CIO Jason Molfetas modernized the technology at Amtrak, ushered in a digital transformation and deployed analytics to create a competitive edge for the company.
High: Your IT team has helped shape demand from the rest of the organization through the business solution officer role. Can you describe how the role works and its primary value?
Molfetas: Technology should be leveraged to meet strategic business goals, and the IT team needs to be a source of innovation for the enterprise. Too many IT teams are reactive in nature. By creating business solution officers that act as liaisons between the IT department and teams across the organization, we ensure the development of true business solutions, not just IT solutions.
Our business solution officers provide technical thought leadership, oversight of programs and alignment on business technology portfolios. This new partnership model allows IT to be more effective—and a better partner—by enabling business agility, reducing expenses, and satisfying both internal business partners and external customers through technology.
High: What trends particularly excite you as you look to the future?
Molfetas: In the modern era, there is no transformation or growth that is not enabled by technology. This is an exciting time because more than anything else, leaders need the imagination to see the future and the skill to make it real.
And let's not forget that the foundation starts with people. Investing in talent, combined with driving innovative technology solutions, is the key to our future success.
The growth of America's urban centers points to the need for increased efficiency in our nation's transportation system. Amtrak's NextGen vision of new high-speed trainsets will certainly supplement the continued demand for rail travel in the Northeast corridor, the busiest rail line in North America.
Thinking about the long term, each trainset will have amenities such as WiFi access and USB ports that can be upgraded to meet evolving customer needs. I look forward to helping Amtrak champion this transformation, which will result in greater reliability and connectivity for our customers.
We are increasingly seeing the use of analytics to create competitive advantage for the business. In the travel and transportation industry, ride-hailing companies like Lyft and Uber have done a great job with this. We're grateful to have Derek Kan, the general manager of Lyft, on the Amtrak board of directors.
The challenge will not be our ability to generate data, but rather taking increasing data volume and complexity and translating it into clear, compelling insights that impact operational efficiencies, revenue generation and customer satisfaction.
Driving the digital agenda and cognitive autonomous analytics is the new frontier: software and hardware that detects, learns and/or causes a change of state, through the direct monitoring and/or control of physical devices, processes and events in the enterprise utilizing digital data.
Autonomous solutions are the future. This is what excites me today.