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IBM CIO Leadership Summit: A Winning Exchange

The CIO Leadership Exchange was developed to revitalize the relationship between IBM and their arguably busiest customer base: the CIO. The goal was to create an environment of inspired insights and expert knowledge exchange, and to build a global platform for stimulating dialogue to extend beyond the events and across borders: from Chicago to Berlin to Tokyo. 

Invitation-only events in Chicago and Berlin, and later New York City, brought together CIOs from leading companies in North America and Europe to explore how a new era of computing is transforming industries and professions and creating new possibilities for growth and innovation. The event was designed to enable an exchange of ideas, interactive dialogues and direct client engagement. 

Interviews with a sample of IBM CIO clients about expectations and desired outcomes set the stage for a thorough CIO attendee journey. The content was aligned to reinforce the evolving role of the CIO, as told through a narrative focused on key industry drivers of Data, Cloud and Engagement.

Importantly, the integrated journey and event agenda were facilitated to directly enable IBM Sellers in pursuits among their highest-level clients. At the same time, CIO Leadership Exchange carried this responsibility by keeping sellers in the background – focusing on the CIO business agenda and peer exchange – avoiding overt selling of solutions, while still facilitating opportunities for more informal discussions, interactions and follow-ups between IBMers and their clients while together onsite.

The approach was a sophisticated combination of digital and physical, driven by live data capture and client activation, grounded in a substantive mobile device-enabled event application that informed and engaged attendees throughout the event lifecycle.

The program highlight of day one was a keynote address delivered by IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, one of the most powerful businesswomen in the world. Rometty set the stage for visionary conversations; outlining historic shifts transforming technology, global business and the role of the CIO. 

Panels that followed included IBM senior leadership together with IBM partners and clients. In Chicago, Jason Pontin, Editor-in-Chief of MIT Technology Review moderated the panel discussions and added additional insights. The CIOs of Citibank, Whirlpool, Follett and GameStop also shared insights with the group. That evening, guests enjoyed an elegant networking dinner with live entertainment hosted by Ginni Rometty herself. 

On day two, attendees engaged in dialogue with like-minded peers, facilitated by IBM senior leaders. Outcomes and notes of the sessions were captured by session scribes, curated and collated into white papers and e-books for distribution to attendees and a wider audience of non-attendees. Attendees were invited to join the THINK Tech community to continue the dialogue and access sessions and content from the event. 

The two events in Chicago and Berlin attracted a combined 379 highest-level clients and IBM’s Senior Leadership Team, connecting senior IBM leadership with the key decision makers from leading enterprises across the United States and Europe. Attendees representing 27 countries rated the event 4 or 5 on a 5 point scale, and the polling results and individual profiles collected from the app have been invaluable to further marketing efforts. Attendees came together as privileged insiders and built deeper relationships with IBM that led to near-term sales opportunities for IBM. They left equipped with new knowledge and skills, and connected to a wider peer community in which IBM plays a central role.