The CIO: A "Hero of Industry"


This story originally appeared on LinkedIn.

Most CIOs quietly just get s*** done.

They clean up the mess when others screw up. They keep the utility running with incredibly high uptime. They truly understand the strategy of their businesses and work hard to drive technology solutions to generate revenue, better service or efficiencies. The CIOs I know are true unsung heroes of industry.

And now it’s our time.

The new CIO is immersed in strategy and armed with both data and the power of the Industrial Internet. We're at the nexus of business strategy and technology, using software to fuel growth and optimize assets. Most important, we’re finding a receptive audience in our organizations, where changing the culture can be even more daunting than the technical issues.

Some trailblazer CIOs have already emerged as a force within their companies. Look at the success of Rob Carter of FedEx, where “planes don’t fly and trucks don’t roll without IT services.” He realized long ago that the technology that had helped the company achieve its current success wasn’t going wasn’t to take it to the next level. So he made critical changes.

He mapped out all of the company’s applications and interfaces and revealed a picture of such complexity that CEO Fred Smith called it “Hurricane Rob.” Since then, Carter has relentlessly pared the number of IT applications and standardized systems to simplify the environment. This has driven down cost while improving service quality.

CIOs are also wielding data to eliminate downtime by proactively addressing asset performance and maintenance issues. My colleagues in commercial aviation, which is already a data-heavy industry, are getting even deeper into analytics as aircraft engines increasingly incorporate sensors that report performance data like fuel burn. The insights from this data can create efficiencies across the fleet.

At GE Aviation, we’re leveraging data through the Industrial Internet to manage and repair engines before small problems turn into major ones. One of our new engines, called the GEnx, can provide 5,000 data points a second, or up to half a terabyte per flight. We know what’s happening with the engine in real time and, if there’s a maintenance issue, repair parts can be waiting for a plane when it lands.

These sorts of improvements are happening across the board as GE deploys Industrial Internet software solutions to help CIOs rock their enterprises. GE Power & Water is using data to create modular wind farms that can be customized by location and boost production by as much as 20 percent. GE Oil & Gas is enabling customers to have unprecedented visibility into their pipeline networks to increase safety and improve efficiency. The list goes on.

With successes like these, we’ll see an end to the painful spectacle of CIOs working with business partners who don’t fully understand the opportunities or the complexities of what it takes to execute.

This is a new model for the CIO that goes over and above just getting things done. It’s about embracing the convergence of IT with OT, or operational technology. The modern CIO is actually changing the architecture of industry.

It’s our time…

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Jamie Miller

Innovation and transformation are the drivers for Jamie, Chief Information Officer for GE, responsible for IT strategy, services and operations. For Jamie, a former PwC partner and Controller at Wellpoint before joining GE, technology is the tool to deliver new outcomes and ever-increasing value for GE’s customers, investors and employees.

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