CIO Straight Talk - Issue 9 - 42
Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer
National Football League
The first CIO of America's National Football League has identified
three different aspects of the CIO role. That means changes not only in
her job but in the NFL, as well.
New York, NY
Michelle McKenna-Doyle joined the National Football
League in 2012 as senior vice president and its first
CIO. She is responsible for the NFL's technology
strategy, shared service delivery, and management
of the league's corporate technology activities.
Previously, she was CIO at Constellation Energy,
Universal Orlando Resort, and Centex Destination
Properties, and was a vice president of IT at the
Walt Disney Company. McKenna-Doyle serves on the
boards of RingCentral and Insperity.
MBA, Rollins College; BS, Auburn University.
McKenna-Doyle has deep football roots, and her
love for the game began at an early age. Her brother
played college football at the University of Alabama,
and her father hoped she would go there as well -
but after meeting Auburn University head coach Pat
Dye, she opted to attend Alabama's rival. She worked
in Auburn's athletic department and tutored, among
others, Bo Jackson during his time as a star football
and baseball player at the school.
As digital transformations sweep the business
world, CIOs are in an increasingly high-profile
role. Their first-hand knowledge of digital
technologies and their deep experience in IT
management and implementation have made
them invaluable members of the executive teams
in enterprises successfully upgrading themselves
to compete in the 21st century.
Technology, however, is simply the foundation
for the required skills of digital transformation
leaders. CIOs today must transform their
own work from primarily running technology
infrastructure and driving IT strategy to excelling
in a number of additional roles-sales executive,
R&D chief, and organizational development
consultant. These new responsibilities are
changing the nature of the CIO's job.
THE CIO AS
Successful CIOs used to be exceptional
managers, working inside the organization to
develop and execute an efficient and cuttingedge technology strategy. To lead a digital
transformation, however, they also need to
become exceptional sales executives, building
relationships and influencing decision-makers
inside and outside the organization.
When I joined the National Football League,
or NFL, four years ago as its first CIO, the
challenge and opportunity was working with a
blank slate, defining what the position should
be. I was creating the job, having to sell to
the organization my strategic value and why
cooperation across the organization was
required for a successful digital transformation. It
was important to discuss and explain how we are
going to maintain our tradition while evolving the
NFL to embrace digital capabilities.
During the first year of my tenure at the NFL,
I dedicated a significant amount of time to
establishing relationships and defining my role as
a trusted advisor to all the heads of the lines of
business. You can't underestimate the effort and
the importance of doing that, even when the CIO
role is not new to the organization, as in my case.
A new CIO must assess whether these kinds of
relationships existed before and must forge them
early-it's so much easier to do it on the frontend than to try to fix it later.
When you build relationships, when you listen to
other executives, just like any good salesperson
you should focus on uncovering and identifying