Editor's note: This article is part of The Water Cooler, a recurring column for technology executives to digest, discuss and debate. Next up: What's the oldest IT system you've encountered in your career? Email us here.
Work spouse. Partner in crime. Office best friend. Whatever it's called, most people have a go-to colleague to call up to vent, to help on a project or just to chat with.
In the remote space, sustaining those relationships has gotten trickier. No more popping by a desk to ask what's up during mid-afternoon slumps or taking the long route to get coffee together. Replaced by videoconferencing and virtual happy hours, work friendships have changed.
To show those work acquaintances some appreciation, CIO Dive asked IT executives to highlight a coworker they go to get the job done:
(The comments below have been lightly edited for length and clarity.)
Chris Bedi, ServiceNow CIO
"Because every major technology investment requires the CFO to be involved, close collaboration between the CIO and CFO is key."
One of my work partners in crime is Gina Mastantuono, ServiceNow's chief financial officer. COVID-19 accelerated the need for digital transformation, and as a result, there isn't a single transformation that's happening within any company that isn't empowered by technology. And because every major technology investment requires the CFO to be involved, close collaboration between the CIO and CFO is key.
Gina and I are in sync on strategic initiatives and are transparent on cost, projected ROI and challenges — this has led to close collaboration between our two teams. Take machine learning, for example. It requires several months to incubate, so we need to be comfortable knowing technology investments won't have the desired outcome right away. That's where having a completely open relationship with the CFO is key. And by being transparent, we have the room to experiment and explore different areas of innovation to invest in.
We don't always agree, but there is a lot of healthy debate and trust. I'm very proud of the fact that we've been able to build this relationship across the C-suite in a remote environment.
Erika Flora, Beyond20 CEO and co-founder
"When it comes down to it, our allies at work are those that we trust and those that we work to build trust with."
Beyond20 CEO and cofounder
I co-founded Beyond20 with my husband, Brian. He's my "work spouse," I suppose, because he's also my actual spouse. Having a business partner has been a fantastic experience as I have someone in the same entrepreneurial "boat" to lean on, collaborate with, and find encouragement (when needed) to keep going.
The one drawback is that the boundaries between work and home life blur. My husband and I, however, make up only 40% of our five-person leadership team; and I can count on every member of our team to bounce ideas off of and find creative solutions, give me the unvarnished truth I very often need to hear, and push me to think differently and grow as a leader.
They are immensely talented, and I genuinely enjoy hanging out with them. When it comes down to it, our allies at work are those that we trust and those that we work to build trust with. Trust, at its core, comes from knowing that those around us "have our back" and is absolutely essential for our teams to do great work.
Kelly Walsh, The College of Westchester CIO/CISO
The IT director and I " share over 70 years of experience and deep knowledge of our institution's technology, security, and infrastructure requirements, and this puts us in a position to make quick work of new issues..."
The College of Westchester CIO/CISO
My go-to person to help me get things done is my IT director, who happens to also be our director of facilities. A lot of us wear several hats at The College of Westchester. For example, I serve as CIO and CISO.
When I work with Director of Information Technology and Facilities Management Sean Capossela, we share over 70 years of experience and deep knowledge of our institution's technology, security, and infrastructure requirements, and this puts us in a position to make quick work of new issues and "think around corners" when assessing new business needs.
I have worked with Sean for about 17 years now and we make a great team — sharing ideas, reviewing and editing each other's written work, and looking at challenges from varied angles. I couldn't imagine doing my job without the support of Sean's invaluable partnership to help me get things done and see things I might be missing.
Antonio Vazquez, Bizagi CIO
"Not only do we share the same time-zone (which means a lot in today's remote world), we seamlessly align on the same vision, same priorities."
Being brand new to the company and onboarding during the pandemic has certainly not been the easiest way to get to know your workmates, never mind your partners in crime. Right now, I would say that my partner in crime is my CFO, Nick Taylor.
From Day One, we seemed to just click. Not only do we share the same time-zone (which means a lot in today's remote world), we seamlessly align on the same vision, same priorities and, deep down, I'm a numbers person at heart.
Peter Kress, SVP and CIO at Acts Retirement-Life Communities
"Those relationships are built out of many, many years of collaboration."
SVP and CIO at Acts Retirement-Life Communities
I have a very, very strong relationship with our Senior VP of Community Operations Jonathan D. Grant. We've both been in the company for a long time, in fact, he came back into the company through my department, but I also have a very strong relationship with CFO Richard A. Winter. We've partnered on a lot of initiatives and, again, I brought that person into the company and they moved up through my department before they moved over to finance and control.
You'll notice that those are business partners, but they're business partners who, for one reason or another, were associated with my team for a while. Those relationships are built out of many, many years of collaboration and out of our whole senior management team of 14 people in the organization, there are only two of them that have less than 10 years in the organization.