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It’s no small task to improve the lives of 3.5 billion people. But with the right tools, team, and good timing, it’s certainly not impossible – especially with the resources of a company like Philips.

Recently, Philips made a commitment to focus on health, technology, and improving the world through thoughtful and sustainable innovation.

We wanted to find out more about this, and while at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference, we had a chance to speak with the woman leading the charge, Alpna Doshi (LinkedIn).


As CIO of Philips, Alpna has driven transformational initiatives like transitioning to cloud-based IT–  and has a laser-focus on aligning IT with business. On an episode of IT Visionaries, she shared her thoughts on driving groundbreaking innovations in fields like mobile, internet of things, and robotics.

The Changing Role of IT

The role of the CIO in today’s business world is changing. In many organizations like Philips, a large part of the company mission is increasingly placed on the shoulders of the IT department. Here are Alpna’s thoughts on the changing role of IT and her responsibilities at Philips:

“When you see trying to save 3 billion lives, I see that as a huge responsibility to carry the weight of improving the lives of people. As CIO, I feel the pain to make sure that everything we do is high quality, done flawless, and execution speed is lightning.

“IT used to be a job where it was behind the desk and very clerical. I’m not sure the role has changed much yet but now, people see the importance of IT and that IT should have a seat at the boardroom table. If we want to change IT more, it will require more IT mavericks to speak out and make change happen.”

This is 21st century IT

While there are many ways business is evolving, Alpna says that IT has to be the driver for change. Nowadays, most CEOs are technologists, and this supports the idea that technology is paving the way for business – not the other way around. If companies want to be competitive, they have to change the way they are doing business.

“Technology is leading the way for business but still, you hear statements in the business world such as that business should be the owner and driver. That’s the whole world. We are not in the 20th century for IT. This is 21st century IT and we better get moving and buckle up.”

CIO’s Need to Be CEOs

The expanding role of IT has now changed the mindset at the C-level. Alpna tells us that more than ever, CIOs cannot sit on their hands and wait for the next thing to happen. CIOs, in a lot of ways, need to act like CEOs and have their pulse on every single aspect of the business.

“The CIO has to touch the operations of the entire company. They also have to think about what is coming next and how does the company not get left behind? The most important aspect of the CEO and CIO is that the overarching brand is right, the technology is on par, and business, sales, and marketing have the flexibility to introduce new products into the market. Unless the CIO acts like a CEO, you are not able to keep on top of all the complexities. Multi-tasking is key.”


You can follow Alpna on Twitter where she shares more thoughts on digital transformation, health tech, and future tech trends. And check out her full IT Visionaries interview here.
Enjoying IT Visionaries? You can check out more interviews with Fortune 100 leaders here.

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