Ralph Loura is a key member of the newly formed Hewlett Packard Enterprise, serving as CIO for the Enterprise Group and Hewlett Packard Labs. Ralph’s objective is to help drive growth through a focus on the customer and partner experience and on meaningful outcomes through world-class processes, tools, and data. He believes IT functions should serve as value creators rather than cost centers, and that the path to value comes from business outcomes tied to user experience.
Before joining HP in 2014, Ralph most recently served as SVP and CIO of The Clorox Company where he transformed IT from an underperforming cost center to an organization that is closely involved with shaping and supporting company strategy. Ralph has with a wealth of experience and an understanding of the enterprise systems space, having served in IT leadership roles at Cisco, Symbol, Lucent and AT&T Bell Laboratories.
He has been recognized as Consumer Goods Technology CIO of the Year 2013, a Top 10 Breakaway Leader by Evanta in 2012, and a Computerworld Premier 100 IT leader in 2012. In January 2015, Ralph was named one of HuffPost Tech’s Top 100 Social CIOs, and in July 2015 RobertHalf and LeadTail counted him among the 20 people most Retweeted by IT leaders.
Ralph holds a master’s degree in computer science from Northwestern University and a B.S. degree in computer science-mathematics from Saint Joseph’s College. He serves on industry boards including the Technology Business Management Council and still finds time to support non-profit boards, such as Big Brothers & Big Sisters of the Bay Area and Alameda County Community Food Bank. When he’s not working, Ralph enjoys time with his wife and four children, bikes 30-40 miles on most weekends, and makes his own wine – a true renaissance CIO.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise will focus on the enterprise, both large and small. With the broadest technology portfolio spanning software, services and IT infrastructure, Hewlett Packard Enterprise delivers solutions for customers’ most complex challenges in every region of the world.
Through our R&D unit, Hewlett Packard Labs, we conduct research that drives technology to commercialization in the areas most important to our customers and society. We are driven to create solutions that transform data into value, bytes into experiences, noise into knowledge.
We invest in current technologies like the cloud, security, and mobility, as well as future computing platforms and capabilities.
We look at emerging trends to understand where our industry– and our world — is headed, invest in a forward-looking, ambitious research agenda for tomorrow, and build a pipeline to fuel the next generation of products, services and solutions, delivering breakthroughs that can transform current businesses and create new ones.
More information about Hewlett Packard Enterprise is available at http://www.hpe.com.
Growing up STEM
As an IT leader for a Fortune 50 technology company, I work in an extremely dynamic industry. We are in the midst of an unprecedented time of discovery and disruption, which is one of the things I enjoy most about working in technology. This advancing pace of technology is also changing the way people of all ages learn, and it offers educational resources and opportunities where barriers previously existed.
In the Classroom
Because of a greater focus on technology in the classroom, schools are devoting more attention than ever to STEM education at all levels. Early exposure to technology and mathematics provides a strong foundation on which to build. In the K-12 years, it’s important that public school districts provide adequate access to computers and well-equipped science laboratories to capture students’ interest at an early age. In general, I believe students in grade 6 and above need full-time access to a notebook computer for their classroom coursework and homework. This prepares students for the types of assignments they’re likely to receive in college and in the business world; and trusting them with an expensive piece of technology they can call their own instills a sense of trust and responsibility.
Access to a notebook computer offers students of all ages a platform for consuming online education resources. Not only are the research tools for traditional assignments more readily available, but students can act on inspiration and access learning experiences beyond what is being taught in school. The right combination of tools and applications can help schools offer a highly personalized, effective, and stimulating educational experience for each student. Educational applications offer interactivity on a virtually unlimited range of subjects, and can engage students while objectively assessing their comprehension and skills. While not every student who is encouraged and nurtured in technology, the sciences, and mathematics ends up pursuing a STEM-related education or career, a good foundation in technology can benefit anyone entering the workforce of today (and the future).
Secondary education institutions are extending enrollment to a much broader audience than ever by offering online courses. A January 2013 study by the Babson Survey Research Group revealed that the proportion of all students taking at least one online course was at an all-time high of 32 percent. Online offerings can enable people who work full time or might otherwise be unable to attend class an opportunity to advance their education.
In my organization, I see many more full-time employees attending college than ever before because of this ability to take classes outside of a traditional classroom setting. There are those who entered the workforce without a degree and now have an opportunity to receive a college diploma without having to leave their job. Others have the opportunity to complete post-graduate degrees they might never have received, all due to scheduling flexibility. In IT, I see the impact of the skills and expertise these individuals bring back into the workplace to benefit the company as a whole.
Educating the Workforce
As a technology leader, I see the benefits of continuing education and Knowledge Management systems on a regular basis. Whether onboarding a new employee, deploying security training, or encouraging new skill development; curricula are easier than ever to develop and consume. It’s also easier than ever to deploy knowledge-sharing platforms for employees, ensuring best practices are shared and knowledge transfer is accomplished. Employees are able to consume training and share knowledge when it fits their schedule, rather than having to choose between receiving training and meeting a deadline.
Many companies are also embracing internal social media platforms in the interest of Knowledge Management as well as employee engagement. Employees create groups based on common work themes, functions, or processes as well as geographic, personal interest, and other topics. Such tools foster engagement across groups or individuals who might not have another means of connecting or sharing skills.
I’m involved with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area, and one of the most rewarding things I get out of my experience with this organization is watching a child “light up” when they try a new technological gadget or learn a new skill. As teaching methods and learning principles evolve to accommodate more and more technology, it’s more important than ever that parents, teachers, business, and community leaders advance STEM education and opportunities. The students of today come from all ages and levels of experience, and benefit from technology as never before. A good foundation in STEM equips students for lifelong learning, and ensures we inspire the technology innovators of tomorrow who will continue to evolve the ways we learn.