CIO Straight Talk - Issue 9 - 54
what technology can do within the organization.
There's the realization by people throughout the
organization that new technologies can change
the way they do what they do.
So in tandem with transforming the way we
deliver basic services to the business, and
enabled by the resulting cost savings, we have
explored a number of new technologies to
support the IMF's work. Data management and
analytics are a high priority, and we are looking
not only at how we can capture new data but at
how we can more effectively use the data that
we already have.
Part of this requires modernizing our knowledge
management systems. We are a knowledgebased organization, so IT needs to better
support both how knowledge is created and how
it is shared within the organization and around
the world, breaking down some of the silos that
have prevented us from doing that in the past.
Think Global, Act
We are a pretty headquarters-centric
organization, with the vast majority of our 2,400
employees in Washington, D.C. However, we
have small offices around the globe that we
support. And more, importantly, we serve 189
member countries around the world.
women are often treated differently and may not
have the same opportunities presented to them
as their male counterparts. Gender bias exists,
whether it's conscious or unconscious. So that
has been an important focus for us, as well. We
have a "Women in IT" organization that brings
women together for mentoring.
One of the most beneficial things we've done is
to bring men into the conversation about women
in our workforce, getting their participation in
figuring out what we can do to be more inclusive
and to better engage our female employees.
The Importance of
That international footprint influences not only
the skills and capabilities for which we hire, but
the diversity of experience and background we
want represented on our IT team. We recruit
people from all over the world, not just D.C.
We look for people who have international
experience, living and working in more than one
geographical area. We lean toward experience
in central banks and international finance
institutions because that domain knowledge
is just as important as technical skills for us.
Recently, we've also begun hiring people
from the private sector in order to bring that
perspective and experience in as well.
Personally, I have always been willing to take a
risk. Even when I've failed, I've always learned
something from it. And that's what I advise
others in IT careers. You need to be bold. Now,
that may be expressed differently in different
countries or corporate cultures. But if you know
something and understand something, you
need to make that clear and never secondguess yourself.
My background has certainly helped me in this
role. I have 26 years of IT experience, most
recently as CIO at the U.S. Department of State,
but my career has included roles managing
budget, human resources, and general services,
and work in countries that include Egypt,
Venezuela, and Peru.
We are also looking at technologies like
blockchain, both in terms of its implications for
the banking and financial sector overall and
the potential opportunities for us to implement
blockchain-enabled services internally. We have
a couple of projects underway to explore the
value for our organization.
We also look for diversity when hiring our
vendors. There are certain cases in which we
need to work with a provider that's based in the
U.S. But overall, we are looking for a portfolio
of vendors that looks at lot like the member
states we serve, focusing on underrepresented
countries when we do our contracting.
We encourage both IT and the business to bring
forward new types of technology innovation. We
have run a series of challenges around big data
and analytics, for example, inviting employees
Of course, diversity isn't only about geography
or skill sets. While I've never felt that being a
woman has hindered me as I've risen through the
ranks of IT from programmer to CIO, I know that
* Develop your own
framework to decide
which IT systems
are good candidates
delivery, based on
an assessment of the
and security risk
Certain artificial intelligence technologies, such
as natural language processing, can supercharge
those knowledge management systems, helping
us to better uncover knowledge that we have
that may not be readily apparent and make it
more available to the larger organization.
if you know something and
understand something, you need
to make that clear and never
to submit their best ideas for us to test. They're
small projects to start out with so there is
minimal investment required. And there is no
downside to failure, so that takes some of the
risk out of it. We have already piloted a number
of these ideas.
It's all about making the right
decisions today to support
the challenges you are going
to be faced with tomorrow.
You don't necessarily have to have a master
plan for your professional life. I haven't always
mapped out my career. When I was first hired,
I was just happy to get a job. But I've always kept
an eye out for the next opportunity and made
sure that I learned what I could in my current
role to best prepare myself for that next step. I
didn't have to know everything I needed to know
to advance to the next role, but I was willing to
accept the challenges of moving forward. It's
all about making the right decisions today to
support the challenges you are going to be
faced with tomorrow. That's what I've done
with my career. And that's what we are doing
here within our IT organization on a much
* Encourage both IT and the business to
bring forward new types of technology
innovation. Implement these ideas with
small pilot projects to minimize risk.
* Running a business with a
vast international footprint
requires diversity in teams, in
terms of both experience and
background. Look for diversity
even when hiring vendors.