The CIO’s next key role: Change agent

February 26, 2020, looms large for Carol Juel for a number of reasons. It was her twins’ seventh birthday, and the executive vice president and CIO of Synchrony was scrambling to get home to join the festivities. The day also took on new contours as a routine meeting exploring AWS Workspace technology subsequently laid the groundwork for the firm’s near-real-time transition to remote work as COVID-19 took hold as a global pandemic.

Synchrony sent its 4,000 knowledge workers home on March 13 and followed up with a plan that set up 12,000 call center employees with remote operations a scant two weeks later. Shortly thereafter, Juel and the executive leadership team formally launched an enterprise transformation effort to embrace the very agile business practices that got the remote work effort up and running so quickly. Their goal: to favorably position Synchrony to quickly adapt as it stared down a future of continuously changing scenarios and uncertain markets.

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