Digital transformation doesn't happen over night; it rarely happens in one year. CIOs have to connect technology to the business so it can, in turn, better connect to the customer.
This is no small feat. Every CIO speaks the language of tech. But they also must be fluent in their business, whether it's soup, hiking boots or muscles.
The CIOs named in 2017 have been on the job for around a year and some of their companies are finding it easier than others to embrace technology.
1. Terry Halvorsen, CIO of Samsung Electronics
Watching: Big deal signed with Verizon
Halvorsen was brought on as CIO of Samsung in April 2017 after serving as a federal CIO for the Department of the Navy and the Department of Defense.
He boasts a background heavy in cybersecurity which complements Samsung's overall business strategy and goals.
Last year, the U.S. military announced it was partnering with Samsung to develop a "high bandwidth 5G wireless network." Since then, Verizon announced it chose Samsung to supply its commercial 5G Fixed Wireless Access network solutions.
In October, Samsung unveiled its "operational and interactive" Solutions Center in Washington. The space is meant to "engage, support and educate government customers, policymakers and technology leaders," said Halvorsen.
2. Lori Beer, CIO of JPMorgan Chase
Watching: Blockchain application success
Beer was named CIO in September 2017 after the former CIO had moved the company to the cloud. Since then, JPMorgan wanted to adopt more automated services including systems access administration with machine learning and robotics.
JPMorgan is working to become a digital leader in the financial services space and is looking at bleeding edge technology to do so. Blockchain, followed by cloud, big data, robotics and biometrics, are the top fintech initiatives JPMorgan is pursuing.
The company "invented a blockchain with an open code based on Ethereum," said Beer, noting "actual blockchain technology" has yet to overcome its privacy and scalability limitations, she told Cointelegraph in August. But the application of blockchain is more important than the tech itself, she said.
3. Kathleen Wayton, CIO of Southwest Airlines
Watching: Company is expecting $500 million more in profit
In July 2017, Wayton was brought on to replace Randy Sloan while Southwest was in the midst of a technical overhaul. The airline had announced an $800 million budget dedicated to new operations technology and reservation systems in 2017.
Since then, Wayton finalized Southwest's transition onto an updated reservation platform, Amadeus Altéa, and expects a $500 million addition to profit by 2020 from the update, she told D Magazine. It took a lot of effort across business and technology to develop the project," she said, but the company will be using the systems "for years to come."
4. Christine Putur, CIO of REI
Watching: Growing tech influence
REI brought on Putur during the holiday season last year as just the second CIO in the outdoor retailer's history. She has retail experience with Coach and Staples.
Since Putur joined, REI named Dan Shull its first VP of commerce and experience in August. Customer experiences across technology platforms will now be handled by Shull as well a team of more than 100 technologists.
Putur championed Shull's start at the co-op because both leaders can help "enable transformative outdoor experiences for our customers through the use of technology," she said.
5. Archana Deskus, CIO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)
Watching: The customer experience
HPE has undergone several leadership changes this year, including a new CEO. Deskus began as CIO in October 2017, ahead of Antonio Neri's entrance as CEO in February 2018.
Deskus was expected to take on the HPE Next initiative and for 2019, Neri wants the next phase to decrease touch points in the sales process, reports CRN. This would help hasten how quickly customers can get quotes for solutions, therefore making deals happen faster.
Neri and Deskus are working hand-in-hand on the initiative. HPE's changes in supply chain operations will give the legacy company more visibility into international business and its customers.
6. Anthony Thomas, CIO of Nissan Motor Co.
Watching: Intelligent tech center in China
Thomas joined Nissan in October 2017 during the carmaker's digital transformation. Nissan's former CIO had moved the company to the cloud and helped create transparencies in IT investments for nontechnical leadership.
Nissan has earned the Excellence in Climate Solutions Award for its work in electric vehicle technology as part of its Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision. In October, the company opened the largest intelligent technology center in the industry in China for users to explore new solutions from the intelligent mobility initiative.
7. Pragati Mathur, CIO of Staples Inc.
Watching: Easing customer access services
Mathur started at the office supply retailer in June 2017 as the company continued shifting its focus on a more digitally-enabled customer. Just a year later, Staples acquired HiTouch to be a part of the Staples Business Advantage delivery organization. The deal gives Staples customers easier access to the services they desire.
Mathur reports to CTO Faisal Masud, who oversees the Staples Digital Solutions department. Mathur's role is balancing the maintenance of Staples' internal IT while providing a foundation for tools that help move its customers in the digital age.
8. Francisco Fraga, CIO of Campbell Soup Company
Watching: Leadership changes and embracing agile methods
Fraga was brought on in October last year as the iconic soup company was looking to revamp its product line and sales. His role came with an expectation of solutions integration, including e-commerce, big data analytics and supply chain optimization.
With a new COO appointed in April, the soup company is looking for leadership reorganization to spur a faster and more agile way of working. The food industry has to work faster to accommodate changing tastes and preferences.
9. Bhargav J. Shah, CIO of Pier 1 Imports
Watching: $45 million for improvements
Before Shah began as CIO in August 2017, the company had seen about an 80% drop in its stocks since 2013. He came to the home decor retailer with a background in AI and e-commerce.
As of Q2 FY19 earnings, the company still faced a 11.4% decrease in sales. But Pier 1 is creating a strategic plan for investing in tools and resources needed to revamp its execution plans for 2019. Part of the revamp is allocating $45 million of expenditures dedicated to IT, supply chain and stores.
On Oct. 12, Pier 1 announced Shah's "intent to resign" from his role, effective Nov. 30, 2018.
10. Bryan Muehlberger, CIO of Beachbody LLC
Watching: Big data
Beachbody wanted to extend its reach to an international market, and Muehlberger was tasked with strengthening the fitness company's big data analytics abilities.
In May of this year, Muehlberger was named a winner of the CIO 100 Award for using technology to deliver overall business value. Muehlberger led the company's technology team through an update of the Team Beachbody e-commerce website.
Conversion rates are 70% higher year-over-year following the updates to the existing architecture. "It was truly a team effort by all those involved," said Muehlberger.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect Pier 1 Imports CIO Bhargav J. Shah filed his intent to leave on Nov. 30.