How can the automotive <b>CIO</b> be a <b>force for change</b>?

Technology advancements are revolutionizing every aspect of life, including the transportation industry. This transformation has already taken the car by storm and shows no signs of stopping. As automotive companies navigate this shifting landscape, CIOs are the leaders for driving digital transformation within their companies.
Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in the automotive industry now have a level of empowerment and autonomy to push boundaries, drive insights and leverage experiences to accelerate innovation to better serve the needs of end users. With that, traditional CIO roles are evolving to more strategic, front-facing roles. Gone are the days in which CIOs are tasked only with maintaining backroom server banks or simply assisting with day-to-day IT maintenance — now, CIOs are driving the change in the technology within our vehicles and everyday lives.

​“The purview of the CIO is very unique,” says Nick Parrotta, Chief Digital and Information Officer at HARMAN. “It sees the enterprise in a much broader way, and it has to go broad and deep, relative to processes and technologies, and understand what the business problems are and what issues the company is trying to solve.”

Nick Parrotta

Nick Parrotta is chief digital and information officer at HARMAN. He is responsible for HARMAN’s enterprise-wide strategy and the execution around digital and IT endeavors.
nick parrotta at TU event
According to Parrotta, aligning a company’s business strategy to its digital strategy is just the beginning.

Today’s automotive CIO must be able to:

  • ​Create solutions for internal and external purposes
  • Utilize strategy to make it simpler, smarter, scalable and secure
  • Bridge the connection between product and software capabilities
  • Forge a symbiotic relationship between internal and external capabilities

“That used to be table stakes for the CIO, but now we’re being asked to not only align the business strategy and the digital strategy, but to see around corners, understand what market shifts there are, what disruptive technologies are coming into the foray, and to promote new business models within our respective companies,” Parrotta says.

One of those market shifts is the pace of change in connectivity. Increased levels of connectivity inevitably mean an increased threat to data security — a top concern for automakers and consumers alike. Fortunately, CIOs can lend a hand here too, by leveraging previous experiences (cloud, mobility, connectivity, data and security) and working closer with telecommunications and cybersecurity industry partners.

​“The purview of the CIO is very unique. It sees the enterprise in a much broader way, and it has to go broad and deep, relative to processes and technologies, and understand what the business problems are and what issues the company is trying to solve.”

Nick Parrotta, Chief Digital and Information Officer at HARMAN
“CIOs have been working on data centers, networks, cloud and edge computing for decades. We work closely with the telecommunications companies, we work closely with the data center companies and we work closely with the cloud companies. We have economies of scale that we can leverage and relationships that we should all be working with together to move the company forward,” explains Parrotta.

​With the skills, knowledge and vision to foresee the road ahead, it’s time for the automotive CIO to shift into the driver’s seat.

​At TU-Automotive Detroit 2019 — the world's largest auto tech conference and exhibition, shaping the future of connected auto mobility — HARMAN Chief Digital and Information Officer, Nick Parrotta, delivered a keynote presentation addressing opportunities for automotive CIOs to transcend their traditional roles and drive collaboration, co-innovation and customer value across the automotive industry. Watch the full presentation below.​

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