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CIO Profiles: Ann M. Harten, VP Of Global Information Services And Human Resources At Haworth

Harten is working to make sure students are exposed to technology.

Career Track

Ann M. Harten

Ann M. Harten
VP of Global Information Services and Human Resources, Haworth
How long at current company: 4 years

Most important career influencer: When I worked for Steve Thompson, at Boise Cascade Office Products and OfficeMax, in the mid-1990s, he taught me the importance of taking the time to analyze what's presented and make a decision based on available facts. Don't assume you have all the answers. Steve also had a near-photographic memory, like my current boss, Franco Bianchi--which is just another good reason to always be truthful!

Decision I wish I could do over: When I first got into IT in 1993, we implemented a pilot of a new ERP system with a very small (read: too small) team. The result was several months of mind-bending work that consumed very long days and was quite draining. I learned early the importance of properly staffing any system implementation and the hypercare that follows the pilot launch. It was a great experience, with a terrific group of people, and I am fortunate that they still speak to me.


Advice for future CIOs: Know your business and its drivers. Sit at the table with the business leaders of your company and listen carefully. Pinpoint key innovations where technology could enhance success. And above all, make sure your team has good leaders who hold people accountable and who seek ideas that enhance company effectiveness.

Best way for CIOs to cope with the economic turndown: This answer really applies to anyone. Focus on the priorities that will feed your top line and mitigate cost. Resist the temptation to let distractions take you off-course--be discerning.

The federal government's top tech priority should be ... sharing key security information across our internal security and external defense agencies and leveraging tools that can help turn that data into timely, relevant information.

Kids and technology careers: The demand for skilled technicians, business analysts, and innovators will only grow. We're graduating fewer and fewer students in technology, science, and engineering, and there will be great opportunities for those who choose to pursue these careers. I'm part of a group of CIOs who have invested personal time in working with local universities to design a curriculum to help ensure the employability of their graduates. As business leaders, we have to get engaged.

On The Job

IT budget: $50 million

Size of IT team: 195 (or 225 if you include full-time consultants)

Top initiatives:

>> Enhancing our outward-facing technologies, including our Web presence in collaboration with our marketing team.

>> Multiyear implementation of SAP--a full suite of ECC 6.0.

>> Continued standardization of our global technology footprint, including networks, hardware, and globally appropriate applications.


Leisure activities: Spending time with my family: Boating in the summer, skiing in the winter; visiting a museum; reading a well-written book

Best book read recently: The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

Biggest business-related pet peeve: Sloppy or incomplete preparation

Personal computer: The tablet PC; right now, it's the Dell Latitude XT

If I were in another line of work, I'd be ... an industrial psychologist--I love to coach people to discover their own motivations and try to optimize their strengths

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