Today, we announced Deb Gildersleeve as our first ever chief information officer (CIO). She most recently headed up business unit IT at Pitney Bowes and spend nearly 12 years in IT leadership roles at Gartner.
We sat down with Gildersleeve to talk about her priorities coming in as our first CIO, the shifting role of the CIO in the business, and the value and future of low-code technology.
Welcome to Quickbase! What drew you to this opportunity to join as our first CIO?
What excited me specifically about Quickbase and this opportunity was two things. First, this is a technology that can be used by the business and IT. As someone that has spent my entire career in IT, we never have enough resources and finding people is one of the hardest things in the world. IT should be a core function of the business, there is no business without IT, and IT can’t be successful without the buy-in from the business. Quickbase is a platform that facilitates this partnership in a way that benefits the entire organization.
Two, Quickbase as a company is at the tipping point of additional growth. We are at an inflection point and the way that things have always been done won’t get us to the next level. We need to look at our own internal systems and processes and figure out what we need to change to get to the growth trajectory we all want to achieve.
What are the key trends you are seeing in IT that will be on the minds of CIOs in the coming years?
Getting our arms around data will always be a topic of discussion—until you get your arms around data nothing else can happen and it is fundamental. It informs and guides business decisions. Everything creates data now, so this is a problem that is universal that CIO’s are trying to solve for, some companies do this better than others but many are behind where they would like to be.
Through the COVID-19 disruption, what challenges do you see CIOs facing?
Every CIO is going to have to look at their teams and decide how they want to do work moving forward. This is going to very quickly help some companies get to a level of focus that wasn’t there before—you can do a lot of things but doing a few things well will yield a better result.
Also, a huge priority is keeping your teams connected when you are not physically in the office. If you have hardware in offices or data centers, how have you been managing and maintaining that and getting people into those places when you need to? If everyone is working on laptops, how do you maintain security? What systems do you need to augment or change? That is going to be a priority for every company.
How do you think low-code platforms can enable CIOs to overcome these challenges?
With low-code you can do everything more quickly, and you can leverage more of your workforce. You don’t have to rely on only your developers to create solutions but also your business users. Also, it is much easier to update a low-code platform than an underlying system—this will allow all of the transformations you are trying to accomplish to be done more quickly and open up more resources.
The nice part about low-code is that you can get those quick wins. These successes strengthen the relationship between IT and the business units we are working with. For example, if you have an HR analyst that is trying to augment a process, you can now enable them to do that on their own instead of putting that request in the IT queue. That builds trust and partnership with additional resources across the business and allows IT to focus on the projects only we can accomplish in our roles.