Adobe’s CIO at Interop Event: Demand Leadership Brilliance

Gerri Martin-Flickinger, Adobe’s CIO, delivered a keynote speech at Interop 2015 – the leading technology conference designed to inspire, inform and connect the world’s IT community.  Gerri’s presentation titled, How to Capitalize on the Golden Age of IT Innovation, provided insights on how IT professionals can take advantage of the next generation of IT and evolve the roles they play within the enterprise to drive business impact.

CBM_3447Market disruptors including cloud technology, mobile devices, and web-based services have changed the face of IT.

Martin-Flickinger was quoted, “We have entered the Golden Age of IT Innovation, where the conversation has shifted away from cost and back-end infrastructure to the value IT innovation brings in driving the business.”  She continued, “The skills that made IT professionals successful 3 years ago, won’t make people successful 3 years from now.”

Shifting IT from cost to value takes a change in mindset, skillset, relationships, and overall approach.  Martin-Flickinger outlined 5 key strategies for embracing this period of change and taking advantage of it to promote professional ambitions to the next level.


1. Demand Leadership Brilliance

IT professionals need to be bold and let go of the things that don’t propel the business forward.   “Don’t try to manage everything but rather put your brain to work on what is important. “ Martin-Flickinger asked the audience:  What will you give up in order to focus on areas where you can make a difference?


2. Form Strategic Partnerships

IT leaders spend at least two-thirds of their time managing partnerships inside and outside the company.  Within the enterprise redefine relationships, shift the conversation, and give up past paradigms.  Identify ways to increase collaboration with Marketing and Product Development to embed IT in the product, improve GTM strategies, and enable partner supply chains. Externally, it’s about leveraging innovation capabilities from suppliers and developing key supplier relationships to foster a win-win partnership.


3. Entrust the Business

 Enable business units and corporate functions to own more business process automation capabilities.  By doing so, resources are freed up to focus on IT innovation and initiatives that help drive business revenue. “Harness the desire for business-driven SaaS and use it to free brain space!” commented Martin-Flickinger.   An important part of entrusting the business is to establish guardrails to manage risk and promote accountability.

4. Enable the Back Office so IT is in the Product

IT’s infrastructure expertise, platform knowledge, data insights, and web services experiences are brought to bear in products today. “In the digital era, IT is part of the product,” said Martin-Flickinger.  A Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is critical to enable this, which provides an integration layer for hybrid IT, web services, and self-service capabilities.

5. Maximize Data Assets

Martin-Flickinger commented, “The opportunity for IT to lead digital business transformation, using data, is greater than ever before.”   It’s important to bring disparate data together across IT, Marketing and Product in order to galvanize customer engagement and drive greater personalization in products.

Martin-Flickinger concluded the presentation with a question to the audience:  Where will your leadership brilliance take you?

To hear more, watch the 20 minute replay of Martin-Flickinger’s Interop Keynote presentation.