UTC CIO Vince Campisi: Connecting the dots between data, software, IoT, analytics and going digital

Vince Campisi, chief information officer at UTC, is overseeing the company's digital efforts with the aim of connecting software, analytics and the Internet of things to drive the company's products and services and improve customer operations.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

United Technologies launched a digital accelerator in Brooklyn a year ago with a $300 million investment aimed at developing software that spans the company's various units such as Otis, Pratt & Whitney and Carrier to name a few.

Vince Campisi, chief information officer at UTC, is overseeing UTC's digital efforts with the aim of connecting software, analytics and the Internet of things to drive the company's products and services and improve customer operations overall.

We caught up with Campisi to talk shop and digitization. Here are a few highlights of our chat.

The intersection of IT, data science and business. Campisi noted that classically IT groups focused on operations, but the move to digitization is bringing more groups into the mix. He said:

Data science and analytics is absolutely an important piece of that, but it also includes things like product management, user experience design, software development ... So, folks who live in a command line are welcome here again, at least within the digital technology organization.
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Is UTC now a software developer? Campisi said that UTC is an industrial company first that uses software to enable the future. He said:

Our strategy is very focused, and we sort of know what we're good at and we want to use this to make us better at it. We're not over rotating to sort of use it as redefining ourselves as a chic new, sort of software company.
It's really sticking to our knitting and our industrial roots and using data and analytics to make us even better at the things that have made this company successful.

The importance of data governance and prep. Campisi said one data structure is critical. The guiding principle is to come up with the platform and architecture to ingest massive amounts of information and analyze it.

Artificial intelligence. Campisi said he thinks of AI in terms of use cases. He noted AI applies to connected products where machine learning enables us to "reason over the information and identify opportunities to improve key processes a lot faster." One AI and machine learning use case revolves around servicing equipment for customers, but the technology can also be applied internally too.

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The cloud strategy. Campisi said the cloud has made it easier to get infrastructure to even try projects. Grabbing that infrastructure used to take months. The cloud enables speed and agility. UTC also takes a multi-cloud approach. Campisi said:

Clearly, there's usually one you start with and they get kind of get bit of a head start, but we have two on tap right now and we'll figure out whether a third makes sense. Some use cases are better suited for certain scenarios or a customer sort of environment may be more better suited for somebody they're more comfortable with. Having that flexibility is important for us, but also important for the interaction that we expect to have with customers in the future.

Campisi added that he's watching how the cloud providers develop their AI platforms and machine learning tools, but vendors are largely chosen for infrastructure today.

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The digital transformation journey. Campisi said that focus is critical in any multi-year digital transformation effort. He said:

Our three priorities are very simple. It's how does this translate to redesign the experience for our customers; how does it translate into empowering our employees to work differently at speed and pace they haven't before; and how do we take friction out of their lives in order to do that. And then how does this translate into how we run the flywheel of the company faster to help the company operate at a new level.

Secondly, we are being pretty bold in how we think about talent. Historically, the reputation of IT here was really known for three disciplines, information, security, infrastructure services, and business systems. Any three letter IT acronym. CRM, ERP, PLN etc. We've broadened that to say that there is four that we haven't been as known for, but need to be and that's product management, user experience, design, software development, and data science and analytics.

Other core topics:


Digital Transformation:

Big data:

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