If you had the chance to ask a top IT Executive a single question, what question would you ask? Last Friday, at our Think IT Quarterly Event our Think IT members had the opportunity to text in their questions for our executive panel to answer. Thank you to our panelists; Robin Brown, CIO North America Protein at Cargill, Jim Graham, VP of Application Development at Prime Therapeutics, Tom Grahek, CIO at KGP Co, and Keith Tanski, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Architecture at Optum. Also, a huge thank you to Prime Therapeutics for hosting our group. Below you will find an overview of the most popular questions from our members and a summary of what was discussed. 

What does it really take to be a top IT Executive? 

This answer seemed to have a common theme around building the bridge from business to IT. It’s more than just one answer. It is a combination of many including; building relationships, bringing disruptive ideas to the table, and educating. It is important to be a business leader first and drive business strategy. The companies who are erasing the line between business and IT are the companies who will be around ten years from now. 

Tips to stay relevant in IT career as one ages beyond 50 

  • Take the initiative to stay relevant
  • Attending networking events
  • Leveraging your peers
  • Know what’s trending in the market
  • Stay curious
  • Always be willing to learn 
  • Don’t get too comfortable

Is Agile end of life and what new strategy is your company using to manage projects? 

To manage projects, Prime Therapeutics focuses on assets whereas Cargill focuses on digital labs to help prove their ideas. This also led to the questions of what is the hardest part of an Agile Journey? Our panelists expressed that having business leaders who are set in their ways makes adapting a new approach difficult. Finding complementary strengths proves as a difficulty as well.  

What are the key differences between CIO, CTO & CDO  

It appears that the role of the CIO has changed over the past few years. It is not more business-focused then it used to be. The CTO focuses on where the company is going in terms of technology. Jim Graham mentioned how the executive missing in that question was the CAO (Chief Analytics Officer) who will take your data to the next level.  

Speed to market, how do we get resources in the door faster? 

Getting resources is something you need to think about before it becomes an issue. Utilizing and creating a strong network beforehand couldn’t be more crucial. Once you have that, you will have people to trust and work with in order to accomplish what you need. Robin left us with a great question to consider what you are doing as a leader to get your message and culture out to others.  

No matter what executive level you sit at, it’s always important to think disruptively. A huge thank you to our panelist for their executive insights on the trending topics of IT. What topics would you like to see discussed at our next quarterly event?