McAfee CIO: 'Embrace the change'

Patty Hatter, CIO of McAfee, explains the need to evolve and shift relationships with other parts of the company. She offers practical and important advice for anyone working in IT.
Written by Michael Krigsman, Contributor

It’s a cliché to say that IT and the CIO role are undergoing a significant shift. Many studies and research provide evidence that people outside IT expect greater responsiveness to business needs.

This expectation goes by many names and buzzwords, all of which share similar meanings:

The bottom line is many CIOs are trying to adopt collaborative working relationships with non-IT peers, while giving up old-school beliefs based on a “default to no” position.

The foundation of this new CIO order demands constant attention to creating a relationship and being responsive to business requests for greater speed and less hassle from IT. It’s a new world and many CIOs are struggling.

With this in mind, it is valuable to hear comments from Patty Hatter, Senior Vice President of Operations and CIO for McAfee, during her appearance on CxO-Talk.

As both an operations executive and CIO, Patty offers a unique perspective on the importance of embracing change. Here are a selection of her (edited) comments on change. You can also watch the entire conversation:

Patty Hatter, SVP of Operations and CIO, McAfee
Patty Hatter, SVP of Operations and CIO, McAfee
Image from CxOTalk

On IT as a change agent: ClOs increasingly need to look at themselves as change agents for the organizations. There isn’t another function in the company with the opportunity to help speed up the overall company like IT.

On embracing change: You have to be willing to change, embracing change, being the first to change, and being very open-minded and collaborative.

On technology: The ClO’s role is an opportunity to be a change agent, and a big piece of that is harnessing all of the new technologies that are out there, but it can’t be technology for technology’s sake. You end up spending a lot of money and frittering away resources without getting the business benefit that you need.

On the larger context of IT: It’s incumbent for an IT organization to have a big worldview into how your company works. How does it make money, what are the pain points, what do our customers think, what do our partners think? IT is in a unique position to be a change agent only if it understands the changes need to be made. If the IT organization is sitting back being an order-taker, waiting for the prioritized list of projects to start at the top and work down, nobody is going to wait for that.

Advice to CIOs: My biggest advice to ClOs is embrace the change. Sometimes you have to sit calmly in your chair, take a big breath, and then embrace the change. There are so many opportunities out there, and IT can sit in the middle or be on the outs.

Also read:

CIO strategy workshop: Intel’s IT leadership and transformation pyramid

McKinsey research: IT needs a kick in the keister

Research: CIOs and the ‘digitalization’ of business

CxO-Talk brings together prominent executives, authors, and analysts to discuss leadership, transformation, and innovation. Conducted live and unscripted on open video, CxOTalk offers a rich source of thought leadership from the top practitioners and thinkers in the world. Join co-host, Vala Afshar, and me every Friday for a new episode of CxO-Talk.

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