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5/26/2010
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CIO Profiles: In Their Own Words

IT leaders share their top priorities, biggest mistakes, and career dreams if they weren't a CIO.
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Sr. VP and CIO, Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services

CAREER TRACK
How long at current company: I've been with Marcus & Millichap, which provides investment real estate brokerage services, for 14 years.

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: We built an application called iMpact that lets commercial real estate agents rapidly input data into a listing proposal or marketing package through a WYSIWYG interface. It automatically imports property information, data on comparable nearby properties, and more, then exports the data to a SQL server that dynamically populates our e-marketing, print, and Internet media. It's really streamlined our processes.

Most important career influencer: My former manager, Guenther Braun, who was a VP at Bank of America, gave me the opportunity to transition to management. He mentored me along the path, provided projects that challenged me, and allowed me to grow, while supplying the necessary management training.

Decision I wish I could do over: IS professionals, including me, continued developing and building desktop solutions for too long. We should have transitioned to Web-based solutions across multiple operating systems earlier.

ON THE JOB
IT budget: $7.5 million

Size of IT team: 25 employees

Top initiatives:

  • Enterprise videoconferencing: This system enables desktop-to-conference room video connections though our Cisco VoIP telephony platform, which connects more than 80 offices.
  • Mobile and PDA computing platform: We've released our first-generation iPhone and Android apps. Our plan is to expand these to allow access to market, listing, and research information; increase lead generation; and provide faster communications to clients and other agents.
  • Social networks: We'll expand the use of social networks for lead generation and other uses.

How I measure IT effectiveness:We conduct help-desk surveys from each agent after he or she receives service from our department. The index rates each agent's satisfaction with the service call. For the past five years, we've rated better than the Help Desk Institute's average index.

VISION
The next big thing for my company will be ... to connect mobile computing with various forms of video communications. This will let our sales force communicate and process property listings via their laptops, tablets, and PDAs.

Lesson learned from the last recession: It's important to remain in constant communication with my department and assist if needed. I'm available to discuss staffers' issues, both personal and business related, as well as keep them informed on how the company is performing.

Kids and tech careers: We encouraged our kids to study whatever they wanted and select careers that interested them. They didn't enter the technology realm.

PERSONAL
College: Marquette University

Leisure activities: Golf, fishing, traveling, and spending time at our Wisconsin vacation home

Favorite president: John F. Kennedy, a visionary leader who wasn't afraid to take on new challenges

Tech vendor CEO I respect the most: Apple's Steve Jobs

If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... owner of a sports, cigar, cocktail, and wine bar

Ranked No.62 in the 2010 InformationWeek 500

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