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Business relationships and IT innovation deliver success for CIOs

Ina Kamenz, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.'s vice president and CIO, has a reputation for leveraging her positive business relationships with other company executives to further her organization's technology goals and initiatives.

In this video interview, filmed at the 2012 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium in Cambridge, Mass., Kamenz discusses how she keeps technology top-of-mind among her C-level peers at the Waltham, Mass.-based company, which produces laboratory equipment, analytical instruments, software, services and more. Kamenz has used that support to deliver impressive IT innovation in areas such as mobility, big data and cloud computing.

Read a partial transcript from the interview below, and watch the video to learn how positive business relationships and innovative IT are producing results at Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Chris Gonsalves: Ina, you have a reputation that other CIOs could only dream of, and that's your reputation for leveraging your relationship with the executive leadershipof the company to further the technology goals of the business. Tell me how you got there and how you stay there.

Ina Kamenz: Through my career, I have had the opportunity to work in a lot of different industries. Technology can be applied to many different things, whether it is insurance, manufacturing, hospitality, or research and science like Thermo Fisher Scientific. Learning the other executives' business challenges, their needs, what is impacting them to do their work, are the most important factors in establishing relationships with them. It's not about the technology; it's about solving their problem. So, understanding their needs, their wants, their desires and their challenges can help you apply that. That puts you at the table with them, and they then understand what you can do to help them.

Why do you think CIOs have such a hard time with that? What is the one thing you would tell them they could do to improve their relationship with the C-suite?

Many people will tell you that CIOs are too techie, and all they do is talk techie. I don't really believe that, and I know a lot of CIOs because I have been in the industry for quite a long time. Yes, there are some that are much more comfortable on the technical side than on the business side, but most successful CIOs really get the business side and spend more time there.

I think many of the other C-suite members see us as technology and they hear us as technology even though we are only talking non-techie talk. Many of my counterparts at the executive table are real gadget guys and they really love the new technology -- and I really don't. I'm a slow adopter to the newest and latest technology. So, I let them be the technical gurus and I just facilitate [things] for them. That helps break down the 'I'm a techie person' stereotype, and shows that I am another businessperson at the table who just happens to be responsible for systems and technology.

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