MIT Sloan CIO Symposium Highlights CIO Leaders, Innovative Startups

Who are the people and companies in the spotlight at this year's awards event?

Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter

May 13, 2024

4 Min Read
Winner trophy with abstract bokeh light background.
Athitat Shinagowin via Alamy Stock Photo

Updated May 14 to include winner of Leadership Award: On May 14, the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium will bring together CIOs and other executives from around the world. As a part of this conference, one CIO will receive the 2024 MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award and 10 startups will have the opportunity to show off their solutions as finalists of the 2024 Innovation Showcase.  

“The core value we try to bring … is really the practice of a CIO coupled with the academic research of MIT and the practical innovation … [of] the startup space,” says Anton Teodorescu, chair of the Innovation Showcase and a business development and innovation consultant.  

Teodorescu and George Westerman, the MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award co-chair and a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, spoke to InformationWeek ahead of the conference about the standout CIOs and companies being recognized.  

CIO Leadership Award 

What makes a great CIO? “What we really want to highlight here is that the CIO is a person who really is critical not only for keeping the company running but for making transformational change happen in the company,” says Westerman.  

A group of judges, including past winners of the CIO Leadership Award, evaluate CIOs to narrow down the pool, using criteria drawn from a book Westerman coauthored: “The Real Business of IT: How CIOs Create and Communicate Value.” 

Related:Critical Measures CIOs Should Consider Before Modernizing

The judges look for CIOs who exhibit communication skills, IT leadership, the ability to drive business value, and authority as a trusted partner on their executive teams.  

The winner of this year’s CIO Leadership Award is: 

  • Chris Bedi, chief digital information officer at ServiceNow, a cloud computing platform   

The other two finalists for the award were:

  • Akira Bell, senior vice president and CIO at Mathematica, a research and data analytics consultancy, and 

  • Fahim Siddiqui, CIO at home improvement giant Home Depot

ServiceNow has grown significantly through acquisition, according to Westerman. “As a result, it has its own legacy challenges … and what Chris and his team have been able to do is really focus … on that customer experience, on making a smooth relationship across many different products,” he explains.  

Mathematica is focused on using data to help organizations drive decision-making for improved public well-being. Bell created a data platform available to people inside Mathematica and outside of it. “Not only did [it] reduce costs, but [it] also just creates the opportunity for people to collaborate in different ways and people to use information they didn't necessarily have before,” says Westerman.  

Related:What Can a CIO Do About AI Bias?

Home Depot is one of the most recognizable names in the home improvement space. “They’re over $150 billion in revenue, over 465,000 employees, and over 2,000 stores across three countries. That's a complex world,” says Westerman. “What Fahim and his team have been able to do is to really improve the customer experience.” 

All three finalists will be speaking on panels at the May 14 Symposium.  

Innovation Showcase  

The Innovation Showcase helps to connect promising startups with an enterprise leadership audience. “What are some of the more interesting ones that would be relevant to the CIOs, to senior executives, the ones that can bring value to the enterprise?” says Teodorescu.  

The Innovation Showcase judges seek to select finalists that offer a diverse set of solutions.  

Over the years, the Showcase has reflected the major trends occurring in enterprise IT. Today, that means AI and data solutions are front and center.  

“More people are becoming aware that the fundamental value of information technology is really in taking that data, amalgamating it, turning [it] into useful information to drive the decision-making,” says Teodorescu.  

Related:Changing Role of the CIO

This year, the Innovation Showcase features 10 finalists: 

Aspen ESS, an enterprise app modernization company  

asvin, a cyber risk management company  

Cleanlab, a company focused on data-centric AI 

Jaxon, a company addressing AI hallucinations  

Kognitiv Edge, a company that uses data to develop tools for recruiting and training  

Leela AI, a manufacturing visual intelligence platform  

The Modern Data Company, a data products platform   

Pyte, a data encryption company  

serviceMob, an AI-powered data ontology and analytics platform 

SimulConsult, a diagnostic AI company that supports clinicians  

The finalists have innovative enterprise IT solutions available in the market and less than $10 million in annual revenues.  

The Innovation Showcase gives CIOs a potential window into how innovation will shape the enterprise IT market. “It's really [a] way to bring together basically, the research, the practice of the CIO, and the startup community to look around the corner in three, four, five years to see what may be relevant then,” says Teodorescu.

About the Author(s)

Carrie Pallardy

Contributing Reporter

Carrie Pallardy is a freelance writer and editor living in Chicago. She writes and edits in a variety of industries including cybersecurity, healthcare, and personal finance.

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