Patty Hatter Explains How To Drive Change Like a CIO

McAfee's Patty Hatter knows when to step up and take action—in part due to the perspective she gained as CIO

When a transformational moment arises, Patty Hatter seizes it. Throughout her career, she has recognized the potential for strategic transformation and utilized her business and technology expertise to drive massive, rapid change. In early 2016, Hatter took on her most recent career shift, transitioning to a new role as senior vice president for McAfee’s Security Services business. Growth since then has been unprecedented, and this young services organization is stretching to keep up. Hatter is singularly prepared to lead the charge to better position McAfee in the industry and transform her organization into a world-class services team. Moreover, she’s hoping to make a major transformation in the workforce she leads and to act as a force for empowering women in technology.

Prior to her new role, Hatter served as the senior vice president of operations and CIO of McAfee, followed by a stint as general manager of security and software IT, where she drove the IT transition from then McAfee into Intel. Her time as a CIO has uniquely positioned her to understand the concerns and needs of McAfee’s customers. Compared with other functions across an IT organization, security remains a fragmented field; vendors offer varied products that customers then must stitch together themselves. However, customers don’t always have the skills necessary to get everything they can out of those products and protect themselves from today’s cyberthreats.

Hatter knows firsthand how hard it is to balance security threats with tight budgets and the need to speed innovation for the rest of the company. Today, her customers can work with someone who’s gone through their same experiences. In fact, she sees the experience of the CIO role as a crucial piece of any potential technology leader.

“Nothing is going to get accomplished if everybody gets rattled during a challenging situation. Stay calm, and start dissecting each issue, identifying the root cause, and building things
back up.”

“If you’re a senior person within a technology company, you should take on a CIO role, at least for some amount of time,” she says. “The world seems clear-cut if you’re just managing one piece of technology. It’s not so clear-cut if you’re trying to figure out how you balance an ever-tightening budget, manage global resource challenges, and, most importantly, drive the CEO’s agenda to enable the business by accelerating new capabilities. Having the CIO role and knowing how to strike that balance really helps.” As she puts it, the CIO can dissect and act on broad industry trends and enable both employees and customers, while also mitigating cyberrisks for the company. Her calm approach makes sure those various challenges are solved. “Nothing is going to get accomplished if everybody gets rattled during a challenging situation,” she says. “Stay calm, and start dissecting each issue, identifying the root cause, and building things back up.”

Hatter is now directly applying this experience to shaping and delivering key services in the security market. “There is a much bigger market transformation in cybersecurity that has to happen,” she says. “It’s across the whole company, not just with services. But it is important to get started in the services space. We need to talk differently to our customers and pivot to more outcomes conversations rather than just product-feature conversations.”

Tech Testimonial

Patty Hatter recently testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Technology on the President’s Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP). CNAP aims to reverse the cybersecurity talent shortage, in part by allocating $62 million to bolster cybersecurity personnel programs. Hatter spoke to show McAfee’s commitment to supporting CNAP’s cybersecurity workforce efforts and expanding initiatives, as well as encouraging additional investment at the state and local levels. She also offered recommendations for CNAP’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, spoke at a Women in Technology event, and continues to dialog with members of Congress on steps that can be taken to help solve these issues.

“I am personally a CNN junkie, but I thought, ‘It’s not adequate to sit on the sidelines and look at what might be going on in the federal government if you’re not willing to weigh in and try to add your voice, your opinion, your insights into this to make it better,’” Hatter says. Whether encouraging women to take risks and grow their career, looking for new solutions for customers, or speaking with congresspeople, Hatter seems to always be looking for that opportunity to make a difference and make the world better and safer for others.

That move seems to be paying dividends—and rapidly. Under Hatter, the team has seen 50 percent year-over-year bookings growth and the highest net-promoter scores of the entire company; only one year earlier the company’s focus on services was so small that its scores weren’t even collected. Although she’s proud of these achievements, Hatter notes that her talented team is the secret to this success. “Those milestones are credit to our incredibly talented and hardworking consultants,” she says. “Those are the people working 24/7 to make sure our customers are safe.”

Simultaneously, Intel recently spun off its security group, Intel Security, into a stand-alone company operating again under the McAfee brand, with Intel maintaining 49 percent ownership. At this key moment, Hatter and her team are focused on bringing the same functionality and solutions to their clients across the globe. “Working with the large, global customers, it’s important to be able to have an underlying base of consistent offers for our customers and for our consultants, so everybody’s working on the same sheet of music,” she says. “We’re also working with our partners directly to make sure we’re enabling them. There’s such a huge market for this; the services are so needed. Our goal is to build a strong ecosystem between our own internal resources and our partner resources, so whoever is touching the customer is doing it in the most productive and professional way.”

Equally important is the corporate belief that working with other security companies and customers and sharing data is the best path to beating cybercrime. Hatter notes that there are five hundred thousand new pieces of malware launched every day—compared to only about twenty-five thousand each day only a decade ago. Keeping ahead of all those potential threats on a massive, global scale demands attention to a lot of unique challenges.

Hatter also recognizes that there’s a looming gap of nearly two million needed skilled security professionals by 2020, and the customer need is higher than ever before. So, Hatter is sure to maintain a keen focus on filling those roles to protect customers, while also promoting other women who are often overlooked for these roles. “We need everybody that we can get in the security space,” she says. “It’s a real opportunity for folks to come in, excel, and grow their careers. I think that’s incumbent on all women that have had various journeys in the tech industry to go back out and give other females a hand, as well as to other minority groups.”

Additionally, Hatter gives back to the community by participating on several boards and in many speaking opportunities—connections which allow for broader, cross-industry conversations. “I pick boards where I find other folks that I can learn from, while making sure the mission and position of the board are poised to have a positive impact,” she says. Among these boards are the Silicon Valley Education Foundation and Advancing Women Executives. She also takes nearly every opportunity presented to speak to women in IT and STEM groups. “It’s easy to just get busy in your day-to-day job,” Hatter says. “But I think what provides more impact for your company, more impact for the individual, is making sure that you are as abreast as possible of the different bigger trends that are going on across industries, across technologies, and how companies are applying that.”