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2019 CIO Roundtable Recap E-mail
Written by Steven Wright   

An Amazing Evening at AITP Atlanta's 13th Annual CIO Roundtable!


CIO Panel Onstage


 AITP Atlanta’s CIO Roundtable is our marquee event and one that our members and guests look forward to each year and for good reason. Joe Gross, President of CIO Partners, a technology executive retained search firm, works with some of the country’s top IT leaders. Joe not only was an amazing moderator, but his experience enabled to add his own unique perspective and depth of knowledge on industry issues. What added to this stand out event was the diversity of industries represented. Our panel was comprised of CIO's from large and mid-sized enterprise organizations, in industries including lending, utility, design and high technology were represented. With the diversity on the panel, you'd think there would be widely varying responses, but as it turns out, the advice and issues were very similar.

The following are just a few questions and take-aways from the evening's discussion:


JOE GROSS (Moderator): How does your organization attract, and more importantly retain talent?

SALLIE GRAVES: Atlanta is one of the toughest market’s for recruitment and retention. One of the things MagMutual does is to understand the culture of your company and how people are going to appreciate that and being able to share that and look for people who have that fit.

JAKE ELSON:  One of the things that the millennial workforce demands is workplace flexibility and the ability to work in a mobile nature. One of the things we did is to develop a platform or foundation where they work any where on any device, any time. Over the last 18 months, they’ve focused on implementing a variety of collaboration tools to enable “work for anywhere” a lot easier.


JOE: What’s important in your leadership style, and what are you looking for in new leaders coming into your organization?

ALAN SIBLEY: Leadership is being able to jump in there, and get things done. If you can’t get things done, you can’t gain others respect and lead them. The hardest thing in IT, is explaining IT to the Board. First thing in leadership is being able to manage yourself. If you can’t manage yourself, you can’t lead other people. You need to set the example yourself.

ROY STUBBS: Recognizing that a CIO’s value to the organization isn’t how well I put out fires, but how do I prevent them from happening. I coach leaders and managers, especially those who came up through engineering and development, that while before you were fighting those fires, I’m now going to compensate you on how well you prevent those fires. That is a key learning point. 


JOE: When it comes to all those new technologies (Artificial Intelligence, Data Lakes, Data Streams, etc.) how do you prioritize these things when your CEO or the business asks you about them?

ROY STUBBS: If we’re going to do that, is this going to help us make money, or lose money. You still must have an objective way to evaluate those priorities. Is this going

GREG BUCKLAND: We try to set up time and budget to explore. We leave budget for exploration, where we see opportunity, they do a quarterly build-a-thon, that opens a lot of opportunities as the team can use any technology, they want to solve problems. Through that they’ve come up with real business solutions to issues that exist today.

SALLIE GRAVES: Puts together a 3-year strategic plan – what is going to drive the business forward, and how are those technologies going to support the strategic plan. Being able to use this to support innovation is key.

JAKE ELSON: Making sure that every IT initiative supports the strategic plan. There are many in IT that aren’t sure that what they are doing ties to what the business is doing. When you align those projects with the strategic plan, those team members can see how their work is making a positive contribution to the organization.


JOE: Security is a major issue everywhere. What are you doing to assure your leaders / board of directors, that you are doing enough:

GREG BUCKLAND: I work for a Dutch company, so European laws are different that US – GDPR is big for example. We approach this by getting external audits – we’ve found it’s the best way to prove to our clients and executive group that our security is sound and that we’re doing everything we can do. This 3rd party audit is the best way we’ve found to prove that we’re in a controlled and secured state.

SALLIE GRAVES: We provide services back to their policy holders to help coach them and provide education so they understand how they can protect themselves and share what we are doing as a company to keep things secured. We maintain a very close relationship with our Board of Directors and Audit committee, so they are fully informed on all actions my group is taking to protect the organization.

There was an amazing amount of quality information exchanged - too much to cover in an already lengthy LinkedIn post. In order to get the full impact of these meetings, please consider becoming a member! The knowledge sharing and comradery just cannot be beat!

Thanks again to our panel and moderator for taking time out of their busy schedules to share their stories and educate our members and guests. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our event sponsors, Corus360 (Platinum Sponsor), Varonis (Event Sponsor) and NetApp (Event Sponsor), without whom these events would not be possible!


