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5/20/2010
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CIO Profiles: Denis Edwards Of Manpower

Employment services firm's global chief information officer is taking a good look at SaaS and the cloud.

Career Track



Denis Edwards, Senior VP and Global Chief Information Officer, Manpower

Denis Edwards
Senior VP and Global Chief Information Officer, Manpower


How long at current company: I've been at Manpower, an employment services company, three years.

Most important career influencers: I'm fortunate to have had supportive parents who instilled in me the core values that I've always counted on to guide my career decisions.

Decision I wish I could do over: I took a job once that I knew wasn't a good fit for me personally but convinced myself I should take it anyway. The company had some significant challenges, which is what excited me about the opportunity. In the end, I was able to address most of the challenges, but it took a significant toll on me personally.

Vision


Advice for future CIOs: Collaborate and communicate constantly with your team, your peers, and your suppliers. Once you've effectively communicated your strategy, vision, execution plans, and the value IT is providing to your business, you most likely have only scratched the surface.

The next big thing for my industry will be ... having a solid understanding of the changes that will continue to occur in the world of work and the challenges these rapid changes will present to individuals seeking employment.

How we're coping with the economic downturn: It looks as if the worst is behind us, so we need to focus on how we move forward. We're looking at innovative ways to deliver offerings that are elastic and cost effective. Cloud and SaaS are interesting, as is the use of a flexible mix of permanent and contingent workers to reach our strategic goals.

The federal government's top technology priority should be ... integrating the various intelligence systems in a way that provides meaningful information that will prevent another terrorist attack.

Kids and technology careers: Technology has provided a great career for me, but I wouldn't steer anyone's career choice in any one direction. Choose a career that you enjoy and that will challenge you.

On The Job


IT budget: $300 million

Size of IT team: 600 globally

Top initiatives:

  • Enabling a business transformation initiative to make our branch offices more efficient, which includes implementing an ERP product in multiple global markets.
  • Implementing new digital branding solutions, a program I'm co-leading with our chief marketing officer. This includes a project to consolidate several of our business-to-consumer offerings and add more content and functionality for our associates and clients.
  • Implementing a way to provide our sales team with the ability to generate revenue and better understand the needs of our strategic clients across the world.

How I measure IT effectiveness: Our metrics are designed to demonstrate how we're contributing to the company's revenue, efficiency, innovation, thought leadership, and organizational goals.

Personal


Colleges/degrees: Nova Southeastern University, BS in computer information systems; University of Maryland, MS certificate in information technology

Leisure activities: Cycling, playing guitar, astronomy, reading

Best book read recently: The Quants, by Scott Patterson, a good overview of some of the forces that caused the economic downturn

Tech vendor CEO I respect most: Salesforce.com's Mark Benioff

If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... an astronomer or a starving musician

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