Dec 272010

Another year is almost gone and 2010 had some big tech stories. According to InfoWorld, we are entering into a post PC era where iPads & smartphones rule. Take a look at the The Top 10 Tech Stories of 2010 and let me know if you agree with their list.

  1. Apple Does it Again: iPad Sets a New Direction for Computing
  2. Microsoft Plays Catch-Up with Windows Phone 7
  3. Verizon Launches LTE Network — 4G or Not, it’s the Next Generation
  4. HP Ousts Hurd as Boardroom Soap Opera Continues
  5. Google in China: A Geopolitical Thriller
  6. Stuxnet: Industrial Systems Under Attack
  7. International Teamwork Breaks up Zeus Botnet Crime Ring
  8. Google Street View Feeds Privacy Debate
  9. China Claims Supercomputer Crown
  10. The Tech Sector Bounces Back
Dec 202010
Ken Cohn, VP and CIO for Pepco

Ken is the CIO of Pepco, a utility company with over 8,000 employees. Ken has been a CIO Executive Series member for over eight years. Today, I caught up with Ken to get his thoughts on his career as he will retire at the end of this month. Biggest challenges in his career:

Business: When Ken started with Pepco in 1977, Pepco owned everything from the power plant to the lines going into the homes. With deregulation, Pepco became a transmission and distribution company. Ken sites Pepco’s two mergers as the most challenging in his career – the first merger failed after two years, but the second one was successful.

Technology: Due to new technologies such as, Smart Grid and Advanced Metering, the utility industry has to lead and not follow technology adoption. This is a huge shift for Pepco. Ken shared that utilities like ‘tried and true’ or ‘best practice’ style products. Well, in the technology innovation space, successful companies are early adopters. This is a challenge for an industry not used to products early in the maturity cycle.

Three Learning Points: (1) As the first CIO for Pepco, Ken shared with me that he learned very quickly that he can’t be all things to all people. Hire and build an excellent IT team. His staff has helped him tremendously to be able to lead technology at Pepco. (2) A CIO must understand how the business processes work and how those functions relate to the technology. (3) It is important to built good will, trust, and a feeling of inclusion when blending two corporate cultures. In Pepco’s second successful merger, Ken, as the CIO, was brought in early to do due diligence work. All integration decisions were made based on cost/benefit, not who was the bigger company in the merger. Ken said that this certainly helped make the transition smoother between both organizations and this aided in success of the merger.

On behalf of CIO Executive Series, I would like to congratulate Ken on his successful career. I wish him health, happiness and if his schedule permits, he is always welcome at our roundtables!

Dec 152010
After our virtual roundtable, I did a post wrap up video interview with John.  We talked for a few minutes about:

1. The CIO facing a new reality of Leadership; a role that is less technical and more about being a Chief Strategy Officer.
2. We discussed the top 2 questions CIOs need to ask their peers on the Executive Team.
3. We talked about having your tactical house in order first and then building the credibility necessary to have a Strategy discussion.

Enjoy the video and please comment below.