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InformationWeek 500: CIO Values: Joe Morgan VP, CTO, and GM of on-demand solutions Standard Register

Joe Morgan, top IT exec at Standard Register, speaks out on reorganizing his IT group, how his dad influenced his career, and that one decision he wishes he could do over.

Career Track


Joe Morgan
VP, CTO, and GM of on-demand solutions Standard Register
How long at Standard Register: Six years

Career accomplishment you're most proud of: I was asked to build a tech organization that addressed the future state of our company. In three years, we've restructured our approach to investment and organization by building a strong development group, balanced outsourcing and insourcing, established a project management office, and created a governance model for tech investment.

Most important career influencers: My dad, Joe Morgan Sr., showed me that life's toughest situations require unwavering leadership. My father-in-law, Jack Rihtarchik, taught me professionalism and compassion. Mark Ungerer, former CEO of Flexcon, helped me see the importance of associate engagement and customer satisfaction. Myles McDonough, Flexcon chairman, showed me the importance of entrepreneurialism and passion for success.

Major decision you wish you could do over: As president of a manufacturing company earlier in my career, we went with an ERP implementation that didn't consider the proper level of business impact. We lived the classic late-and-overbudget scenario.

Vision
The next big thing for my business will be ... creating a single, consolidated view of data that lets us accelerate decision-making across lines of business.

Best piece of advice for future CIOs: Understand the business from the outside in. Often, technologists approach investments and operational optimization from a technology perspective and lose the "business" people in the process. Applying technology within business terms is a winning formula. Also, engaged staff working on clearly defined expectations deliver great, measurable results. Finally, make it fun!

On The Job
IT annual budget: $60 million

Size of IT team: 140 plus outsourced associates

Three top initiatives for this year:

  • Upgrade key technologies and systems to rationalize our technology portfolio and simplify business processes. Guiding principles: Buy rather than build where differentiation isn't critical and create services for reusable business components.
  • Drive our technology strategic plan into business architectural road maps. This gives us the common vision and framework aimed at simplifying processes and technology and adding key enabling capabilities. It also provides the basis for strengthening our governance policies.
  • Deliver targeted apps and invest in capabilities with broad customer appeal; make it easy to do business with us and integrate with our customers' business processes and systems.

Personal
Colleges/degrees: College of the Holy Cross, BA in Chemistry; Worcester Polytechnic Institute, BS in Chemical Engineering; Clark University, MBA

Last vacation: Asheville, N.C.

Favorite sport or leisure activity: Soccer and the Boston Red Sox

Best book read recently: The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom

If I weren't a CIO I would be ... a teacher and a soccer coach

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