CIO Guests


May Dinner Meeting Recap E-mail
Written by George Orlin   

The Serverless Movement for Dummies

A peek at recent Google search trends will tell you that "Serverless Computing" is on the rise in the minds of technologists across industries. This increasingly prevalent computing strategy is emerging as a key player in the overall enterprise architecture for countless large organizations, including Capital One, Coca-Cola, Netflix, Nordstrom, and many more.

So what really is Serverless Computing, and how can it help our businesses?

Rupak Ganguly
, Solutions Architect at Docker, recently explored the subject at our most recent AITP Atlanta dinner in a fascinating talk that dove deep into the core issues of the topic.


The Evolution of Computing


  1. Data Centers: In years past, enterprise computing occurred almost exclusively within private, climate-controlled data centers consisting of hundreds or thousands of individual servers. In this world, deployments were complex, risky, and arduous. Infrastructure investment required massive capital contribution and the ROI only become clear after long payback periods.
  2. Cloud: With the emergence of Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and other "cloud computing" providers, enterprises were presented with a new, more affordable computing option. This "cloud" option allowed licensing of server space within a managed data center, spreading the infrastructure investment over many months. Additionally, cloud introduced easier server-scaling, allowing performance to maintain consistent even as request volume increased. Finally, service-oriented architecture arose as a new architecture methodology that decoupled software components, making deployments significantly easier.
  3. PaaS: With platform-as-a-service, you stopped having to manage infrastructure altogether. The engineering teams now only focused on producing single-responsibility "microservices", exposed by standard sets of open APIs, allowed easy orchestration of previously complex, monolithic backend business processes. These microservices resided on auto-scaling servers, of any desirable size, in the cloud
  4. FaaS: Finally, we have arrived at serverless computing. In this world, individual functions (think of them as "micro-microservices") would each perform a small portion of a single-responsibility job. These functions are initiated by server events instead of user input. Finally, these functions require zero thought about infrastructure needs since each function (when utilizing an offering such as AWS Lambda) spins up its own computing infrastructure automatically, runs itself, then shuts the infrastructure down.

With that all said, it's clear that serverless computing isn't entirely serverless, but it does keep you from worrying about servers.

Definition of "serverless": Though servers exist, the developer does not have to think about them

When Serverless Makes Sense

A serverless architecture pattern can add significant value while reducing costs in the right use cases. So what are the right use cases?With that all said, it's clear that serverless computing isn't entirely serverless, but it does keep you from worrying about servers.

Use Cases

In these cases, serverless computing can simplify the processing of these jobs while keeping infrastructure management and costs very low. However, there are some challenges with serverless including higher latency, high prices at very high volumes, and challenges around service discovery. With that said, serverless may not always be the right choice for all scenarios.

So how does this help businesses innovate more quickly and spend less getting to meaningful results?

The answer to that question becomes clear when looking at the typical "cost of solution" model:

Solution Costs

Serverless dramatically reduces the effort associated with supporting a solution, from a much leaner DevOps needs to a much lower (in most cases) compute needs. When considering the model above, both the factors on the right side of the equation are reduced, which reduced the total cost of the solution to the business. Additionally, the opportunity for the business to iterate faster & test ideas faster than the competition becomes a real option.
Interested in learning more about serverless computing? Reach out to Rupak Ganguly for an expert opinion on best practices, and much more.

About AITP Atlanta

Does emerging technology fascinate and inspire you? Are you looking to learn more about high-tech including artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cybersecurity?

Then we have some great news… AITP Atlanta is shaping up to be the premier forum of discovery and innovative thinking for local technologists in 2019. We’d like to invite you to join a tight network of professionals, just like you, on the journey to the cutting-edge of the possible across the technology industry.

AITP Cityscape

Association of IT Professionals (AITP) is the leading association for technology professionals, students and educators. Join us to build your professional network, strengthen your technical knowledge and soft skills, develop a personal career path, and keep current on technology and business trends. Be part of the community that continues to push technology forward and join thousands of other tech professionals as an AITP member.

See you at our next dinner event!


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