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How new IT operating models stave off digital disruption

Clint Boulton | July 13, 2017
These CIOs have disrupted their IT departments to stay ahead of digital changes driving their respective industries. Here is how they did it.


Victor Fetter, CDO of Vertiv

victor fetter 
Victor Fetter, CIO of LPL Financial. Credit: LPL Financial

As CIO of LPL Financial, Fetter, who joined infrastructure management concern Vertiv in June, established a customer experience center where members interact with financial advisor clients to learn how to improve their workflow and processes. The team reports its findings to LPL’s business groups, which can adjust customer experiences, optimise workflows, enhance data insights and implement other customer-facing tools.

Fetter also appointed a DevOps point person whose role is to shrink time to market and hired a “data lead,” whose job is normalising, extracting and using data in different ways and making it available to the business and clients. "It's about finding those key roles that you want to have in your organisation to really drive change,” Fetter says.

Cultural change also extends to competitions and events, including hackathons and guest speakers, such as Constellation Research’s Ray Wang, who Fetter says brought a broad view of emerging technologies and their role in markets. When LPL moved to a new facility in Fort Mill, S.C., Fetter created an innovation lab where engineers test emerging technologies, such as how to use’s Alexa and other virtual assistants to check balance inquiries, trades and other transactions. Fetter says such experiments force engineers to think about how to rewire service layers to integrate voice into LPL’s back-end systems.

LPL is also prototyping a digital dashboard intended to serve as a virtual assistant for customer service representatives. When a call comes in, the rep can see who is calling, conduct a sentiment analysis to gauge the caller’s tone and pull up content pertaining to their recent transaction history to prep the rep. "I think that has the potential to be a game-changer in freeing up time by using information in different ways to provide better service,” Fetter says.  


Yousuf Khan, CIO of Pure Storage

yousuf khan 
Yousuf Khan, CIO of Pure Storage. Credit: Pure Storage

While most CIOs long to build deep benches in a tech talent-strapped world, Pure Storage CIO Yousuf Khan believes he can keep the flash storage outfit running lean thanks to cloud software and automation. Only about 30 workers provide IT for 1,700 employees. Khan runs the business largely on applications from, Workday, NetSuite and Marketo. He’s also operating a data warehouse and other infrastructure based on Pure’s own technology.

Rather than hire software programmers — a hard task in the competitive Silicon Valley — Khan works with venture capitalists to learn about software startups that automate IT operations. For instance, he is exploring how employees might create and resolve help desk tickets using chatbots in Slack. Automation will enable his small team to focus on data analytics to bolster the business. "CIOs are business enablers more than ever before,” Khan says.


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