In this preview conversation, Aaron Back and Acceleration Economy and Paragon Films CIO Kenny Mullican discuss Acceleration Economy’s upcoming Digital CIO Summit, which takes place April 4-6. In today’s Road to Digital CIO Summit preview discussion, Kenny talks about how the role of the CIO has evolved over the past decade, which is when he first took on the Paragon Films CIO job. He also explains why it’s important to hear about technology solutions from customers rather than vendors, a chief focus of the CIO Summit programming.
To hear more data modernization, AI/hyperautomation, cybersecurity, and growth strategies from CIO practitioners, tune into Acceleration Economy’s Digital CIO Summit, which takes place April 4-6. Register for the free event here.
01:02 — Aaron asks Kenny how much he’s seen the role of the CIO change over the past few years in light of the massive evolution of cloud, AI, cybersecurity, and data modernization, which keep blurring the lines among technologies.
01:34 – Kenny says that when he took on the job of CIO at Paragon Films 10 years ago, there was already a move towards the cloud, but cloud providers weren’t mainstream and user-friendly with their offerings, and many companies were still hesitant to move their on-premises systems there. One of the first things he did when he started the job was implement an ERP system, but it was on-premises. Manufacturing companies were hesitant about the cloud: How did it work and could they trust it?
02:35 — Now, a decade later, the same companies covered on Acceleration Economy have become heavily involved in cloud computing, and it’s probably the vast majority of their business today. He says Paragon Films recently transitioned its ERP system from on-premises to fully cloud-based with Dynamics 365, and it’s been a pretty wild ride for him to see. In addition, 10 years ago, AI was not on his radar, either, but today, cloud-based AI is a key technology that he and other CIOs are talking about; it’s expected to be a game-changer for his and other companies.
03:53 — Aaron remarks how back then there wasn’t even a way to connect with peers in terms of how the cloud worked for customers. One of the big focuses at the CIO Summit is customer stories about technology, and he wonders what Kenny thinks about the importance of customer stories about technology rather than vendor stories.
05:29 — Marketing hype is one thing, and anyone can make a video or demonstration sound like the best thing ever. So much of what Kenny works with in business has its start in consumer goods, and there’s a good reason that when people go to buy consumer goods, they want to see reviews from other people who have actually used a product. In Kenny’s view, there’s no difference when you’re a business looking for a cloud provider, vendor, or partner. You want to know the experiences of people who have already used their services or technology solutions. If there are customers singing their praises and talking about how amazing their services are, and what they’ve been able to achieve, that goes much further than what any salesman might say to convince you that they will be there for you.
06:48 — On the other side, a consumer or customer will share a failure or something to watch out for on a product, but you’re unlikely to hear a vendor say, ‘Here’s what to watch out for with my company.’ Instead, the vendor may tell you what to watch out for with its competitors’ offerings. Therefore, it’s essential to hear from the people who have been in the thick of it and have firsthand experience.
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