Adobe CIO appointed to IDCA’s Advisory Council
The International Data Center Authority (IDCA) has appointed Cynthia Stoddard, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of computer software company Adobe, to its Advisory Council.
Previous to joining Adobe, Stoddard acted as the CIO and Senior Vice President at NetApp, a data storage and management company.
“It is the unhindered vision, inspiring passion and just expertise of veterans like Cynthia Stoddard that pave way and architect the roadmap for transforming our industry into a robust platform of sustainability and growth for all,” stated Mehdi Paryavi, Chairman of IDCA.
Stoddard was appointed for her industry expertise, having won a number of awards, including the CIO 100 Award in 2017 and Computerworld Premier’s 100 IT Leaders Award.
She was also named as one of the top Women of Influence in 2016 by Silicon Valley Business Journal, as well being ranked as one of the Top 100 Most Social CIO’s in both 2015 and 2016 by Huffington Post.
"We are grateful to have amazing individuals like Cynthia Stoddard with us who share our spirit of giving back to the community through the effective means of universal standardization and education,” Paryavi continued.
“History will prove that Cynthia Stoddard's participation at IDCA is gesture of true leadership and thus her forthcoming contributions will be instrumental to the progressive evolution of the information technology, cloud, big data, and data centre community."
Stoddard will now help the IDCA in its aim of giving direction to the information technology, data centre and cloud industries.
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”