IT leaders share their top priorities, biggest mistakes, and career dreams if they weren't a CIO.
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CIO, Senior VP of IT, Sprint
How long at current company: Eight years
Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: I'm proud of many initiatives my team has executed over the years--including billing system and data center consolidations, new ERP, and Web projects--along with delivering improvements to Sprint's customer experience. But I'm most proud of building a culture that cultivates a focus on innovation, operational excellence, and efficiency.
Most important career influencer: My father, who operated a small family business for more than 60 years. He cast a long shadow with his work ethic, commitment to quality, and the well-being of his customers and employees. Through him, I learned about leadership, responsibility, and accountability.
ON THE JOB Size of IT team: 2,400+ Sprint employees, plus numerous service partners, including Amdocs, IBM, HP, Sapient, Oracle, and TCS
• Sprint is deploying a cost-effective network plan to enhance voice quality and data speeds for U.S. customers. A multimode base station will create network flexibility, reduce operating costs, and improve environmental sustainability.
•Machine-to-machine technologies, which let devices communicate with each other, are growing quickly in the wireless industry. Sprint recently opened its M2M Collaboration Center,which brings together Sprint partners, equipment providers, customers, and employees to develop proofs of concept and test connected devices before submitting for certification.
How I measure IT effectiveness: My team looks at all the traditional IT metrics such as on-time/on-budget project delivery, expenses as a percentage of revenue, and IT "Moose" (maintenance, ongoing operations, systems, and equipment). The most important indicator of success is knowing that we support the business by enabling increased sales, reduced costs, new product launches, and tools to combat churn.
VISION The next big thing for my company: We expect next-generation network equipment to allow us to aggregate and more efficiently use spectrum or airwaves to boost data speeds.
One thing I'm looking to change: We want to dramatically improve project delivery cycle time to help our business partners deliver offerings to the market faster.
The federal government's top tech priority should be ... to promote competition in the communications industry, which is operating under outdated regulations designed to preserve and protect the antiquated system of landline phone companies. To grow our nation's broadband economy and create jobs in communications and other sectors, that must change.
Kids and tech careers: I didn't steer our kids toward a tech career, but encouraged liberal arts and humanities as a strong foundation for their future endeavors.
PERSONAL Colleges/degrees: Wesleyan University, BA, liberal arts; Western New England School of Law, JD; Georgetown University, executive MBA
Favorite pro sports team coach: Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots, because of his consistency, competitiveness, and organization
Business leader I'd like to have lunch with: A fictional lunch with Dagny Taggart, VP of operations at Taggart Transcontinental Railroad (from Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand)
Business pet peeve: Use of the pronoun "I" in formal business communications
The Business of Going DigitalDigital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.