• 9th ITMA CIO Study Trip, Digital Transformation - The Future of Smart Everything, Finland & Estonia

    9th ITMA CIO Study Trip, Digital Transformation - The Future of Smart Everything, Finland & Estonia

  • 34th ITMA Annual Dinner 2015

    34th ITMA Annual Dinner 2015

  • ITMA Lunch Time MTCS Talk on January 13, 2015

    ITMA Lunch Time MTCS Talk on January 13, 2015

  • ITMA Site Visit to SINGPOST: Friday, 20th March 2015

    ITMA Site Visit to SINGPOST: Friday, 20th March 2015

  • ITMA Event: Good Morning CIO! Breakfast Roundtable #2 - A Woman’s Touch to Startups on 19 November 2015

    ITMA Event: Good Morning CIO! Breakfast Roundtable #2 - A Woman’s Touch to Startups on 19 November 2015

  • ITMA Site Visit to ST Electronics, Friday 2nd October @ 2.15pm

    ITMA Site Visit to ST Electronics, Friday 2nd October @ 2.15pm

  • ITMA Event: The State of Cybersecurity: Uncovering the Hard Truths, Monday 22 June 2015

    ITMA Event: The State of Cybersecurity: Uncovering the Hard Truths, Monday 22 June 2015

  • ITMA Workshop by Prof Donald A Marchand - Digital Business Transformation - Friday, 24th April 2015

    ITMA Workshop by Prof Donald A Marchand - Digital Business Transformation - Friday, 24th April 2015

  • ITMA 21st IT Best Practices Seminar - 4 November 2015

    ITMA 21st IT Best Practices Seminar - 4 November 2015

  • 35th ITMA Annual Dinner 2016

    35th ITMA Annual Dinner 2016

7th CIO Executive Program – CIO Study Trip 2013

  
Date and Time:Saturday 14 September 2013, 08:30am
To Saturday 21 September 2013
Place:San Francisco
  

Our entire troupe of over 40 CIOs met on a sunny Saturday afternoon for our flight out to San Francisco and the start of the 7th ITMA CIO Study Trip.

Suitably exhausted after a 17 hour journey, we checked into our hotel in Union Square and rested in preparation for our packed itinerary. Thankfully, our organizers had given us most of the first day to get our bearings and we spent the majority of the day exploring the city and enjoying the sites and food.

Monday began with a tour of Google’s campus and Google Innovations in which we understood the why Google is where it is today - by putting the customer in the heart of everything they do. This was followed by a lunch at the iconic Google Café. We were impressed!

In the afternoon we were hosted by Nir Zuk, CTO of Palo Alto Networks and treated to a fine presentation on the benefits of securing our networks using Palo Alto’s enterprise suite. One of his most important insights was how he managed the company’s Board by setting them clear boundaries, especially during the economic downturn in 2008. He also shared his experience of demoing Palo Alto’s software by inserting the software in their customer’s network and sharing the data gathered – everything from network usage to malware sites visited. Few companies had turned them down after Palo Alto’s demonstration. Towards the end of his presentation, Mr Zuk stressed the importance of showing the value of your product.

Tuesday morning started off with us visiting VMware, a company at the forefront of virtualization and cloud based software. Our presenters Jonathan, Paul Strong (CTO), John Gilmartin (VP Cloud Infrastructure Products) illuminated us on a variety of exciting topics, including the importance of software and virtualization, the proliferation of applications that solve basic consumer problems, the growing role of cloud computing in business transformation, and the unpredictably of managing users with multiple (sometimes up to 5) devices. We were also treated to a presentation on a number of unique innovations being developed by VMware.

Our afternoon began with an insightful presentation from FireEye, a leader in global network security. We were lucky enough to be hosted by the founder and CTO Ashar Aziz as well as Jeff Williams (VP of Sales), and Julie Cullivan (CIO). FireEye is focussed on providing security for a variety organisation, including governments, and we were presented with their strategy for combatting the threats of the day. FireEye does not rely heavily on pattern-based or signature-based threat detection. Instead, their patented dynamic-based analysis tool sits on the network and monitors threats in real-time – something which is unusual in network security. As described by Ashar, the older security model, employing pattern-based detection, is no longer effective and are porous in the face of sophisticated attacks.

Half of our trip complete, and on Wednesday we were on our way to the newly opened Berkeley Innovation Lab, at the Haas School of Business. The new i-Lab is built using a modular structure to facilitate group work and foster creative discussions. We learnt about some of the exciting innovations taking place at the i-Lab, including the high performance network facilities, as well as some of the courses being taught.

The afternoon saw us shepherded to lunch at EMC, an IT company specializing in data storage, information security, analytics and a variety of other sectors. The speaker for the day was Brian Wilson Senior Director at Pivotal, a company at the intersection of cloud and big data - helping enterprises modernise their data infrastructure and applications, and embrace the cloud. Annika Jimenez, Senior Director for Analytics Solutions, presented EMC's capabilities. Our final speaker was Michael Foley a data scientist speaking about the practical applications of data, particularly in solving problems.

Thursday began with a trip to HP’s Palo Alto campus. As a leading technology company, the breadth of innovation taking place in HP is incredible. We spent some time learning about the various interesting developments taking place in HP. Our trip ended with a visit to HP Labs, the exploratory and advanced research group within HP employing hundreds of researchers.

Although we had learnt a lot about the technical and strategic details of the various companies, one of our most interesting tours was of the DreamWorks Animation Studios. We were treated to a live demonstration of how the animators create the spectacle that is a DreamWorks film, starting from initial sketches made on tablets, all the way through to the final animations and effects – bringing the characters to life.

The last full day of our trip began with a visit to the computer storage and data management organisation Netapp. We were hosted by Julie Parrish (CMO), Jay Kidd (CTO), and Brendon Howe (VP of Product and Solutions Marketing). Julie began her talk by describing Netapp’s place in the corporate enterprise world – as a leading data and storage management solutions provider – before moving onto Netapp’s core strategy: innovation, partnership, and culture. For Netapp, innovation is only innovation if it leads to customer success. Jay’s talk focussed on the influence of cloud infrastructure in data storage solutions and the shift in the role of the CIO as a builder of IT infrastructure into a broker of IT services. Brendon described how Netapp had to pivot to better serve their customers and fulfil their specific use cases. Brendon’s talk concluded with a description of Netapp’s “go to market approach”, which provided them the flexibility to better serve their customers.

Our amazing week was topped off by a fascinating look inside the world of the iconic Apple, Inc. Our little troupe were hosted by CIO Niall O’Connor, a leader who had been instrumental in making Apple one of the most valuable companies of the 21st century.

The trip was an eye-opening and educational experience for all involved. In just a week, even our seasoned CIOs learnt a thing or two about the latest developments in technology and business. We also had a lot of fun, interspersed with many laughs and great food! The friendships forged during the trip will certainly be something to cherish for a long time to come.

Lastly, we want to thank all our wonderful partners who hosted us in San Francisco, and making the trip a highly memorable one.

As they say, a picture paints a thousand words, by looking at the photos and quotes from our participants, you will know how much you have missed out on if you were not there.

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