I had a wonderful discussion recently with my good friend Stuart Kippelman, Chief Information Officer at Parsons Corporation. Parsons is a digitally enabled solutions provider focused on the defense, intelligence, and critical infrastructure markets. The company delivers cyber/converged security, technology-based intellectual property, and other innovative services to federal, regional, and local government agencies, as well as to private industrial customers worldwide. 

“I’m very lucky,” says Stu. “I never have to explain the value of technology because everyone here already understands that technology is absolutely essential.”

High levels of trust and cooperation across the corporation enabled Stu’s teams to migrate 70 percent of their workloads from legacy data center into the cloud in 2020 – a remarkable feat by any measure. “We self-funded our move into the cloud by looking for opportunities to eliminate legacy applications,” Stu explains.

From my perspective, Stu’s overall approach to cloud migration is brilliant and creative. It also took courageous leadership to manage the transformation and keep it on track during the pandemic.

Stu shared his basic strategy for leading his teams successfully. I find his straightforward, non-nonsense approach appealing and useful. Here are the four key objectives within the strategy:

  • Leverage Data to Speed Business Decision Making: Leveraging our rich data, we will utilize capabilities such as AI, BI and ML to enable faster and more accurate decision making across all areas of Parsons.
  • Raise the Bar on Experience and Productivity: We will obsessively improve how employees and customers interact with Parsons to improve their experience, productivity and engagement.
  • Drive Growth, New Products and Services: Spearhead and support new business opportunities, products and services to drive organic growth.
  • Transform and Modernize: Continue modernizing our global infrastructure to ensure a standard, stable and highly secure foundation exists for all other capabilities to be built.

    “We must be relentlessly focused on productivity,” Stu says. “I can be the world’s best CIO, but I will have no true ability to impact growth in the company unless I can help employees become more productive. I view it in very simplistic terms: I want to help every employee become more productive by one hour per week.” 

I genuinely admire Stu’s devotion to achieving ever-higher levels of productivity by reducing complexity and simplifying user experiences across the board. He understands the increasingly intertwined relationships between business and technology, and he’s comfortable talking with colleagues at every level of the enterprise. To my mind, Stu represents the model 21st century transformational CIO.