What do you want to know from the top IT Executives in the Twin Cities? Last Friday at our Quarterly Event our attendees were able to text in questions they had for our esteemed panelists. Thank you to our panelists, Francois Charette, Senior Vice President at Optum, Dave Harkness, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Xcel Energy, and Mike McNamara, Executive Vice President, Chief Information and Digital Officer at Target. Also, a huge thank you to Abbott for hosting. Below you will find an overview of the most popular questions from our audience and a summary of what was discussed.

What do you consider to be more important for an IT Executive, technology expertise, or leadership expertise?

Across the board, our panelists agreed that you needed to have both to be a successful IT Executive. We discussed that someone might struggle if they have one or the other, but not if they have both. With IT being at the heart of most businesses these days, you can’t have a business strategy that doesn’t have a huge tech component. You must have an understanding of how people will be using the solutions and be able to help the business succeed.

How do you see IT teams becoming true business partners; ensuring stronger understanding of the business rhythms & the technology that positively impacts them?

We discussed that you must understand the business, and how your products are being used. IT has shifted in the past few years, instead of being order takers, some companies have made them apart of the process. For example, if companies want you to deliver code faster, the business must be a part of that process.

How did you scale Agile in your organization?

This question seemed to vary on the company and industry. For example, Francois Charette from Optum said that for them it took time and they did small parts of the business at different times. On the other hand, Target decided to make a change across the whole technology organization on a specific date, more like a big bang approach. Target feels that since the big switch they have seen higher morale, higher production, higher confidence, and higher empowerment. All agreed that it was a change in process, change in culture, and change in technology.

How does your organization view the need for a data strategy? Is the collaborative effort driven primarily from the business or the IT side of the house?

In just about every company, data drives many of the business initiatives. Some companies have so much data; they don’t know what to do with it all. Although this data can be helpful, it’s important to train to only give information that we can make decisions from. Organizations need to teach more discipline for the data that’s provided.

As the IT industry is ever-changing, it was so intriguing to see what our Think IT members are the most curious about. Thank you to all who attended the Quarterly Event and to those who took the time to submit your questions for our panelists.

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