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Centene CIO Mark Brooks on Building IT’s Business Relevance

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Mark Brooks is executive vice president and CIO of Centene Corporation, a Fortune 24 multi-national healthcare enterprise. With executive responsibility for information technology and systems for the $125 billion company, Brooks leads a team of more than 4,000 employees who develop and implement software and services focused on the organization’s health plan members. In November of 2021, he was recognized with the St. Louis Leadership CIO of the Year ORBIE Award.

Centene has acquired 20 companies since its founding, including seven in the last five years, and Brooks’ Centene Technologies team has experienced dramatic growth as part of that process. He most recently led the successful technology integration of two $10+ billion health plans. When we spoke for my CIO Whisperers podcast, Brooks explained how a culture of “radical candor” has helped them navigate the scale and complexity of these integrations, particularly the people and talent dynamics, which can often be the most challenging.

Beyond the acquisitions, Brooks’ story is also instructive when it comes to making the business case for investment in IT to grow the team and increase its impact. Key to that, he said, is building capabilities into the team to bridge business needs and technology needs. After the show, we spent some time talking about what it takes for IT to get and keep its seat at the leadership table and why learning is fundamental to evolving the culture and delivering results. What follows is that off-air conversation, lightly edited for length and clarity.

Dan Roberts: Can you talk about the process you went through to rebrand and also when and why a CXO should consider rebranding?

Mark Brooks: When we started together back in 2016, we were IT. And as the leadership team formed, it became clear that what we were trying to accomplish was much more than what IT implies—a service organization or a call center. We really wanted to be a strategic partner to our internal customers. We wanted to sit at the leadership table, help create strategy, generate outcomes. We wanted to really have a direct connection between the work that we did and, ultimately, the P&L.

So, as I mentioned on the podcast, we created business engagement teams—well-organized centers of excellence focused on the specific business processes that support the health plan. As part of our operating model, we selected those people so that they could engage with our business partners and start to build that brand and reputation. And as those things started to come together, the team, in a very thoughtful process, decided that Centene Technologies was really the descriptor that embodied the outcomes that we were trying to generate.

Original Post: cio.com

Finance

Moroccan B2B ECommerce Platform Chari Nets Funding on $100M Valuation

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Morocco-based B2B eCommerce and FinTech startup Chari could see a valuation of $100 million after a new bridge round of funding, TechCrunch reported Thursday (Jan. 20).

Chari functions as a mobile app, allowing traditional proximity store owners in Morocco to order products and have them delivered.

The company is trying to get more into the FinTech space after closing a bridge round which was led by the Saudi Arabia-based venture capital fund Khwarizmi Ventures, AirAngels (Airbnb Alumni Investors) and Afri Mobility, the venture capital arm of AKWA Group.

“Chari will use the money from this bridge round to test the BNPL services with its existing customers,” said Ismael Belkhayat, Chari’s CEO. “Upon successful results, Chari will acquire a local credit company to enable shop owners to lend money to their end users and further grow their business.”

Chari works with over half of the proximity stores in Casablanca, and has expanded into Tunisia. Last August, the company also acquired Karny, a mobile credit book application.

The Karny acquisition gave Chari more data on the loans given by grocery stores to customers, letting it credit assess unbanked shop owners and determine the best payment terms.

Chari was also a participant in the startup investor and incubator Y Combinator S21 batch and raised $5 million in late 2021. PYMNTS writes that Karny’s services help convenience stores use smartphones to manage credit arrangements with customers.

See also: Morocco’s eCommerce Startup Chari.ma Acquires Mobile Credit Book App

The company has around 15,000 convenience store customers. According to Y Combinator’s website, Chari “is an eCommerce and FinTech app for traditional retailers in North Africa allowing them to order any consumer goods they sell and get delivered for free in less than 24 hours.”

Chari also works as a financial services provider for retailers, offering micro-credit facilities.

PYMNTS also reported on Chari’s fundraising last year, writing that it could help the company expand into French-speaking Africa.

Related: Moroccan B2B eCommerce Firm Chari Raises $5M 

Article: pymnts.com

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Hudson Swafford Breaks From Pack Late to Win the American Express

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Hudson Swafford went eagle-birdie at the 16th and 17th holes to cap a busy final round and win The American Express on Sunday in La Quinta, Calif.

Swafford’s eagle, nine birdies and three bogeys added up to an 8-under 64 that catapulted him to victory after starting the day three strokes off theleaders. At 23-under 265, Swafford beat Tom Hoge (68 Sunday) by two shots.

Brian Harman also shot a 64 earlier in the day to se

Original Post: bignewsnetwork.com

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Is Putin Following in Steps of Peter the Great

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Three hundred and forty kilometers east of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, lies the city of Poltava.

At its heart is a semi-circular square with a cast-iron column and nearly two dozen eighteenth-century Swedish cannons captured in the 1709 Battle of Poltava, a decisive encounter in the Great Northern War, waged between Russia’s Peter the Great and Sweden’s Charles XII for supremacy in eastern Europe.

Russia’s

Original Post: bignewsnetwork.com

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