By Todd Pierce, former chief digital officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and former executive vice president of operations and mobility for Salesforce.com
Software isn’t “eating the world.” It’s feeding the world, healing the world, educating the world and bringing the world’s top minds together to solve our most challenging problems. At least that’s what I’ve witnessed while leading digital transformation initiatives across organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Genentech and Rock Health.
I am passionate about scaling innovation to create a world that is healthier and more equitable. With the converging forces of nearly global mobile connectivity, unbelievable advances in development productivity and the rise of organizations committed to bringing philanthropy into the digital age, the planets are aligned in a way that software can truly make the world a better place.
How? Well, by 2025, 95 percent of the planet will be connected on a mobile platform. I’m fascinated by this because it enables unprecedented access to the world’s poorest people. It unlocks amazing opportunities to solve problems, even in places with limited infrastructure and access to information.
Unfortunately, even the most promising IT projects don’t always yield the desired outcome. Every CIO I know has seen large-scale, board-visible projects suffer from massive delays — or flat out cancellation — due to late-cycle discovery of fundamental issues that they simply couldn’t “patch later.”
Across industries, this puts the organization at risk of falling behind more innovative and agile competitors. It inevitably places that CIO’s reputation and employment at risk. And in many industries, it can truly change lives. It’s not uncommon for a delayed rollout to impact economic opportunities in a community. And in my industry — opening access to lifesaving healthcare and services — it really can be a matter of life or death.