Joe AbiDaoud is the Chief Information Officer at HUDBAY and responsible for the IT functions. HUDBAY is an integrated base metals mining company with operations in North and South America.
Mike Jankowski is the Enterprise Architect and IT Security Officer at HUDBAY. Mike is responsible for introducing new technology, as well as IT security strategy.
LIFARS: What are some tips and recommendations that you have for other CIO’s and IT managers that are looking to do business with IT vendors?
Joe: It really comes down to how they choose to engage their customers – it varies from vendor to vendor. Some take a very self-centered approach, some take a very relationship-centered approach. I prefer the relationship-centered approach, where they take the customer’s needs into consideration, but trying to anticipate what’s happening in the customer’s environment. Ultimately, a vendor that is willing to accept feedback and involve the customer in the development of services and products they are offering, are the best considerations. You definitely want a vendor that has the ability to execute. Somebody who not only can talk the talk, but can walk the walk too. I find many vendors do a fantastic sales job. They typically have their sales folks very well primed. Then, when you say let’s do this, a whole other team comes in, their delivery team. Sometimes there seems to be a disconnect – a difference in expectations, or difference in experience. Companies that demonstrate not only that they can sell a product, but can implement it to the expectation of the customers is important. Lastly, I look at the companies that have really thought about what they’re going to be doing down the road. Companies that have strategies. Companies that have have a product map or services road map. As a CIO, I feel more comfortable when the technology landscape changes that these vendors will be able to change with it. We are not going to end up being left behind or something that is just going to be obsolete altogether.
LIFARS: Do you think that disconnect between sales and their technical team is the reason there have been bankruptcies with other cybersecurity firms?
Joe: I’ve worked with several software vendors with my business partners and looking at the various solutions anywhere related to finance, to health and safety, to Human Resources and we always seem to go through a very consistent sales process. Then, it gets down to execution and implementation and the experience consists of different teams, different people, and different skill sets. Why that happens or why companies do that? It could be cultural or could be the way that you structure and organize. We have situations where the regional business units compete against one another and when you’re a global company, you need a partner that can deliver services in your different geographies. You don’t want a vendor that is competing internally. It creates obstacles a creates barriers. That is an example of not putting your customers’ best interest forward.
LIFARS: How do you see IT’s role in today’s business world as compared to the early years of IT?
Mike: In the early days of IT, we were largely a provider of utilitarian services, such as an email or a computer of some sorts. We were typically free to interact with our Star Wars figurines on our desks – and that is not a knock against Star Wars. More recently, it continues to evolve and it is a pleasure to be a part of this evolution. In fact, we are working with functional areas of our business and walking the plank with them, so to speak. We are beginning to understand their process and working closely with their subject matter expert. IT now looks for opportunities to help the business either be more focused on the best practice processes or to better utilize technology to increase the efficiency of the execution of those processes.
Today, IT needs to increase mobility. We need to power our IT machine to provide the same assurance, regardless of the information has been posted internally or on infrastructure that may be in the cloud or via software service.
LIFARS: Do you still find it difficult to translate the value of IT to certain industries today?
Joe: IT’s role has expanded. We continue to deliver the traditional services, but have become more of a part of the everyday business and operation. A strong IT function becomes a trusted adviser among his or her peers and is part of business discussions. Many refer to it as ‘having a seat at the table,’ but it is more about sitting in the same row.
IT is expected to anticipate changes, disruptions, business impact, and bring forward innovations into the business.
Mike: IT has evolved to work closely with subject matter experts in our functional areas and have become focused on processes. This, to me, is much more interesting, tangible, and valuable. We are seen more as ensuring the integrity of information, wherever it may reside, as opposed to specific technical pieces. We empower our IT team to provide the same assurances regardless of whether information is hosted internally on our infrastructure or in the cloud via a SaaS service.
LIFARS: What security measures must accounted for when conducting technological changes for example integration of technology?
Joe: Security has evolved significantly and is a key factor when considering IT solutions. Legacy perimeter security is not enough. The Cloud, IoT, and Social Media have changed the game completely. Your cloud vendors are now extensions of your organization and their security is very relevant to your overall security architecture. Social engineering and mobility have introduced several challenges as well.
Mike: IT must work to protect corporate interests by carefully considering the best way to interact with a SaaS provider’s infrastructure without exposing its own. We must ensure that we do not open our perimeter, do not replicate our credentials externally, do not complicate the end user experience. The result should be diligent and hardly noticeable. Consider establishing an isolated security layer such or Authentication-as-a-Service and Identity Management.
LIFARS: What different challenges do CIO’s face in a non-IT focused organization, as compared to an IT focused organization? What is the dynamic when working with the rest of the organization?
Joe: If I were a technology-based organization, which means that I’m delivering typically a product or service to many different types of customers, I need to be thinking about standards, integration, and agile delivery methodologies. Products or services that I’m selling can and will work in different environments that I am working in. In an non-IT focused organization, I can get away with just delivering a solution that only satisfies my business and may only work within my organization and may not work anywhere else. Whether you’re an IT group, a marketing group, a sales group, or any other type of business you are in, a degree of involvement and collaboration environment needs to be there.
To contact Joe AbiDaoud on LinkedIn.
To contact Mike Jankowski on LinkedIn.