Category Archives: CIO event

CIOSynergy – Conversations and Insights

CIOSynergy in Boston on September 24, 2015, was as usual compact, high-energy and insightful. About 150 CIOs attended the half-day event. Scott Shuster (BusinessWeek, ABC News, NPR) was the able and engaging guide and foil for the event. I joked with him later that his seamless connecting of IT ideas and probing questions probably merited an honorary CIO degree for him if such were offered. Continue reading


Big Data Insights from Practitioners

HMG’s 2015 CIO Executive Leadership Summit in Boston, Feb 12, 2015 was stellar. Congratulating Hunter Muller, President and CEO of HMG Strategy, I remarked that what stood out to me was the quality of the panel discussions: cogent, thought provoking and with just the right mix of well-picked experts. Nowhere was this truer than in the discussion on “Big Data: The Next Frontier – Insights and Strategies from Massachusetts Big Data Pioneers”. The panelists were Nidhi Aggarwal, VP of Product Strategy at Tamr, Prat Moghe, Founder and CEO at Cazena, Bill Simmons, CTO at DataXu, Paul Sondregger, VP Big Data Strategy at Oracle and Bob Zurek, SVP Products at Epsilon. The panel was ably moderated by Jo Hoppe, until recently CIO at PAREXEL.

Here is what I heard from the panel.  Continue reading

Marketing and IT — A Flourishing Partnership

CIOsynergy in Boston in August was a lively affair.  Along with a stellar keynote by John McAfee on the security dangers of mobile devices (your phone has likely been spying on you) and an introduction to ThingWorx, who provide a development platform for the Internet of Things, we had a diverse panel of CIOs to talk about the direction of enterprise IT, our successes and failures.  I was one of the panelists, joined by colleagues from Deloitte, NutriSavings, Loomis, Sayles and Co., East Boston Savings Bank and Boston Scientific.  Our moderator was Scott Shuster (formerly of ABC News, producer of NPR’s “All Things Considered”, Consulting Editor for McGraw-Hill and Business Week, to name a few of his accomplishments).

Scott asked me to comment on the recent spate of articles on the tension between IT and Marketing departments.  Forbes, for example, in its August 6, 2014, issue had an article on “How to avoid a CMO vs. CIO war”.  My take on this is: foolishness! Continue reading

Is IT Really A Cost Center?

[My post in the Ipswitch File Transfer blog All Things Manged File Transfer, May 20, 2014]

At a recent May CIOboston event by CIOsynergy,  I met two folks from Apprenda: Chris Gaun, Senior Product Marketing Manager, and Dave Cohn who heads Northeast Sales for the company.  Apprenda is a ‘Private Platform as a Service’ company that sponsored the event with Microsoft. Both made the remark that IT needs to transition from being a cost center to being a profit center and do so by developing more customer-facing software for the business. Continue reading

CIOs Talk of Challenges

[My post in the Ipswitch File Transfer blog All Things Manged File Transfer, May 5, 2014]

I recently attended CIOboston, a CIOsynergy event headlined as “A New Dimension to Problem Solving Within the Office of the CIO”. We talked about paradigm shifts propelled by technologies like the cloud, the necessary new engagement models for business and IT and the changing world of expectations to name a few topics. But before getting to all this, our moderator Ty Harmon of 2THEEDGE posed the simple question to the attending 50 or so CIOs and senior IT heads: “What are your challenges?” Continue reading

IT As A Trusted Business Advisor

I was a panelist at CIOboston, a CIOsynergy event sponsored by Microsoft and Apprenda. My co-panelists were Steven Snyder, CIO at Massachusetts Convention Center Authority and Duane Dumont, VP IT at NxStage Medical. We were to take a ‘tell all’ position on where we saw IT headed. Ty Harmon of 2THEEDGE, ex-Gartner, was our able moderator. We hit the ground running with active audience participation from the start.

A key theme that evolved for our panel was that for IT to be effective, IT’s role must evolve to that of “trusted advisor” to the business – and not just in matters related to technology. Continue reading

What IT Roles and Skills Should Live in the Business? (Premier CIO Forum)

[My post in the Ipswitch File Transfer blog All Things Manged File Transfer and in the Ipswitch Whatsup Gold blog The Daily Network Monitor, March 28, 2014]

I was asked recently to speak on “What IT skills/roles should reside in the Business”.  This was on a panel at the Premier CIO Forum in Boston in March a well-attended and engaging event supported by SIM (Society for Information Management). It was an impressive roster of IT executives from across the New England region. Continue reading

The Convergence of Cloud, Mobile, Social and Big Data

[In July, I was invited by Salesforce to be the speaker at the launch of their new CIO Thought Leadership series of meetings.  The suggested topic was, “The future of IT and cloud computing in a social, mobile, digital world.  Here is what I said.]

Every day IT is bombarded with statistics that talk about a future that WILL happen – and the question is posed, is our ship ready to get us to that distant shore?  Just yesterday, I saw statistics from Intel, saying that by 2015 the number of connected users will grow by 55% that connected devices will triple in number, that storage needs will quadruple over today, and that global cloud IP traffic will grow almost 5-fold!  For vendors like Intel, there is a relatively clear response with products.  For IT, the answers are less clear and with many choices – but the convergence of four major areas is very obvious. Continue reading

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]