Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

3 IT Lessons from Mark Tonnesen, CIO of Electronic Arts

By

Recently, Thor Olvasrud from CIO.com sat down for an enlightening Q&A with the CIO of Electronic Arts, Mark Tonnesen, who’s been using Box to improve collaboration across EA’s global network of employees. In this interview, he reveals his thoughts about the consumerization of IT, cloud tech, innovation and EA’s long-term technology strategy.

There’s a lot of fantastic information and insights to glean from the article, so I thought it’d be helpful to provide a quick recap of Mark’s key takeaways.

Companies Must Innovate Rapidly – or Get Left Behind

Most of us are already living our personal lives in the digital world. As Mark states, “almost every part of our lives is going digital. It’s all online. It’s mobile. Everything we do, we want to do at our fingertips when we want to do it and where we want to do it.”

In order to remain relevant, large companies have to keep up with the pace of consumers, and that requires reinventing business process from the ground up in order to deliver products as quickly as possible, on the devices consumers use. “Quite frankly, it’s all about time to market,” states Mark.

Being able to innovate rapidly across an organization isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s a necessity. Businesses that want to stay ahead of the competition – and keep up with customers – must prioritize speed and agility.

Both Employees and Companies Benefit from the Consumerization of IT

CIOs and IT teams have long worried about the supposed risks of employees bringing their own devices into the workplace. Companies like EA are fully embracing a BYOD policy, and it isn’t just making the company more collaboration and mobile – it’s actually driving down costs. “We’re seeing more employees decide to bring their own computers, their own devices and so it saves on a lot of capital,” says Mark.

Mark’s goal is to create more freedom in the enterprise so employees can collaborate whenever, however and wherever they want to. And saving money in the process certainly isn’t a bad perk.

CIOs Should Prioritize Success Rather Than Cost

IT has long put the company’s bottom line first, rather than ease of use or employee satisfaction. While budget should still be a concern, Mark emphasizes that IT as a whole should start focusing on success first and cost second.

IT’s job should be to deliver results and facilitate innovation by providing tools for employees to be successful. Mark ends the interview with a great final bit of wisdom on how CIOs can drive innovation in the enterprise: “Historically, in a lot of IT organizations, people are command-and-control oriented…if IT can learn to get the heck out of the way and provide the tools for the employees to do what they need to do, great things will happen.”

To read the entire interview, head over to CIO.com. If you’d like to hear more insightful, interesting observations about technology, CIOs and the cloud, join us at BoxWorks next week. On the first day, Mark Tonnesen will take the stage with our Enterprise GM, Whitney Bouck, to discuss innovation in the enterprise. Later that afternoon, we’ll have a CIO panel featuring Equinix, Netflix, MRM and General Electric –  you don’t want to miss it!