The CIO: Balancing Risk with the Need for an Agile Approach to IT

Not too long ago, the head of Information Technology was relegated to managing the servers, ensuring employee connectivity and rolling out new enterprise software. Over the past few years, the CIO role has expanded greatly to mirror the ingrained nature of technology and its critical impact on a company’s ability to grow and serve its customer base. Today, technology isn’t viewed as simply a capital expenditure or a cost center as it once was, it’s completely pivotal to the health and competitiveness of a business and as such, the CIO must be both a strategist and a bit of a visionary.

The founders of IMH – Tim and Chris Vanderhook – set the company up to be agile: an organization that allowed them to make quick decisions around constantly evolving products and offerings in order to deliver market-leading solutions and compete at the forefront of the digital media industry. IMH – and its brands Specific Media, Vindico, Myspace and Xumo – needs to be able to move quickly to meet market demand while at the same time maintain a flawless approach to risk management to protect the vast amount of customer and employee data we oversee.

SearchCIO recently conducted a survey of the top priorities for CIOs and determined that along with cloud computing, security was the primary focus moving into 2015. Here it is no different. Ultimately, we need to be able to minimize risk without compromising innovation and growth. This means adopting technologies that allow us to simultaneously operate with speed, flexibility and efficiency in a way that is thorough, careful and considerately executed.

Many of IMH’s core product offerings are built from internet user data. We are able to take learnings about behaviors and preferences, and anonymize and aggregate them to help our clients create better strategies to reach their actual audiences. We are uniquely qualified to tie all of our data together to give advertisers a much more complete picture than ever before. Now we see the next evolution with identity-based targeting and we are uniquely positioned to lead this movement on behalf of our clients.

In the process of creating and delivering these offerings, we never lose sight of our commitment to data privacy and security. When I served as VP of Technical Operations at Myspace, the social network was the largest of its time, with over 500 million users. Not once did we have a data breach, thanks to very careful and considerate plans around security.

Connectivity will also be an area of huge focus for me. Part of a CIO’s R&R is to ensure that all of our services are available at any point. As part of that effort, our goal is to move the entire IMH infrastructure into the cloud over the course of the next six to twelve months. This will allow us to be more flexible in terms of scaling as well as shorten our time-to-market on the product development front and allow us to experiment with new technologies to create better client services.

Being able to effectively mitigate risk and deliver inventive and effective solutions to our employees and customers is a complex and demanding process. As I look to the next few years and how we’re going to evolve and optimize our infrastructure to support this, I feel that there is no role in the C-suite better suited to do so than the CIO.

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  • #tim vanderhook
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  • #vindico
  • #xumo
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