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Before accepting his current role as global chief information officer at Box, Ravi Malick weighed the decision carefully. He knew from experience that being CIO comes with its fair share of challenges.
“I wasn’t entirely certain if I wanted to step into a CIO role again,” admits Malick, who had been a CIO at Texas-based Vistra Energy for nearly four years. “What attracted me to the opportunity at Box, in particular, was that I would get to spend roughly 50 percent of my time internally and 50 fifty percent externally, to maximize the value of Box and provide feedback into our direction.”
Box, which offers content management and other services in a cloud environment, proved to be a natural fit for Malick. As global CIO, he leverages his technical expertise to support the company as it grows and to enable additional growth in the future. That requires him to understand Box as both a platform and a business and to strike a balance between technological innovation and goal-oriented pragmatism.
Malick began his career in financial services and management consulting, first at the Bank of New York and then at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). From the start, he found himself gravitating toward technology. “I’ve always been a technologist, even as a kid,” he says. “When I joined PwC, the IT revolution was in full swing. That’s where I cut my teeth on enterprise system implementations and development—and where I caught the bug, if you will.”
Self-taught in multiple programming languages, Malick was one of the first people at PwC to become fluent in Java. Over the next decade, he broadened his experience in finance as well as the software space, while gaining exposure to a wide range of business functions. By 2010, he had landed at TXU Energy, the retail business of Energy Future Holdings, later known as Vistra Energy.
It was during his tenure at Vistra that Malick first encountered Box. “I was a Box customer,” he explains. “I brought it in as an early adopter and ended up rolling it out across our entire fleet—roughly sixty generation plants as well as our wholesale business.”
His connections at Box led Malick to enter the CIO conversation in 2021, after he had stepped away from the energy industry. Since then, he has fully embraced the duality of his new role, which sees him toggling between outside customer interactions and IT and security matters within Box itself. “We run Box on Box,” he says. “I’m customer zero, so I get to provide insights into our own experience with the platform along with what I hear externally.”
As he compiles feedback from both sides, Malick keeps Box’s strategic roadmap front of mind. “CIO is one of the few roles where you have to understand all aspects of the business,” he says. “I focus on maximizing value, minimizing risk, and managing cost—and combining those three areas to create a foundation that enables business growth in a scalable way.”
Scalable is certainly the operative word, given Box’s tremendous growth trajectory in recent years. “We’ve moved from our roots in cloud storage and content storage toward being a platform with integrations to thousands of applications,” Malick elaborates. “One of my big projects upon joining Box was changing both our economic and our operating model around how we fund and invest in new IT projects and how we deliver and manage those projects. The next big thing is enabling a scalable and flexible architecture.”
Considering the inseparability of Malick’s aims in IT from those of Box as a company, it is critical for him to remain in close contact with colleagues across the business. “I connect and check in with folks and stakeholders on a regular basis so I can understand what we’re doing well and where we need to make tweaks. It’s my job to make sure that the organization has the tools necessary to be successful,” he says.
Sometimes those tools already exist within Box. In other cases, Malick recognizes a need to invest in new technology—but only to the extent that it aligns with the company’s goals and financials. “It’s really important as a technology leader to have that balance of value between innovation and pragmatism,” he says.
Innovation and pragmatism are also at the heart of where Malick envisions Box going from here. With cybersecurity threats on the rise, he seeks to maintain a secure and reliable technical environment as the company advances to the next level of operational efficiency.
“At Box, the future is about continuing to grow and continuing to educate the market on why content matters and why people should be thinking about it differently,” the CIO says. “I want to help get that message out, be a bridge between the IT side and the business side, and continue to espouse the strategic nature of IT in terms of making the business even more successful.”
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