Innovator of the Month: Josh Feliciano

Name: Josh Feliciano
Current role: Senior Director of Collaboration, Workplace Services Group
Company: S&P Global
Background: In his previous role at an ink manufacturer, Josh was responsible for IT services across Latin America and corporate.
Professional passions: Asking questions, solving problems, fixing things.
Offline passions: Feliciano is a family man and likes to spend time with his wife and three children — cooking, enjoying a glass of wine, staying active. In a busy household with two professional parents, at the end of the day, an episode of Game of Thrones is in order.

As background, S&P Global is a leading provider of transparent and independent ratings, benchmarks, analytics and data to the capital and commodity markets worldwide. The Company's divisions include S&P Global Ratings, S&P Global Market Intelligence, S&P Dow Jones Indices and S&P Global Platts. S&P Global also recently acquired Kensho Technologies, Inc., an award-winning machine intelligence company founded out of Harvard University in 2013, and Panjiva, Inc., a global supply chain data provider with impressive machine learning capabilities.

In the push for digital transformation, the company has a singular mission-- to Power the Markets of the Future with its Essential Intelligence. As Senior Director of Collaboration for S&P Global's Workplace Services Group, Josh Feliciano describes it this way: "S&P has gone through a radical transformation in recent years. The leadership has looked to transform the company from a holding company with different lines of business into one company that's committed to driving unparalleled value for its customers across the global financial markets through the intersection of S&P's vast data and technology capabilities."

Feliciano is an internal enabler of amplified productivity and collaboration for all of S&P Global's end users. "We may have different divisions," he says, "but we must all operate as one. We understand that we can work a lot better if we pool our resources and share best practices." His focus is on building out a digital workplace across lines of business, and he knows how acutely his team's decisions impact digital and core services for about 24,000 employees and consultants around the globe.

For all that he's done to further the cause of unhindered collaboration at S&P Global, Feliciano has been named Box's Innovator of the Month, a customer recognition award which lauds the accomplishments of IT professionals solving big challenges for their organizations with hard work and ingenuity. 

Leading the charge of disruption

"From a business perspective, S&P Global is very aware of digital disruption," says Feliciano. "A big part of our business is based on public sources of data, so it's susceptible to disruption. The goal is for us to disrupt ourselves and build some great capabilities that can help us in the marketplace."

These are external-facing goals, but they're bolstered by internal practices. "It's really about making sure our employees can do their jobs and communicate effectively anywhere, anytime," he explains. "We truly are an enterprise service." His domain covers every technology and process employees use to work together: email, intranet and social media, real-time communication, web conferencing, file sharing and enterprise content management. 

For its pivotal place in S&P Global, Workplace Services is a relatively new construct there. When Feliciano started 12 years ago, he was a lead engineer for mobile, later moving into enterprise architecture. His current title is fresh, driven by the company's zeal to build a holistic, best-in-breed, cloud-based technology stack. The aim of Workplace Services is to deliver a cohesive end-user computing experience across the entire company. Feliciano stood out as the right person to lead that collaboration effort. Right from the start, his efforts to introduce Cloud Content Management to the entire extended workforce have brought the company closer. 

The move to unite content in the cloud

Under Feliciano's management, S&P Global rolled out Box and Office 365 together, aiming to give end users a simple, mobile, integrated experience with content. Prior to Box, different business divisions had been using different platforms for content. There were six different cloud services used to share data, and he says: "if you wanted to share something with someone, it was far from streamlined. 

By consolidating content management and governance in the cloud, it became much simpler for folks company-wide to get access to their data and share it. At the same time, one of Feliciano's primary goals was to reduce the burden on the legacy infrastructure. "We have a lot, and it costs us a lot of time, money and effort to maintain. With Box, we're adding almost 3TBs of data a month. If I had to do that on premise, I'd have to really plan it out, and it would definitely be a large maintenance task. For me, when I hear 'Cloud Content Management,' I think about, wow, I don't have to manage all the infrastructure that goes with it." By uniting S&P Global's content in the cloud, Feliciano was able to lighten the infrastructure maintenance burden on his team so it can focus on more strategic activities. 

Championing the ever-changing needs of users

"Solving problems is one of the most exciting things I do," says Feliciano. "I love fixing things." Getting to the bottom of what end users want and need, then upgrading their experience — sometimes radically — is the number one thing that drives him. "Our employees need to be productive and nimble," he says. "We need to remove friction from the platform and focus on enabling our employees to be as collaborative and productive as possible, so they can then deliver on their goals."

Keenly aware that the workforce itself is changing, Feliciano knows you can't just rest on the laurels of old tried-and-true content-management tools. "It's not just about the change from Baby Boomers to Millennials," he says. "It's about the expectations people have — that their data is always there, wherever they're at. And they want it to be simple — easy to use, easy to access, easy to search. A big part of digital transformation is the expectation that our end users, and ultimately our customers, have."

Inside-out decision making to better enable end users

While some IT leaders spend all their time at tech conferences learning about The Next Big Thing and bringing it back to the fold, Feliciano likes to work from the inside out. That is, instead of bringing in ideas to execute, he partners closely with business departments to identify the needs first. "New projects are driven by lines of business, and simply enabled by IT," he explains. "We see ourselves more as enablers than creators. We're letting them create. They're doing the heavy work, the application owners and developers."  An example of this is supporting the Enterprise Services team with a and Box integration that allows for invoice data to be accessed more easily. This mindset allows for a lot of creativity within process improvement. "I'm a process person," says Feliciano, "I love to improve things."

His advice to peers? "You need to balance user empowerment with internal controls. You need to build strong partnerships. Being able to support application owners has been huge for us. We provide the platform and allow them to be creative and focus on integrating their applications with it."

That spirit of partnership with internal users and application owners has been a successful tactic for Feliciano, but it's really more than a business philosophy; it's an ethos.