What does the “I” in “IT” stand for?

[This is a transcript of my extempore acceptance speech at the 2013 CIO of The Year award ceremony.  The award was given by Boston Business Journal & Mass High Tech.]

Thank you very much, Boston Business Journal and Mass High Tech.

I thought I would start by giving you a couple of reactions from my family.  So my son who is studying in New York said, “Dad – congratulations!  This is fantastic news!  I hope you are planning to share the money.”  [Laughter]. Then my uncle called from Karachi, Pakistan.  He is 90 years old.  And he said, “Azmi – I always knew that you would become a CIO.  Now, remind me again of what the ‘I” stands for.”  [Laughter]. And that got me thinking…  What does the “I” in “IT” stand for?  I think that today it stands for “Intelligence” – whether it is in the form of network intelligence, or customer intelligence, or more broadly business intelligence.  I think it stands for “Insight” – because the whole purpose of delivering this intelligence and the ecosystem that produces it and delivers it, the main purpose of that is actionable insight, business insight that results in revenue. And finally “Innovation”.  I think that if you treat IT as a commodity, that is what you will get.  If you treat IT as the creative edge of your business you have a weapon like no other.

Thank you.  And I would like to thank my IT Team.  It is your success we celebrate here.  And I would like to thank my business partners.  It is your trust and confidence and expectation of IT that makes it successful.

[To read my interview with Boston Business Journal click here]