Kristie Grinnell is senior vice president and chief information officer (CIO) for DXC Technology. She is responsible for leading business transformation including defining IT strategy for new digital capabilities, streamlining current operations, and improving overall efficiencies and performance of DXC’s IT environment – all with the goal of enabling DXC to provide excellence and innovation to its customers worldwide.
Kristie previously served as global CIO and vice president for supply chain at General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT). There she led the transformation enterprise IT strategic plan and IT Shared Services center for customers, along with supply chain management. Prior to that, Kristie was director of planning and governance and director of client delivery enablement for Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), a predecessor of DXC. Her career in professional IT leadership spans more than 20 years. Kristie has led four major IT transformations while overseeing changes to enterprise-wide technology, cyber and risk management, culture skills and behaviors. Before joining CSC, she served as CIO, chief of staff and global IT strategy executive for PricewaterhouseCoopers. Kristie serves as chair emeritus of the Capital CIO Advisory Board and is a member of STEMforHER Advisory Board.
A strong supporter of academic STEM programs for young women, a recipient of the 2018 Women in Technology STEM Leadership award, Washington Business Journal’s 2020 Women Who Mean Business Award, a 2020 Capital CIO of the Year ORBIE Award Winner, a 2021 National CIO of the Year ORBIE Award Winner and most recently Top 100 Women in Tech and Top 100 Leaders 2022 from Technology Magazine. Kristie earned her BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and holds an MBA from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management.
In a recent interview with the team of Digital First Magazine, Kristie Grinnell reveals the biggest trends shaping the future of enterprise technology, her career trajectory, personal aims, and ideals, and a lot more. Following are the excerpts from the interview.
According to you, what will be the biggest trends shaping the future of enterprise technology in 2023?
I think there are two major trends and then two minor ones.
First, the continuation of AI and Blockchain; we’re going to continue to see how we use those technologies more to answer real business problems, now that we’re really getting our arms around what we can do with them.
I think the Metaverse and how we collaborate and how we shape the future of the office, that is going to be quite interesting and something that we really need to watch.
The last one is Diversity and Inclusion. There’s no question in my mind that wherever we bring Diversity & Inclusion, that means we have more innovation. Because we’re all not thinking alike, that will continue to drive more innovation and really be able to shape the enterprise technology as we go forward.
In what ways have digital technologies changed the workforce and what measures should enterprises take to adapt and evolve?
The first one is how, through COVID, we saw digital technologies really accelerate their impact on the workforce and how we work. It’s something we need as allowing us to work differently – from home, from the office, from the airport; whatever the case may be, and having full access and full function to the way that we work.
The second one is, when you think digital, you need to start to really think about how do you automate those tedious, redundant tasks so that you can allow others to really be focused on the true value add of why we need a human in the role, which then allows the enterprise to have to adapt and evolve the roles in the office.
The third is about data, because the more we can bring data to life through technology that is able to calculate and compute it for us, that is able to bring it to the surface based on what we’re working on and be really smart like AI and ML do, then we can have better insight and better information to make good business decisions and create better business outcome.
Brief us about your outset story of your career.
It all begins with the environment I was raised in. My dad always told me that I could do anything I wanted to, and he instilled a confidence in me that anything was possible. I will always remember a motto my dad lived by, “Raise your daughters to be a doctor, not to marry one.”
Growing up, of course I did not think I would one day become a CIO and they really didn’t exist back then. My first job fresh out of college, we didn’t have email yet. I have an engineering background from the University of Pittsburgh. I worked for General Motors as a manufacturing engineer for three years with the responsibility of ensuring that production in Detroit was not shut down — which is very relevant to what I do today. The work was challenging and rewarding but what I ultimately learned was that I liked working with people more than being behind a screen designing machines. That led me back to business school and eventually to a role at PWC while the e-biz bubble was starting to grow. From there, jobs progressed and opportunities unfolded, my family blossomed, and I eventually transitioned into internal IT, and now into my CIO role here at DXC Technology.
Along the way, I had mentors who really challenged me to think about what’s next, what are my strengths, what do I need to work on; that sort of thing. It’s also about having an open mind to look at all the doors that were being opened and closed for me and then choosing, do I want to walk through that door? Do I want to knock on the door and make sure it opens for me? Or do I need to do something in my career to ensure that that next door opens for me?
What motivates you to work in tech, and what do you think is the “next big thing?”
What motivates me every day is that at DXC, we’re solving real business problems for our customers and I, as CIO of DXC, am solving our own business problems as well. No one day is alike. And that to me is exciting! I always like to solve problems.
The next big thing is continually keeping up with the pace of technology and keeping up with your talent to be able to do so.
As the Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer, what are your primary roles and responsibilities at DXC Technology?
It is my responsibility as CIO to work across all of our business lines, offerings, delivery and back-office functions to ensure we operate as a frictionless business. That means looking across people, process, technology, and data and collaborating across teams to deliver business value, provide business insight and solve business problems.
Can you please walk us through the major accomplishments throughout your journey?
First and foremost, the biggest accomplishments at all the roles I’ve taken is putting the right team of talented people around me, so that we can be successful overall. That allows me to see everything as accomplishments the team does, not my own.
What are the aims and ideals that guide you as an individual and a professional?
I always lead with my core values. And my core values must match with my corporate values to be successful. Not just in words, but in action.
Where or whom do you seek motivation and inspiration from? How?
It’s the people who are around me, every day. It could be my kids; it could be the team. It could be articles I read about people I know. It could be people in my professional network; it could be in my personal network. Just watching them be curious; trying something new and achieving something great.
What’s a leadership lesson that you’ve learnt that’s unique to being a female leader?
I don’t think this is unique to being a female leader, but I do think female leaders tend to bring more empathy into their leadership style, which can really help them to be successful and bring the most out of their teams.
What advice would you give to women who want to pursue a career in tech.
I would give the same advice to everyone and that’s “Just do it and always be curious.” The best way to prove you’re the right one for the role, is to just do it. And if you’re always curious and continually learning, you can always find that next thing.
How important is it for you to give something back to the community?
It’s incredibly important. Whether that’s me being a role model for others in STEM, the next pipeline coming up in STEM, or just giving back overall, I think it’s important to give back to show our youth the way through example. That why I’ve been Girl Scout Leader to two Girl Scout Troops; I’ve coached softball; I’ve coached field hockey; I’m super involved in the youth programs at my church. I do all those things so I can give back to my community so that I can be an example.