Monte E. FordSenior VP and CIO, American Airlines and AMR
How long at American Airlines and AMR: 10 years
Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: I'm most proud about developing mutual, reciprocal, and symbiotic business relationships with the business units we work with and support. We've reached a point where we don't have the typical challenges between IT and the business unit that you see at many companies today.
Most important career influencer: Someone I encountered early in my career, who told me all the reasons why I couldn't do all the things I've ended up doing. The motivation I got from that experience has caused me to work as hard and smart as I can and to encourage others to do the same. Telling me what I couldn't do was just the catalyst I needed to learn as much as I could.
ON THE JOB
IT budget: We don't disclose IT budget. But I'd argue that's not the right question--rather, what matters is, are you getting the most out of your IT budget that you possibly can? I'd say we're always 90% toward where we need to be. We always have room for improvement because we continuously evaluate and re-evaluate how and why we spend money on the things we do. But measuring budget in dollar terms is much less effective than measuring effectiveness of technology spending as applied to business needs.
Top initiatives: Faster implementation in IT development, continuous improvement for business problem resolution, and a maniacal focus on our technology platforms.
The next big thing for my industry will be ... Customer centricity, packaging, and customizing product delivery--essentially, those things that help us provide better service to our customers, simplify their travel, and make for a more cost-efficient and smoother-running operation. This could be as simple as an app tailored to their specific device or information at their fingertips about a great place to eat at their destination or the opportunity to pick and choose the services and products they want.
The federal government's top technology should be ... putting together technology that encourages businesses to build jobs.
Kids and technology careers: Of my three children, two have graduated from college and are now working in the tech industry, focused on the intersection of energy and technology. That was their choice, and I'm proud of the decisions they've made about their careers.
Business-related pet peeve: Governmental red tape and business impedance
Business leader I'd like to have lunch with: James Cash
Last vacation: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Personal computer: HP and Apple
If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... a college professor
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