The backbone of public sector IT transformation
It is not uncommon in today’s world to hear about organizations and systems undergoing digital transformation. However, when it comes to public sector and government organizations, it is no simple task. Think legacy architecture, urgency, confidentiality and the need to be hyper-local. To this, add funding and 24/7 public scrutiny. So when the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts appointed Presidio as their digital transformation integrator, they knew that they had made the right choice.
The pandemic has led to many activities now becoming virtual-first, and this includes judicial services. Digital transformation was always on the cards for the NCAOC, all COVID-19 did was accelerate it. What started off as moving from traditional phone systems to IP based phone systems has now developed to build the NCAOC’s ‘tele-justice’ portal, transforming the way court systems use video across the state. Originally brought in to consult on the NCAOC’s incumbent third party solutions framework, Presidio used the opportunity to really integrate with the court’s infrastructure on a consultancy level and evaluate their vendor partners, so the NCAOC could make the best decisions for their preferred infrastructure moving forward.
Speaking of the challenges faced, Presidio VP of Digital Solutions Rob Kim breaks it down to two important factors – funding and talent. Presidio works with public sector organizations on the legislative level in order to justify government spending and fund issuance, as this is a critical step in ensuring that projects see the light of day. Another is the constraint around the talent needed to support newer digital and cloud native technologies in addition to prioritizing investments in training for the current IT resources to manage and maintain the digital solutions that are deployed. Understandably so, public sector IT departments are busy prioritizing traditional infrastructure needs over IT or cloud operations as this isn’t their sole focus.
What a company like Presidio really does is it adds a layer of expertise to an existing infrastructure along with the right ‘service approach’, which means supporting the organization from a grassroots level all the way up rather than trying to sign them off with a cookie-cutter solution. While Presidio has the comprehensive digital portfolio to accelerate the modernization of your datacenter, the real advantage is our ability to operationalize the management and maintenance of the new solution. This allows the focus of your resources to prioritize serving the business needs instead of the extensive investment in recruiting and training to support these new technology platforms. Further, our ability to construct flexible consumption models will provide a multitude of options that should increase the probability of receiving funding approval.
Allowing integrators like Presidio handle the operational responsibilities also means that organizations can now go back to focusing on their priorities, for instance the NCAOC can go back to providing judicial support to the state without ever having to worry about their tele systems, IT infrastructure and so forth. This also puts the public at ease, knowing they have a judicial system that’s available 24/7, even in the midst of a global pandemic.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.