Information Technology is evolving at a rapid rate–and so are the cyber threats, defying traditional cybersecurity measures across multiple domains. A 20-year IT veteran with a vision of what comes next is Mona Bates, Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Information Technology for Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems. Bates has held multiple senior leadership positions leading IT organizations in both the commercial and DoD sectors. Most recently, Bates served as Senior Director for IT Program Execution at Raytheon’s Intelligence, Information and Services (IIS) division. She also chaired the corporate Engineering Automation Council providing a multi-business, multidiscipline collaborative forum that creates and fosters Engineering solutions standards across the enterprise. In a brief conversation with ExecutiveBiz, Mona shared her thoughts about her current role as CIO, and the challenges and opportunities facing the IT organization.
“You can call them challenges but I call them opportunities…“
EM: Let’s talk about your background. How did you get to where you are today? What is your position and what do you do?
Mona Bates: I’ve spent several years working in the telecommunications industry before I joined the DoD, aerospace and defense world. Prior to joining Raytheon, I worked on a major contract supporting the Missile Defense Agency in various IT leadership positions. Prior to that, I spent ten years with former communication companies that are now consolidated under Verizon Communications and held technical and leadership positions in Engineering and IT disciplines.
I joined Raytheon about six years ago and have held director roles at our Denver, CO and Dulles VA, locations before assuming my current role as CIO for Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) in the greater Boston, MA area.
As CIO, I have responsibility and oversight over all aspects of Information Technology at Raytheon IDS, primarily focused on delivering capabilities to our programs and enabling our business growth strategy. We partner closely with IT teams across the company and our Global Business Services organization, as well as industry partners and customers to deliver value across the functional and program value streams.
What does a day in the life look like?
Bates: Leadership engagement at the business level, with our IT team and our customers around the world consumes a significant amount of time. A day in the life is predominantly focused on our IT strategy, from existing programs and new business pursuits, to IT initiatives and projects we are executing on behalf of the business and customers. I am also actively engaged in Raytheon Diversity and Inclusion and take pride in supporting workforce-related initiatives across the business. Collaboration and dialog with key industry partners is also a major focus of my role.
What technologies are interesting to you? Do you think they represent the true value to Raytheon?
Bates: Information Technology is an exciting place to be with the constant advancement and evolution of technology. We have several initiatives in progress around the “Digital Enterprise”: cloud computing, Big Data, analytics and IoT initiatives, just to name a few. We are hyper-focused at Raytheon on bringing cutting edge innovations to our global workforce and programs, adopting, where possible, commercial solutions and best practices in a secure fashion and in close partnership with our customers.
Where do you see machine learning or artificial intelligence impacting Raytheon in the future?
Bates: Along with the topic of big data and IoT comes the natural discussion about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). Whether it be in manufacturing environments (Smart Factories), office environments (Smart Campuses), product sustainment strategies or Engineering automation and visualization to further enable DevOps, there is significant opportunity for the application of AI and ML in the Digital Enterprise.
What are some of the biggest challenges you are currently facing in your current position?
Bates: With evolving technologies comes evolving Cyber Security threats. As IT leaders, we must remain vigilant and informed about the Cyber Security posture and resilience of our networks, platforms and people. At Raytheon, we partner closely with our customers and industry partners to combat evolving cyber threats. We also employ our rich Cyber portfolio of capabilities to keep our company and programs protected. You can call this a challenge but I call them opportunities for innovation against today’s harsh Cyber threats.
What sort of message to you want to get across to the industry?
Bates: Strong industry partnerships are critical in order to successfully execute the mission of our customers. We pride ourselves on having a large portfolio of suppliers and partners that span the globe. From an IT perspective, partnering to deliver capability is one thing, but strategic engagements with these industry peers and providers, as well as collaboration and knowledge sharing across industries, is critical for us to shape the future of IT as an enabling function for the business.
In her current role, Mona Bates leads an IT Global Organization supporting Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, partnering with customers, business and industry partners. Previously at Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems, she served as Director of Planning, Architecture & Technology, where her responsibilities included IT Strategic Planning, Service Portfolio Management, Architecture & Technology.