Thinking End-to-End and Redefining the Modern CIO


Episode Summary

In this episode, Markus Zirn and Kim Huffman dive into invigorating topics of the power of automation, the transformative potential of AI, and the most effective strategies for enterprise transformation. Drawing from her diverse background at companies like Elastic, Navan, and Workiva, Kim shares valuable insights, emphasizing the evolving role of the CIO as a 'business technology leader.' The discussion delves into the shift towards understanding business processes, moving away from traditional tech-centric approaches. They also explore the relevance of business architecture, with Kim recommending a gradual, progressive implementation approach.

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    • CIO as a business technology leader: The role of technology leaders is evolving. Whether it's the CIO, Chief Digital Officer, or Chief Transformation Officer, they are now orchestrators within an organization. Beyond tech solutions, they delve into understanding business processes to drive transformation. This shift signifies a move from traditional IT roles to becoming pivotal business enablers.

    • Business architecture as a strategic tool: The development of business architecture is key, focusing on core business processes unique to your company. It serves as the roadmap for identifying process gaps, enhancing efficiency, and recognizing untapped opportunities for business value and growth.

    • Revolutionizing automation with AI: Leveraging AI in automation revolutionizes business processes. Beyond task automation, AI provides supportive assistance in decision-making, augmenting human roles for overall efficiency. Leaders should actively seek ways to integrate these technologies for optimal business performance.

    • Necessity in understanding of end-to-end processes: Understanding end-to-end business processes is crucial for tech professionals. It empowers them to identify efficiency improvements, contribute strategically, and drive innovation. This, coupled with the right technology tools, enables organizations to enhance value, customer experiences, and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

  • About Kim

    About Kim

    Kim Huffman is CIO at Workiva. Kim’s experience building and scaling technology organizations and leading business transformation spans over 20 years. She has a strong track record of delivering value through technology and process changes to enable companies to grow and scale. During her career, she has held several technical leadership roles at pre-IPO and public tech companies including SAP, Adobe, Health Equity and Elastic. Kim joins Workiva from Navan (formerly TripActions), an innovative SaaS platform for corporate travel and expense solutions where she served as CIO with responsibility for Business Technology, Data & Integrations and Security. 

    Kim received her Bachelor of Science in Finance & Business Administration from University of Southern California and her MBA in International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management.  She is also a founding member of, an organization focused on increasing the representation of women on boards.

  • Top Quotes

    Top Quotes

    “The thing that I like about data and integration is it is sort of the blood that feeds the body, right? And if you think about how we're doing that across the organization, really understanding where we can streamline and make those processes more efficient with automation, I think will give the users within those processes, allow them to focus on higher value things, but also streamline and speed up some of the delivery around some of those processes as well.”

    “I think the first thing is understanding what the business objectives are as a new CIO or a new technology leader in an organization. And spending time sitting in the business seat. And being pragmatic about how you view things and realizing that the old way of thinking about the function really needs to change and it has to be much more, evolved and flexible and pragmatic to ensure that it's enabling the business. That's not to say we're not secure and we don't think about standards and those kind of things, but I think the technology that we use now has evolved to a point where we can have security and we can have standards and we can have automation, but we can also be business enablers.”