Jessie Adcock, Chief Digital Officer, City of Vancouver

Jessie Adcock is a technology, marketing and digital professional who has been employed globally within the high-tech sector since 1998, currently serving as the Chief Digital Officer for the City of Vancouver. She came to the City from a global financial institution, where she held a series of progressively senior roles in marketing and IT, with responsibilities for developing and implementing global digital strategy, application development and online service delivery for consumer and business markets.

Prior to her experience in the financial services sector, Jessie spent several years in the telecoms industry, providing IT and e-commerce related management services globally. Jessie has worked extensively oversees and speaks four languages. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and an MBA, as well as formal certifications in project and product management. 


1. The role of Chief Digital Officer is fast becoming an integral position within public and private organizations across Canada and beyond. What, in your opinion, are the fundamental responsibilities of the Chief Digital Officer and why is it important to have?

I often say that Digital tends to take on different meanings in different organizations, depending on the degree to which the role is technology, operations or marketing oriented. The reality is that technology adoption is changing the expectations of consumers of services – it is now crucial that development practices line up with strategic objectives. In order to maintain focus on that, organizations are bringing in senior leaders to ensure that technology decisions are optimized and consumer expectations are met. CDOs are leading in that area where technology, operations and marketing intersect.

2. How does a Chief Digital Officer aid in the alignment of IT and Line of Business?

The way CIOs and IT departments are evolving is very exciting. There are new deployment models, technical skills and engagement structures emerging. In some organizations though, digital leadership, especially in the context of ensuring that technology and roadmap choices are aligned with business objectives, can be very effective. It’s not always a CDO, but the trend is emerging towards a department focused on the skillsets and disciplines that straddle IT and Business.

3. What have been your primary objectives since taking on the role for the City of Vancouver?

At the City of Vancouver, we have some very ambitious strategies – one of them is the Digital Strategy – a first for public sector in Canada. I was tasked with meeting 15 specific objectives that made up the strategy and moving the dial on the City’s digital maturity which was baselined in 2013. It’s been an incredible success and it’s amazing to see how far the organization has come. This is even more important now in 2016 as we shift towards IoT – Cities are becoming a foundation for new technology and it’s increasingly important that they modernize.

4. At CAMSS Canada 2016 you are participating in a panel discussion on the subject of Organizational IT Culture. Why is culture so important and does it provide an indication of the level of IT maturity within a company?

Culture is the key to digital transformation and you cannot achieve high tech results without high tech culture. It’s important that internal culture is reflective of strategic objectives and that work is positive, collaborative and solution oriented. As cloud enables rapid deployment, it’s important that we do not create duality between legacy apps and cloud technologies; it’s important everyone feels like they are part of the future – this is especially important in the public sector.

5. What are the outcomes you wish to achieve from the session and what do you want people to take away from it?

I am believer that we become better when we share lessons, the panel on culture will involve folks from multiple sectors - I am looking forward to understanding where the similarities and contrasts are with a view to bringing back some ideas and best practices that can be applied within my own team. Mobile phones, data and analytics are causing our public, private and work lives to converge in unpredictable ways so I believe that as we move forward, it’s important to participate in diverse forums where public and private sector tech practitioners can come together to discuss experiences.

6. What is it that attracted you to CAMSS Canada and what are you most looking forward to?

The speaker line up and topical content really appealed to me and I was delighted when I was asked to participate – I am really looking forward to it!