Company's Security: The Highest Priority

By Elizabeth Hackenson, SVP & CIO, AES Corporation

Elizabeth Hackenson, SVP & CIO, AES CorporationElizabeth Hackenson, SVP & CIO, AES Corporation

Accessing data for better decision making

One challenge currently is the inability to easily access enterprise data in a very simple way that provides information to make better decisions. While there  are solutions currently in the market place, they are still expensive and complex. It would be helpful if solution providers spent more time understanding the  needs of their customers to allow enterprises to unlock their value so that we can build knowledge platforms. I find providers are too quick to simply sell the notion of Big  data without any evidence of major success stories for a reasonable cost. Our CEO has a great quote “you can’t manage what you can’t measure”.

"Our use of video communications has saved us millions in travel costs and has given us back ‘time’ which is most valuable"

Staying ahead of threats

Securing my company’s assets is always top of mind and we are doing all we can to stay one-step ahead of the threats. Solution providers have been  extremely active in offering good point solutions, however, an integrated portfolio of products and services is more valuable to an enterprise since it allows a  stronger relationship to actively defend and act if necessary. So having a one-stop-provider is simply easier to manage and builds a more intimate perspective  of your environment. Next would be the ability to easily implement a ‘singlesign- on’. As an industry, we have been discussing this for over a decade, yet I  haven’t found one CIO that tells me they have accomplished this.

“Cloud Computing” and Telepresence – Two Technology Trends

Cloud computing has already had a positive impact on us over the years, whereby we can easily offer quick solutions at a much lower price point –it allows us  o test drive solutions prior to making large investments with pay-by-the-seat business models and ease to configure options. We’re also evaluating moving our  ERPs to the Cloud as the technology advances. The second is use of video communications or telepresence. We have been a user for many years and I’m  excited to see the advances in high-quality video whereby users can set-up calls without the need for IT. Our use of video communications has saved us  millions in travel costs and has given us back ‘time’ which is most valuable.

My role as a CIO

When I arrived at AES, just over 5 years ago, the IT organization needed to focus on stabilizing basic services such as email, audio, video and a large ERP  implementation. After we developed sustainable architectures and infrastructures, it allowed us to move up the value-chain. Gradually, my role changed from  micro managing IT to spending more time learning about our business and how IT could play a larger role in helping to deliver on the company’s goals and objectives. IT became an ‘enabler’ vs. a ‘blocker’.

Advice to fellow CIOs

One must engage and listen to their customers to gain their trust. Listening doesn’t always come easy however as a CIO one is presented with complex  challenges and the best way forward is to have a diverse set of views. Another is to be accountable when you or your team made a mistake and to learn from  the event. Always support your customers and never let them down–remember you have the same goals of success. And finally, enjoy what you do, develop your people and celebrate the wins.

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