IEIC Virtual Summit Series #2 | “Digitizing Enterprises”

Questions & Answers

June 23rd, 2pm-3pm EDT


  • Dr. Ken Washington, Ford Motor Company CTO                                         KW
  • Rafael Arranz, Telxius COO                                                                               RA
  • Mark Boxer, Cigna, CIO                                                                                       MB
  • Asher Kagan, Blade, CEO                                                                                    AK
  • Frank Nazzaro, Freddie Mac, CIO                                                                    FN
  • Krishna Narayanaswamy, Netskope, Founder and Chief Scientist              KN


  • What lessons learned from this testing time of the pandemic will find their way into the future as more efficient means of doing business in your respective industry?

KW: We have all learnt that we don’t have to be in the same room to productively together. That has profound implications for our footprint globally for where we recruit, how we do talent management, how we even think about what universities to have strategic relationships with. It’s freeing in the sense that it’s very much possible to work now in a much more virtual manner and we have seen that happen now. That’s been the biggest takeaway for Ford and for me personally and professionally.

MB: For us it has been in many ways redefining the patient experience. Telemedicine has been accelerated in unprecedented ways where people did not expect things to unfold this way. We always had this sense that doctors that were further along with their career could just not get comfortable with the technology to adopt in a way that is going to productive—that has been put to rest now. I don’t think we are going back to traditional models; I think its [new model] is here to stay post pandemic, and it has dramatically changed the landscape. We have now seen it go from a replacement to Urgent Care to something that is core and mainstream to the healthcare experience, and that has accelerated us 5-10 years easily and we are not going back the way it was.

KN: What we are seeing from our customers, even post-pandemic as the ‘new normal’ is going to be remote workers. The ability to provide efficient security so that the users are continuing to be productive is something that we are constantly enhancing our service to make that happen. We hear about that constantly from our customers.

  • How far behind or ahead is the government in supporting our enterprise digitization?

FN: I can give you that first-hand. At least for certain aspects in Finance, working with the FHFA (Federal Housing Finance Agency)—they have been excellent as far as keeping up with us. In the case of collaboration, we have done a lot of work with them in AI and ML, because there is a lot of ethical implications associated with that. Whether it be in the workforce, or bias in the model the way we do lending and financing in support of our mission. When I first joined Freddie Mac, I thought it was going to be backward or there was going to be a lot of friction in any transformation effort, but quite frankly I found it to be just the opposite. We do lead in some cases, but they have done a good job of either keeping up or offering up an opinion. AI and ML have been two recent examples of us working with the government and trying to put together a policy, and how we use it and how that implicates the mortgage market in the US.

KW: From the automotive industry standpoint, my response is mixed. What I mean by that is, in the traditional automotive space where we are regulated by the government around fuel economy and safety requirements, I think we’ve got a great handle on things and our government is doing exactly the right thing and doing a great job; it is a heavily regulated industry for a reason. It has been kind of a new territory for us to move into the digitization space. As soon as cars start to get connected, we start to compete with other industries in terms of use of technologies such as wireless spectrum. We begin to deal with things like self-driving cars, automation and the government regulators of the automotive industry are not accustomed to dealing with those things, so they are building new muscles in parallel to when we are designing these technologies. We are finding our way in partnership with the government in the connectivity, digitization and the automation space. It is still very much a work in progress, we have great partners in the government that are working on it. There is still a lot of work to do on the policy front.

MB: In healthcare sector, pre-pandemic progress was being made and roads were being paved with increasing standards, connectivity and the integration that I talked about but along comes the pandemic and now the government agencies have been (and rightly so) focused on the crisis. There is one positive element that came out of it. Whereas in the past, the methodology would have been test and learn, test and learn—now it is, learn, learn, learn—so the acceleration factor increased, and the ability to try things out in a very proactive way with support of the agencies has accelerated a lot of things that are necessary to dramatically improve the healthcare ecosystem so I would say that in some ways it has been an accelerator but in many ways those entities have been distracted with the crisis so therefore, I think we will come back to the ‘new normal post the pandemic. But again, great intervention of the regulation and for now it is learn, learn, learn,

KN: From our vantage point, we are finding that the government is also starting to put some teeth behind regulation. Europe was ahead with GDPR and privacy as we digitize enterprises as more and more TII kind of information that is being gathered and of course in the US, CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) has been the leader. So I think from our vantage point, that is what we see that more and more of our customers want to abide by these regulations that the government is coming up with.

  • What has been the most challenging part of digitizing effort or project that you may have led for your company?

FN: This is indirectly associated with digitization. We had a variety of transformation projects underway; they were all foundational to our modern delivery of services, and hat made our transformation agile. And it wasn’t just agile practices, how we build software; it was all the stuff, whether outside of IT that we had to influence which was a significant mindset change. We had a culture pillar, we had a technology pillar—technology was relatively easy in automating and removing the friction, simplifying all the control requirements that we have had. When it came to be changing the mindset and the culture of the organization; the way we did budgeting cycles, financial recording and the product alignment—I don’t know if I would start that program again. It is our most successful and impactful program of all of them.

KW: My story is regarding the connectivity of our vehicles. Using the technology was easy but shifting the mind-set of how you create business value out of a connected car has been very challenging, that is something that is still work in progress, but you know we are getting there. You have highlighted the fact that this is not just a technical problem, digitizing an enterprise is social, talent, technical, business model, policy, security [end-to-end] problem.

  • Any parting thoughts from the panelists?

MB: Stay well, stay safe, stay connected!

AK: Stay safe during these times, and don’t limit yourself into the physical world. There is a big big digital world out there; let’s stay connected in the digital world and take advantage of it, especially during these testing times.

KN: Stay well, stay safe and stay secure!

FN: This is an unbelievable opportunity to change the way we do things and we should take advantage of it!

KW: Stay safe everyone, don’t waste the crisis, this is an opportunity for us to learn new skills and effect change. We are showing that we can do that across multiple industries.