On one of Berkeley’s most beautiful October afternoons, CTOs and business veterans alike conjoined at the Haas School of Business to discuss the pressing trends and challenges of cloud technology in today’s business world. This intimate meeting of industry leaders was just one of many past and future Chief Innovation Officer’s Roundtables – a series of  quarterly gatherings led by Professor Solomon Darwin that aim to congregate top executives to discuss the latest concepts in innovation. By assembling participants across uniquely distinct industries, the Chief Innovation Officer’s Roundtable serves as a one of a kind atmosphere in which top executives can share their unique experiences and expertise to create a thriving intellectual exchange.

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In October’s roundtable’s table topic entitled “Cloud Technology Ecosystems, Trends and Challenges”, participants discussed the new opportunities and challenges presented by today’s convergence of multiple technology transitions, including cloud, mobility, social media, analytics, security, and IoT. The discussion was guided by guest speaker Manjula Talreja, the Head of Cloud Business Development for Cisco. As a 25-year IT industry veteran, Manjula was able to call upon her extensive experience in general management, business strategy consulting, and operation of large scale IT systems to lead a lively discussion about the different obstacles and opportunities for the next-generation cloud market.

Throughout the discussion, Manjula stressed how today’s IT organizations are challenged as never before. In an age where disruptive innovation is rampant, Manjula emphasized the importance of a firm’s ability to rapidly respond to the changing business demands that are sparked by the advent of new technology. She expressed the traditional legacy of business models, and how they are more likely to transition into an outcome based business model.  These transitions will be costly for many companies in the short run.  Although the companies presented were involved in vastly different fields, their shared use of cloud and other forms of technology served as the common denominator among them all – making all of Manjula’s insights extremely useful to each and every one of them.

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By the time the discussion came to a close, participants were highly enthusiastic and inspired by the insights and knowledge shared in the meeting. Of the many compliments given to the roundtable, many participants praised the unique conglomeration of business leaders across different industries and backgrounds. Shantanu Baruah, CTO of HCL America for example, noted how as industries develop, the line between them becomes continually “blurred.” Thus, exchanges such as the monthly Chief Innovation Officer’s Roundtable will become increasingly important to all business executives alike. All in all, October’s meeting proved to be a highly successful gathering that left participants even more excited about future roundtables.

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