Industry Insights

CIO Classified: How IT can lead the future of the employee experience

With technological innovation accelerating faster than ever—and the pandemic entering a new phase—CIOs have never faced more uncertainty and complexity. That’s why we’ve partnered with Caspian Studios to sponsor Season 3 of the CIO Classified podcast. 

CIO Classified is a podcast for CIOs, decision-makers, and technology leaders that want to push their business forward and stay on the cutting edge. Each episode features candid conversations with leading CIOs discussing their most pressing challenges and how they solve them. 

Listen to the latest episode for insights and actionable strategies that you can bring back to your own organization today.

Episode summary

In this episode, Asana’s Global Head of IT Johan Dowdy and Skillsoft and SumTotal’s Group CTO Apratim (AP) Purakayastha discuss: 

  • IT’s role in the employee experience
  • Must-have tools for productivity 
  • Building resilience into tech stacks and strategy
  • Making the case for automation
  • Adopting a customer service mindset in IT 

Episode soundbites

“The Asana platform is the lifeblood of our company—not just a product that we make. It’s the primary platform on which all people at Asana collaborate with each other. We don’t really use email very much internally. It’s a different way of working. Our whole philosophy at Asana really revolves around our platform and how we use it to collaborate with each other and stay in touch.” — Johan Dowdy, Global Head of IT at Asana

“I think especially after COVID-19, providing all of the employee experience digitally has become the core mission of many companies. More and more, employees are looking for more than just a job. They’re looking for growth, purpose, and a team they can work with. IT’s role is to help employees grow, continuously learn with whatever tools they have, and do that naturally in the flow of work. Therefore, all the digital infrastructure offered to employees must work seamlessly to get the job of today done while learning the skills of tomorrow.” — Apratim (AP) Purakayastha, Group CTO at Skillsoft and SumTotal

“There are so many options for technology now and many teams, especially when they have the option for self service, start using their own individual platforms. It causes chaos and confusion when you have different business units, each with their own specialized process on how to work, how to communicate, how to collaborate, how to do anything. When employees are trying to collaborate together, it becomes challenging for them to understand what’s the best way to reach out. Setting clarity and guidelines around how to get work done and what tools to use when is very important.” — Johan Dowdy, Global Head of IT at Asana

“The closest we get to emulating water cooler conversations is Slack or something like that. I think it will be a while before digital tools more adequately replace the water cooler, if you may. Maybe in the future we will see Metaverse become much more commonplace and where we will accidentally run into each other in a digital universe. It may not be as far out as we think.” — Apratim (AP) Purakayastha, Group CTO at Skillsoft and SumTotal

Episode guests

Johan Dowdy, Global Head of IT, Asana

Johan Dowdy is the Global Head of IT at Asana. Throughout his career, Johan has built IT teams that focus equally on business enablement and customer service. Prior to Asana, Johan also built out the IT functions at Lyft, Twitter, and Workday as they went through similar periods of hyper growth.

Apratim Purakayastha (AP), Group CTO, Skillsoft and SumTotal

As Skillsoft’s Chief Technology Officer, AP is responsible for engineering, product management, cloud operations and IT across all products in the Skillsoft group of companies, a role he has held since 2016.

AP has extensive experience supporting rapidly growing technology companies, including as General Manager and SVP of SaaS at SevOne, where he was responsible for the on-demand and SaaS business segment. He previously served as Group President at ACI Worldwide and as Director of Software at IBM.

AP holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Duke University, Masters of Science in Computer Science from Washington State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Jadavpur University in India.

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