IT groups are the technical crackle behind the disruption and innovation that define a brand. These groups comprise of many, but need a leader at the helm to set the bar.

Consider your Chief Information Officer as the one who inspires your best work.

That said, DocuSign is thrilled to welcome our first ever CIO, Eric Johnson!

Eric joins us with nearly twenty years of experience in IT strategy and implementation, so we had to sit down with him to get his point of view on the past and present of Cloud technologies and how to use the Cloud safely and smartly.

What drove you to build cloud technologies in the early 2000s?

I come from a background of on-premise ERP implementations back in the 90s and found that the time to go from ‘business need’ to ‘solving the business problem’ took a very long time: sometimes over the course of multiple years while accruing upwards to tens of millions of dollars. Those who were managing the infrastructure and the upgrade to the software and solution suffered again and again because the pain points weren’t addressed.

I think the Cloud represented an opportunity to break that cycle. And have something that could be brought online quicker while costing less. Once up and running in the Cloud, someone else was managing the infrastructure and the new version behind the scenes. You were always able to take advantage of the latest and greatest capabilities of the solution without having the pain going through an upgrade process to refresh your infrastructure. The Cloud represented an opportunity to accelerate how IT organizations deliver solutions quickly while making their customers very happy.

When did businesses begin to see the Cloud as a vital component?

I think early on, people were somewhat apprehensive to move to the cloud because they weren’t comfortable with the risk of a third-party managing their data. Overtime, as the space has matured with strict standards for security and trust, people are becoming more and more comfortable in partnering with the Cloud for key business processes.    

It’s been an evolution. If you were to ask someone 10 years ago to trust their data to the Cloud, they would have said No Way! But with the rise of the cloud and maturity of the security, it’s uncommon to find companies without the Cloud present in their business.

How do you communicate and follow through with security measures that your customers and partners can trust

It depends by industry. Companies in more regulated industries, like healthcare and banking, answer to a different set of requirements versus a company in an unregulated industry.

However, all companies adhere to these essential requirements:

  • Encryption of Data
  • Ensuring all service providers follow solid security and compliance standards

Overall, these are the standard measures of maturity for Cloud-based companies around being SOC 2 (Service Organization Controls) and ISO 27001 compliant. Such standards signal a mature cloud vendor who can offer a high-level of comfort for their customers and prospects.

What about a business that contracts with a third-party cloud vendor?

Always ensure you’re not taking any undue risk by working with a less mature Cloud vendor. True, they may offer a certain level of innovation, but make sure that the data you may reveal isn’t worth the risk of working with an on-trend cloud vendor. There are many mature Cloud vendors equally as innovative, but with deep security measures in play.

Risk management and mitigation must remain atop your business strategies.

How are CIOs and IT teams game changers for businesses?

First things first, you must ensure that all technical operations run smoothly so teams are able to invest more time in creating innovative IT solutions instead of focusing on ‘keeping the lights on.’

When minds are free to explore the possibilities with Cloud, you see the true strategic value of IT teams. Take running a digital business for example, when an IT team can focus on integrating a fully paperless solution, a business is then able to interact with customers and partners in a fresh and new way.

From your point of view, what are the emerging trends in IT that excite you?

The world of analytics, particularly predictive analytics, will continue to be an exciting space as it matures. With predictive analytics, you have crystal clear insight into your business’ future, which is invaluable for strategic decisions.

Also, we’re going to see a stronger push and evolution into the Cloud. You’ll see more and more companies push to a purely Cloud-based environment.

Additionally, businesses will invest in making interactions with customers and employees as seamless as possible. Our collaborative tools (apps) and processes also are becoming more intuitive and streamlined: pair down the number of apps and tools in play to limit potential confusion.

The number of technologies inside companies will grow because the Cloud offers numerous apps and tools. In this coming year, I want to explore how to synergize all these solutions so they can all those solutions together so they work in harmony?

Thank you Eric for your insight!

DocuReaders – Questions? Please leave your questions and thoughts in the comments section below. 

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