CIO Profile from the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium – Adriana Karaboutis

enterprise architecture perceptions bridge the gap

Today’s CIOs increasingly recognize the connection between good IT architecture and the successful enterprise. So not surprisingly, discussions related to architecture, informal and formal, were common at the recently held MIT Sloan CIO Symposium.

We wanted to explore that connection, and others related to cybersecurity and digital transformation, for example. Thus, we sought out each of the finalists for the 15th Annual MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award for exclusive interviews.

Last Friday we featured Vagesh Dave, Global VP & CIO at McDermott International, Ltd. This week, we’re featuring Adriana Karaboutis, the Chief Information and Digital Officer at National Grid plc.

Question:  Tell us about your current role and what you like most about it?

Answer: I am currently the Chief Information and Digital Officer at National Grid plc., one of the world’s largest publicly listed utilities focused on transmission and distribution of energy. In this role, I’m accountable for delivering outcomes toward our digital vision of being the “Intelligent Connected Utility.”  We lie at the heart of a transforming energy system.  What I like most about this role is, together with my colleagues, that we are driving toward a better environmental future.  Frontier technologies, reimagining ways of working, including customer engagement and enablement models, and delivering new capabilities through agile means – outcome focused! – are cornerstones to our digital journey and the future is exciting given this focus.

Q: How has the CIO role been evolving over the last few years?

A: For years, CIOs have talked about a “seat at the table,” being closer to the business, etc. – through two paradigm shifts, that traditional ambition has changed tremendously:

Technology is ubiquitous. Data is at the heart of everything; customers’ expectations continue to grow; through low-code/no-code models many more have the ability to create tech outcomes.

Successful CIO/CTO/CDOs have recognized that outcomes trump output, and we have aligned ourselves to our business outcomes more closely than ever before. We recognize that tech may be our backbone. But business outcomes is the current/new norm.

Q: What are the kinds of things in the workplace that keep you up at night?

A: Cybersecurity  – no explanation needed 😉

And Digital Talent Density – attracting and retaining great Digital/AI/ML talent with innovation skills.

Q: How do you interact with those members of your team leading inovation around IT architecture?

A: We focus on business architecture, enterprise architecture and IT/tech architecture – it is integral to all our products and programs. And we have a CTO at our table.