mind? In one of our most popular sessions at Coupa Inspire 2014, 800 attendees got to sit down with five CIOs to get a reality check on on Cloud computing.

Ravi Thakur, Coupa’s VP Customer Success and Service Delivery interviewed Bask Iyer, CIO of Juniper Networks; Beth Devin, CIO of Silicon Valley Bank; Ross Meyercord, CIO of, Curtis Miller, CIO of Amerinet and Dan Rosenbaum the Director of Technology at Land O' Lakes, to get their thoughts on Cloud computing. In this excerpt of that conversation, Beth and Ross weigh in on a topic that’s on a lot of peoples’ minds these days—the future of IT and the CIO.

Ravi: I think we can all agree that Cloud is here to stay.  Let's talk about how the role of IT is adjusting to this new reality. Beth, what are your thoughts?  Will there even be a CIO title in ten years?

Beth: I say very adamantly, yes.  But I know there's a lot that’s been written about the demise of the CIO, and does IT matter anymore?  I've seen so many articles, so many provocative talks on that subject.

I think that, yes, there will be a CIO, but the role has to evolve.  We need to be able to get to a place where we can focus more on client experience, for example.  So, being able to think about all the different SaaS solutions that you could bring to bear on that in your environment.  Then thinking about data integration and the flow of data through the organization, to get to that place where you become sort of the data engineer and the analytics leader around what kind of insight you can learn from that data and how you can use it to manage your organization more efficiently and effectively.

I think it's a role that's evolving and has to evolve, but that anchors that pull us back are some of the things I was talking about before--worrying about managing our data centers, or wondering if we have enough compute capacity, or whether our servers all have the same configuration, or whether the latest security patches have been applied.  I would love not to have to do that. 

I think it's a long time before all of our technology can get into the Cloud, at least in banking.  But the more that we can do that, it alleviates kind of the attention that gets put on that kind of management of a technology organization.

Back to the original question, I think maybe it's not going to be called CIO, but there will be a technology leader.  Actually, I see it needed more than ever, with the pervasive adoption of technology in everything that we do.

Ravi: That's great.  I didn't want to have to figure out a new name for this panel in ten years, so thanks for affirming that. Ross, during our preparation for this session you gave me a history lesson on the cycles of integration between technologies.  Why don't you revisit some of that here?

Ross: Yeah, I've been doing large systems implementations for 25 plus years. Where we are today with all the different SaaS providers like Coupa, Salesforce, and many others to me feels a lot like the early '90s.  It’s kind of like the early client server days where you have a bunch of best of breed products that are breaking the old paradigms. 

From an IT perspective the challenge is, how do you bring those together to maximize the value?  How can you bring those together at speed?  I think a lot of IT departments to some degree got lazy.  When you had SAP or Oracle kind of running everything for you, things like architecture and integration were skills which IT departments lost, because you bought it from your on-prem provider.

Now, those skills are having a huge renaissance.  A world-class integration expert or data architect-- those people are making big money right now because they're in high demand.  To me it feels like that technology cycle is repeating again where the ability of providers like Coupa, like Salesforce to fundamentally change that function for you is really exciting. This is the best time to be a CIO as far as I'm concerned.