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PwC executive shares tech insights at Breakfast with a CIO event

Philip Garland speaking

Philip Garland is chief information officer for one of the world's largest companies, but he still has to deal with a challenge well-known to managers everywhere: resistance to change.

"Technology is the easy part," the CIO for PricewaterhouseCoopers said. "It's the change management that has been and will continue to be the challenge."

Garland spoke to a group of Tampa Bay businesspeople, along with USF faculty and students, at the third annual Breakfast with a CIO event on May 15. The event was hosted by the Muma College of Business ISDS Department and welcomed leaders in the information technology field to share their experiences and insights with the local community.

"I want to thank USF," said Phil Filippelli, the vice president of ebusiness for Tech Data, the event sponsor. He said he has seen firsthand that USF's information systems graduates are on the cutting edge of the industry -- and what that has done for local business.

"They become thought leaders right out of the gate," Filipelli said. "That is a serious advantage for the Tampa area."

Attendees at CIO event

In his talk, Garland talked about trying to foresee the future in a quickly changing and mutating industry. He noted that in PwC's research, for 60 percent of people, TV is the primary form of technology used -- but for teenagers, the most-used technology is instant messaging.

Garland spoke about creating a culture of innovation, saying that it is important to create an environment where people can fail on the way to success.

"We actually reward people for making mistakes," for trying to do something new and failing, he said.

He spoke about his experience before joining PwC in 2009 with his own consulting company focused on SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, and cloud) industries and the insights he had gained on the shift to developing countries, sustainable business, and the accelerating pace of technology. Those insights have informed his decisions at PwC, he said.

"We realize as an organization, we need to be much more nimble, agile, make changes," Garland said. "We recognized that we need to design for the 20-year-olds."

USF Muma College of Business Associate Dean Kaushal Chari thanked attendees for coming, and said events like this one help USF impact Tampa Bay and beyond.

"We want our graduates to have a strong foundation in analytics and creativity," he said.