Wayne State business professor brings together state's top CIOs

The Michigan CIO Roundtable is an annual discussion organized by Wayne State University’s Mike Ilitch School of Business that brings together chief information officers from different industries across the state to discuss and analyze important issues in the information technology community. This year, the discussion was held on May 24.

Arik Ragowsky, professor of information systems management in the Ilitch School, initiated the roundtable in 2007 and has organized it annually since 2009.

Each year, 10-15 senior CIOs from different industries – including government, automotive, education, finance and healthcare – participate in the roundtable. Many of them are members of the Detroit Chapter of the Society of Information Management, where Ragowsky is a deputy chair of the education committee, a member of the chapter board, and a member of the program committee.

In addition to Ragowsky, the discussion’s academic team consists of Myles Stern, chair of Wayne State’s Department of Accounting; Paul Licker, professor of Management Information Systems at Oakland University; and David Gefen, provost of Distinguished Research at Drexel University.

The academic team consults with the CIOs about what topics are important and of interest to them and, along with the academic team’s input, decide about the topics of the year. At the meeting itself, the academic team moderates the discussion and asks questions to expand some topics if necessary.

The team videotapes the discussion and uses the transcripts for writing papers and communicating information to students. However, the names of the participants and companies are never exposed. By keeping their identification anonymous, Ragowsky said, participants are free to speak candidly and to give examples from their own companies.

As evidence of the model’s success, Ragowsky cites the high number of participants who return year after year.

In addition to providing a forum for the region’s CIOs to connect with each other to discuss latest trends and challenges, the Michigan CIO Roundtable also provides a wealth of information for Ragowsky and the other academic team members to share with his colleagues and students.

“This activity provides positive publicity for the Ilitch School and Wayne State, allows our students learn the latest and greatest information from senior leaders in Metro Detroit’s IT industry, and provides the academics with wonderful raw data,” Ragowsky said. “Each roundtable produces multiple research papers and countless topics for classroom discussions, opens doors for data collection for research projects, and brings us closer to the business community.”