Monica Maria Sanchez is one of the many high-caliber IT Executives who will be a facilitator at NCS Madison’s 2019 Miami CIO Strategy Meeting on December 12, 2019.
Monica Sanchez is an accomplished IT executive with a 25+ year’s career transforming organizations through technology and innovation. She possesses management expertise in insurance and financial services, telecommunications, construction, and oil and gas. She’s served in various leadership roles including EVP & CIO, VP Information Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as Business Unit CIO for large organizations such as AIG. Monica will be leading our discussion group on CIO Driving Growth in Miami, continue reading for a preview of her upcoming session.
“I think CIOs are change leaders in the business, and that we are well suited to help organizations navigate future uncertainty, especially figuring out how to make the business grow through technology and innovation.”
What role can the CIO adopt to drive business growth and why it is critical to organizational success?
I think CIOs are change leaders in the business, and that we are well suited to help organizations navigate future uncertainty, especially figuring out how to make the business grow through technology and innovation. For that, I would say we need to look into things with a curious approach, with a zero-ego mindset, where we could appreciate that we do not have the answer to all the questions and we possibly are not the smartest in the room. Also by cultivating the four dimensions of leadership: Setting the Strategy, Executing for Results, Leading Teams and Being a Relationship Builder and an Influencer, we can make IT-driven sustainable growth happen.
As a CIO how do you help your organization stay responsive to its business needs?
With a good understanding of the challenges facing the business, I partner with business stakeholders and other C-Level executives to identify opportunities to support IT-driven growth and co-create digital strategies. It is not infrequent that technology is not understood by the business, so I also act as an educator and a thought leader that invests in achieving cross-discipline support by educating peers and teams. I also devote a significant amount of time with my team sparking passion, promoting an environment for the emergence of new ideas and alignment with business priorities.
What do you think are the potential risks of implementing new technologies and systems? The rewards?
IT-driven technologies and systems implementations normally follow best-practices, vendors’ security assessments, controls and security scans as part of Software Development Life Cycles and Change Management processes well known by IT staff. But we have seen an increase of Low code/No code applications created by business users (Shadow-IT), who we call “Citizen Developers” or “CitDevs”, without IT being aware of them, which poses a security and privacy risk. Cit-Devs normally DO NOT: a) have the ability to maintain and refactor their own creations, let alone handle the repositories of data those applications create, b) know how to scale their applications (e.g. make a desktop application work on mobile). Given shadow-IT is a reality for most of our companies, I see two ways to reduce the risk: 1) give IT the ability to govern and sometimes audit software Cit-Devs are building, 2) Empower Cit-Devs to build their software under a formal governance model. Both approaches have their pros and cons. It is up to the leaders of the organization to collaborate and decide the best model depending on the need and associated risk.
What example(s) can you give of a top CIO driving growth?
I know a lot of CIOs making amazing efforts to make their companies address their most urgent priorities, keep relevancy in the next 10 years or being disruptors in their industries. As baseball great Jackie Robinson once said, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on others’ lives.” I have found this to be a fundamental truth exemplified by events in my life that have shaped my career. I would say that what is most important contribution CIOs can make is the positive impact they bring to their organizations and their people, independently of how big or small their budgets, teams, and companies are.
What advice would you give to a CIO that was choosing which areas to focus on to drive growth?
Listen to your CEO, business stakeholders and other C-Level executives to learn their perspectives. – Have your measurements and contrast. – Differentiate the root cause of the symptom and act on the first one. – Bring the right people into the room to share the information you collected, make visible some hidden issues not identified before, make sure there is a consensus of what the problems are and collectively decide what should be prioritized. – Be cognizant that change is always difficult for human beings; so inspire change. – Give the team time to discuss the possible solutions and give them enough room to try, fail and re-try within a controlled framework.
Why have you decided to join us at the 2019 Miami CIO Strategy Meeting, and what are you looking forward to sharing at this meeting?
I love to listen to my business colleagues and discuss what is occurring in their roles and companies, as well as share the lessons I have learned in my career and I hope that I can enlighten the attendee’s path to address their present challenges.