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CIO Interview with Paul Timmerman, CTO and SVP of Technology for Rolta AdvizeX


Technology Today: From Supporting the Business to Defining new Business Models

Rolta AdvizeX is a global IT solutions provider focused on providing services and technology in the areas of applications, data, cybersecurity, and cloud and infrastructure.  CTO and Senior Vice President of Technology Paul Timmerman gives his take on why the IT role has to evolve now.

What is your focus as CIO?

My main focus is on tech enabling three things: Becoming more efficient, competing more effectively and gaining more insights. When I look at the CIO role, efficiency and optimization are in the past. Today, tech is no longer just supporting the business, it is defining the business model itself. You look at Uber, which is a taxicab service, and Air BnB, which is a hotel service, and these organizations actually redefined their segments through technology. No longer does IT simply support the backend, but it actually drives the business. That speaks to the new role of the CIO.

How is the blooming Internet of Things changing your view of security?

We’ve transitioned from talking about what it is and what it will become to really seeing true business applications being built for it. I do believe there is a broader impact the more IoT becomes prevalent. You have the sensor segment creating the actual sensors, the industry segment like the car manufacturers and lastly the intelligence segment exploring how we collect and correlate the data. At Advizex, we’re starting to see results on the insight side. The investment is paying off.

We also need to ask, ‘How do you build interesting big data applications for customers and how does security play into this?’ When everything is connected, everything is collecting data and everything is enabled to make decisions, then security becomes a really big deal.

How has consumer-facing tech affected your B2B focus?

By far the biggest influence in enterprise tech has been consumers. Look at the Apple App Store, where you click on an app and automatically have it, as opposed to an enterprise product where you are analyzing it, buying it, implementing it and configuring it.

Consumer habits are now becoming enterprise trends, which means we need stronger security postures and mobility strategies. I don’t think this trend will slow down.

Your company has been around more than four decades. How has the CIO role evolved over the years?

One of the biggest changes has been in the buyer to seller relationship — every price is known to the end user. In the old days, people would get different prices depending on the salesperson.

Now, it is transparent pricing and moving from a pricing relationship to a strategy relationship: Don’t just give me the price or tell me what to do, but give me a larger view about how it fits into my overall strategy. And the products themselves have been replaced by purpose: How does this fit into what I want to achieve? It’s not about broad-based solutions anymore, but specific, tailored ones.

What is the biggest tech challenge you expect to conquer by 2020?

We have organizations that have built themselves on an entire foundation of technology: 30 years of tech assets handling all the internal data and a lot of people, processes and products built up around that. Now suddenly, the market – not the company itself, but the market – is demanding you go faster. If you don’t learn how to go faster, you will be disrupted.

We all know where it is going! Now, how do we get the right partnerships to get to where we need to be? The days of the lone IT leader are numbered. As a CIO, you need the right partnerships to meet your goals and objectives to make sure your company doesn’t get disrupted. 

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