This blog series features senior corporate executive from the 100 CIO/CTO Leaders in STEM publication sharing their insights on business and innovation from a technology and information perspective. Today’s Leader is Bill Briggs, Chief Technology Officer of Deloitte Consulting LLP.
Chief Technology Officr
Deloitte Consulting LLP
Bill Briggs is Chief Technology Officer of Deloitte Consulting LLP. His 17+ years with Deloitte have been spent delivering complex transformation programs for clients in a variety of industries (including Financial Services, Healthcare, Consumer Products, Telecommunications, Energy, and Public Sector).
Bill is a strategist with deep implementation experience—helping clients anticipate the impact that new and emerging technologies may have on their business in the future, and realize that potential from the realities of today. In his role as CTO, Bill is responsible for research, eminence, and innovation. This entails communicating the vision for Deloitte Consulting LLP’s technology practice, identifying and investing in technology trends affecting clients’ businesses, and shaping the strategy for Deloitte Consulting LLP’s emerging services and offerings. He leads the Architecture function across Deloitte’s Technology practice, drives the core technology content for training and development of tech fluency across career models, and serves as executive sponsor for cam- pus recruiting.
As the inaugural global leader of Deloitte Digital, Bill was responsible for launching and growing a new practice that defined a new category of digital agency consultancy. Today, Deloitte Digital offers a mix of creative, strategy, user experience, engineering talent, and technology services to help clients harness disruptive digital technologies to redesign “business as usual”—to engage differently with customers, change how work gets done, and rethink the very core of their markets.
Bill earned his undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, and his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He lives in the suburbs of Kansas City with his wife and two young daughters—whose nascent love of ‘Star Wars’ makes him proud. A passionate (read: mediocre) golfer, Bill is also a recovering gamer, pleasantly average guitarist, aspiring pianist, avid reader, film buff, gadgeteer, and whiskey enthusiast.
Deloitte provides audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, tax and related services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. With a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries and territories, Deloitte brings world-class capabilities and high-quality service to clients, delivering the insights they need to address their most complex business challenges. Deloitte’s more than 210,000 professionals are committed to becoming the standard of excellence. Within Deloitte’s talent competency model, STEM skills are emphasized as critical to serving clients.
Briggs role at Deloitte
These are singular times for technology. Shifting markets and the rapid-fire pace of innovation require companies across industries and geographies to become technology companies in order to thrive. Consequently, many organization purposefully nurture and leverage science, technology, engineering, and mathematics expertise to meet today’s challenges while pursuing tomorrow’s opportunities.
At Deloitte we help our clients harness digital, analytics, cloud, and exponential technologies to reinvent themselves. This often requires fundamentally evolving existing core technology landscapes and transforming the IT department’s organization, delivery model, and, in many cases, its very mission. My charter as Chief Technology Officer is to scan new technologies in order to understand the “what” and, more importantly, the “so what”–the potential positive business impacts, implementation complexities, risk factors, and relative maturity of any given space. My goal is to get to the “now what”—helping clients drive innovation.
I also collaborate with leaders across our organization to envision and architect Deloitte’s growing technology services footprint. STEM knowledge is a cornerstone here, requiring fluency in both existing and emerging technology disciplines, and in engineering principles to quantify, analyze, frame, and solve problems and opportunities. This forms the basis for Deloitte’s research agenda, incubation initiatives and, most importantly, the evolution of the services we provide to help our clients on their transformation journeys.
We approach this effort by offering numerous internal programs designed to raise tech fluency within our technology practice and beyond. Through our efforts, we work to increase Deloitte’s relevancy and credibility with our clients and to provide the services and expertise they need to take advantage of new and emerging technologies. Moreover, we want to continue adding to the list of increasingly complex services that define Deloitte’s technology footprint. For example, Deloitte Digital, a full-service digital agency consultancy, brings together the creative and digital technology capabilities, business acumen, and industry insight clients need to transform their businesses. As the founding global leader of Deloitte Digital, it was an honor to launch a brand and set of capabilities that have become industry benchmarks—mixing deep STEM left-brained expertise with creative, design, marketing, and other right-brained disciplines. Our goal is to imagine, deliver, and run the future for our clients. Realizing this goal requires a multi-faceted effort that leverages STEAM (the addition of fine arts disciplines to our foundational STEM skill sets).
Beyond these responsibilities, I also lead campus recruiting for Deloitte’s technology practice. As a computer engineer, I recognize the value of STEM education and training. When students ask me about possible careers in STEM, I tell them, “A STEM education can lead you on a career path in which you solve the novel and essential problems of tomorrow.”
Unfortunately, our society is not doing enough to cultivate and encourage the talent of tomorrow. Universities, in particular, can offer more and varied opportunities for developing STEM skills, particularly to women, minorities, and other groups currently underrepresented in STEM-related fields. We are investing in universities to help them develop STEM-centric curriculums that feature analytics and data science programs, digital design, and next-generation ERP. We are also investing in the development of broad educational curricula designed to prepare engineers, mathematicians, and scientists for careers in consulting.
The private sector can bolster such efforts by providing mentoring opportunities to promising employees and by making diverse STEM teams the cultural norm within organizations. At Deloitte, we have certainly seen how bringing together diverse perspectives and a wide range of STEM disciplines within teams and practices can fuel creativity, challenge staid assumptions and, in many situations, deliver desired outcomes.
Universities and the private sector alone cannot shoul- der the entire burden of cultivating tomorrow’s innova- tors. Indeed, STEM education should begin at home—a belief I’ve put into practice with my own daughters, Mae, age 9, and Erin, age 7. During the summer months we have “Science Sundays,” a time we set aside each weekend for experiments that cover everything from robotics to phototropism to DNA extraction to estimat- ing the number of blades of grass in our suburban Kan- sas City yard. Through these experiments I hope to instill in my daughters the same love of science and technology that I have. So far, it seems to be working. They both made enthusiastic assistants last year as I built my own virtual pinball machine, an effort that combined woodworking, hardware hacking (for the solenoids/ contactors/analog plungers/shaker/motor), and coding (for table setup and synch between virtual events and physical feedback).
In my role as CTO for Deloitte Consulting LLP, I have it easier than most of my clients. I can depend on a talented team of individuals (our CIO Larry Quinlan and our internal IT department) to drive the company’s operational IT needs while I and others in the organization focus on the technologies and opportunities of tomorrow. Most CIOs don’t have this luxury. Running an IT department effectively day to day—managing people, operations, architecture, vendors, risk and compliance, and security—is challenging. It is also table stakes for establishing credibility.
To maintain operational credibility while simultaneously working to turn their visions of tomorrow into reality, CIOs increasingly rely on talented individuals possessing advanced STEM and artistic skills sets. It is a privilege to collaborate with my client CIOs and these dedicated, knowledgeable staff members in a cycle of innovation: We dream in order to design; design to build; build to run; run to improve; and use improvement opportunities as fuel for tomorrow’s dreams.