SEBA Executive Speaker SeriesQ:  What do you get when you combine four seasoned IT strategists to speak at one event?

A:  A packed room of Gael MBA students, alumni and friends interested in lifelong learning and personal innovation.

On Wednesday April 17, Saint Mary’s College of California School of Economics and Business Administration hosted another Executive Speaker Series on “Technology and Global Competitiveness: Best Practices and Future Trends”. This series highlighted four distinguished panelists:

  • Rebecca Jacoby, chief information officer and senior vice president of the IT and Cloud & Systems Management Technology Group of Cisco
  • Mark Egan, partner of StrataFusion Group, Inc. and former chief information officer of VMWare and Symantec
  • Adam Joffe, chief technology officer for Blurb, former chief technology officer of Sony Online Entertainment.
  • Michael Blitz, director, Accenture Technology Vision—Accenture Technology Labs

The discussion was moderated by Saint Mary’s College School of Economics and Business Administration professor and fulbright scholar, Jyoti Bachani. A sample of discussion highlights are listed below:

  • “Start with the ideal business outcome first. Then figure out how to solve it with technology. You may not be the IT department but more and more it will become part of your job to understand technology out there because that’s what’s going to get you the tools and powers to do your job.”
  • The panelists shared stories about using collaboration technology to innovate, using the “power of the group” to come up with solutions.
  • “More than 200 Fortune 500 companies have moved their R&D labs to India which means Indians now have the opportunity to develop more research capabilities and this will have serious implications. We in Silicon Valley think we do things that change the world but on the other side of the world they are also doing things that are changing our lives here.”
  • “Social media has enabled us to manage our relationships digitally. I now have a billion people who now expect to have their relationships managed differently. Entire companies and industries who have been built based on personal relationships like insurance...with the advent of technology we’ve traded that relationship for scale. We’re at an interesting juncture now where we can get the scale and develop loyalty and trust. That will be an interesting paradigm. For example if you walk into Burberry one day the sales person may know exactly about all your past purchases so they can customize your shopping experience. People are trying to figure out how to master this new paradigm.”
  • “Anything around collaboration (social mobile video) has changed the way you expect to interact with businesses, employee, with each other. The challenge is that it’s still a fight for relevance. If you’re a business you figure out how to use these technologies but it doesn’t mean you are relevant. The same thing is not relevant to everybody.”
  • “The speed of innovation must be at high pace. How do you create something that feels like customization and still be able to scale? How can your customer feel like they’re getting personal service?” Cisco finds that hybrid interactions are phenomenally relevant and meaningful to people. Just a digital transaction is not enough.

Throughout the discussion, the four panelists all agreed on the fact that successful technology innovations bring value. IT groups cannot work on projects that are interesting or challenging to them - it could be the most brilliant product ever, but if it does not bring value to a company, it will not thrive. Value is the critical success factor in technology innovation. Click here to view some photos of the evening.

About Saint Mary's College School of Economics and Business Administration 
Founded in 1863, Saint Mary’s College of California is a cornerstone institution of the San Francisco bay area.  After nearly 150 years, with a network of more than 40,000 alumni worldwide, Saint Mary’s tradition of educational excellence is stronger than ever. Saint Mary's School of Economics and Business Administration is grounded in this same rich history and tradition of excellence.  With a focus on global perspective and responsible business, all of our five distinct graduate business degree programs are designed for working professionals who seek the knowledge and skills needed to accelerate their careers.  Small class sizes facilitate collaboration, accessibility, and engaging discussions with our distinguished faculty, and an interactive learning environment focused on practical business knowledge, serves to provide our students with the maximum return on their investment.

About the Executive Speaker Series:
Hosted by the School of Economics and Business Administration (SEBA), the Executive Speaker Series brings CEOs, presidents and other top corporate leaders from the nation’s C-suites, leading academics of national prominence and government, non-profit and non-governmental organizational leaders to present their views on topics of current importance and intellectual, business and academic topics to the Saint Mary’s and Bay Area communities. Past prominent speakers include Dr. Geoffrey Moore, best selling business author (e.g., Crossing the Chasm, Inside the Tornado) and Dr. Pehong Chen, President and CEO of Broadvision. These high level executives speak about cutting-edge issues that challenge conventional wisdom and ways of doing things, elaborate on trends in various industries and economic sectors, and provide important career inspiration and advice for our students, faculty, alumni and broader community. These events are an excellent opportunity to learn from experienced executives and to network with influential leaders. 

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