International guest Mark Schwartz, Chief Information Officer from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services delivered a much anticipated keynote presentation at the 2017 CIO Leaders Summit Australia on ‘What is it really and can a CIO deliver it?’ This session raised some interesting points for discussion. Do we really understand what business value is? We all agree that Information technology can and should deliver business value. But the IT community – and in particular the agile community, which makes a point of organising all its efforts around the delivery of business value – has paid scant attention to what exactly business value means—and how to know whether or not you are delivering it. This problem becomes ever more critical as we push value delivery toward autonomous teams and away from requirements “tossed over the wall” by business stakeholders. An empowered team needs to understand its goal! The question has deep implications for CIOs, who are responsible to their companies for maximizing the business value of IT. But what exactly does that mean? Is it different in different types of business organizations? And as IT delivery shifts more and more to Agile, Lean, and DevOps approaches, how does that affect the CIO and the CIO’s toolkit for delivering business value?
Mark is an experienced, award-winning CIO, a change agent who has led organizations in creating innovative solutions to some of the toughest business challenges around. I am known for formulating and articulating powerful visions and using them to drive change in complex, matrixed, and sometimes rigid and bureaucratic environments. The author of a book on The Art of Business Value, Mark knows how to put technology to work to create competitive advantage, increase revenue, accomplish mission, and generate value. Mark also has experience as a CEO, with MBA degree from Wharton and Computer Science degree from Yale. Mark has been an IT leader in organizations small and large, public, private, and nonprofit. As the CIO at US Citizenship and Immigration Services, I support the processing of about 7 million applications for benefits each year, including requests for citizenship, permanent resident status, employment authorization, refugee status and other humanitarian assistance.