Chief Information Officer

The Chief Information Officer Playbook: Nicholas Colisto, Chief Information Officer, Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc.

Recently in New York, Nicholas Colisto of Hovnanian Enterprises addressed a session entitled “The CIO Playbook.” Colisto began with a brief overview of his own firm, and how they fit into the general mood of recovery that was beginning to take hold of the financial sector at long last. What was most important moving forward, he said, was that companies like his continued to confidently invest in themselves. Companies looking to revamp their approach to technology in the near future, he said, needed to ask themselves some key questions first. These questions were: How do I really truly partner with my business colleagues out there and do I have the right forms in place and governance structure to do that?  Am I focused on the right priorities for innovation?  How do I deliver quality consistently throughout my organization?  Am I measuring success?  How do I do that? The answers to these questions, according to Colisto, compromised the seven chapters of the chief information officer’s handbook. The first, he said, was partnership: “Partnership is the state of being a colleague or a peer.  I consider all of us to be peers or business partners.  I don’t see them as customers, I truly see them as constituents in my organization.  We’re on equal playing fields.  The CMO isn’t more important than me, or the CFO, or the CEO.  We’re all part of the same business.  We just happen to have a discipline technology that you bring to the table.” Next, according to Colisto, came organizing. Structuring a firm in different available models and creating an effective process for organization were key to success. After organization came innovation, which Colisto said was especially important to companies operating in the modern era, when so much new technology is constantly being set loose upon the market.  Innovation was followed by protection and growth. Protection, he said, was about maximizing risk management for the company, and growth was the other side of that coin, which entailed effective investment. One of the most important things that went into the CIO’s handbook, though, according to Colisto, was 26 years of his own mistakes, all of which he has consistently learned from.

One technological advancement that Calisto did not seem to p[lace as much stock in as some of his peers was the advent of cloud computing. Calisto said that he felt too much emphasis was placed on the cloud, which caused some of the heavy lifting to be abandoned in the tech sector: “Just because things are going off to the cloud, though, doesn’t mean you can aggregate responsibility for delivering these solutions.  I’ll get into deliver in a few moments, but when you put things on the cloud it doesn’t mean that all of the sudden the cloud is coming in and converting your data from one system to another system and things like that.” 

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