State of the CIO, 2022: Focus turns to IT fundamentals

If there’s one thing Jamie Holcombe has learned from his decades-long career as a public and private sector IT leader, it’s how to be a good salesman. Staying razor-focused on business benefits and communicating in a language everyone understands is central to successful IT initiatives, whether the project involves state-of-the-art technology like robotic process automation (RPA) or is a bit more mundane, like upgrading an aging data center. Now, fresh off a pandemic-fueled cycle of accelerated innovation, Holcombe is channeling his vaunted sales skills to drive an upcoming IT agenda centered on foundational areas like optimization, security, and enterprise resiliency. Jamie Holcombe, CIO, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Jamie Holcombe U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Holcombe, CIO for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), is not the least bit concerned that this year’s focus on the practical, not the trend-setting, will cause any setback to IT’s standing in the business. Unlike years past, he believes the CIO is well situated to weather a back-to-basics IT deployment cycle without undermining status or ceding any leadership ground. “Everyone realizes that technology is significant—we’ve earned the seat at the table and have everyone’s ear,” he explains. “You lose it by talking geek speak or focusing on pet projects that have nothing to do with the business mission. Make sure you talk to colleagues in business terms so they understand how you’re delivering for them.”

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