CIO, Foundation Medicine
VP, Global Technology Strategy and Chief Architect, Wolters Kluwer
CIO, Pharma Solutions, Wolters Kluwer
CTO and VP, Technology, Wolters Kluwer
Bachelor’s degree, Arizona State University
“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Cloud lets you move fast. And if things don’t work, you can tear it down and try again—with minimal cost and risk.”
As a member of the AWS Enterprise Strategy team, Tom relies on his experience as both a CIO and CTO to consult with other executives on how they can drive higher value from their own migrations to the cloud.
During his career, Tom has led several large-scale digital transformation efforts, including cloud migrations for two different companies. While at Foundation Medicine, a large genomics diagnostic company, Tom led a migration to AWS as part of a strategy to support the rapidly growing business. He saw cloud as a catalyst for transforming the company into a more agile organization, one that would enable increased automation and the adoption of modern application practices such as DevOps. Two years later, Foundation Medicine had grown from $100 million to $500 million in revenue, spurring its acquisition by Roche.
For Tom, cloud creates opportunities for organizations that go far beyond compute and storage capabilities. For example, supported by the AWS cloud, Foundation Medicine was able to rapidly expand into Germany, then China. All in under two years, a rapid pace that would not have been possible before. But to see that opportunity, he had to go from thinking of cloud as just another data center to seeing it as an enabler of an agile business. It’s a philosophy he came to firmly believe in following his first cloud migration project with Wolters Kluwer.
Today, Tom shares his perspectives on how to shorten the time-to-value of transformation projects. His first piece of advice: don’t wait to find a perfect time to move to the cloud, because there’s never going to be a perfect time; the path to successful transformation is really just a series of many small steps. New ideas can quickly be validated, mistakes can quickly be torn down, and this rapid iteration creates a flywheel of new value for the business. With each pivot, you learn and move closer to your end goal.
Tom also advises CIOs to pursue smaller projects rather than try to plan out an entire migration at scale. Small victories still drive value and allow teams to build their experience—to see what’s possible. Educating your people and getting them the skills they need through hands-on engagement is critical to the success—and speed—of cloud migrations.
Tom takes the spirit of learning with him during his off time, where his wife is likely to catch him coding late at night, so that he can understand how things work. When not learning about new tech, Tom and his family have a shared passion for traveling around the world—from spending the holidays in Berlin, to experiencing Alhambra and Spain, to taking in the “unbelievable beauty” of the Scottish Highlands.