IT leaders share their top priorities, biggest mistakes, and career dreams if they weren't a CIO.
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Executive VP and CIO, Vail Resorts
CAREER TRACK How long at Vail Resorts: More than five years
Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: Helping to provide the foundational skills and experience that have allowed several members of my past teams to become CIOs and technology executives today.
Most important career influencer: Kamalesh Dwivedi, my former boss and CIO at Scientific-Atlanta, who gave me opportunities to learn many aspects of IT and inspired me to want to become a CIO. Kamalesh taught me the importance of timely, intuition-based decision-making as well as the importance of branding and marketing IT products.
Decision I wish I could do over: At times when I ceded control of significant efforts to third parties, I regretted the outcome. What I've learned is that core functions and complex project execution need direct internal oversight. It's OK to use third parties to augment the team where necessary, but control must stay with people you know and trust.
ON THE JOB Size of IT team: Around 150 employees
Our original EpicMix product is a Web and mobile social platform for our guests. The next iteration of EpicMix will include the integration of professional and guest-generated on-mountain photography along with deeper social networking integration.
We'll enhance our CRM platform by expanding our customer database while refining our analytics, campaign management, and predictive modeling capabilities.
We'll finish the integration of our newest resort, Northstar at Tahoe, into our tech ecosystem to support a consistent guest experience.
VISION The next big thing for my company will be ... to fully embrace the consumerization of IT by creating advanced Web and mobile applications that enhance interactions with guests at every point of contact.
One thing I'm looking to do better:To be more creative in the way we solve problems by challenging the status quo, from the way we manage the IT stack to the business and customer processes we enable.
Lesson learned from the recession: I learned that we could quickly refocus our resources to target specific programs and initiatives that would help the company weather the recession without hurting the guest experience. Also, we didn't have to do this entirely at the expense of investments in the future.
Kids and tech careers: I can't think of a more rewarding and engaging career choice. We're in the middle of a technology revolution that is only in the early stages.
PERSONAL Colleges/degrees: Mercer University, MS in technology management; Nova Southeastern University , Ph.D. in information systems
Leisure activities: Skiing and cycling
Smartphone of choice: iPhone
Best book read recently: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel Pink
If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... involved in some type of creative endeavor, likely in a role where I could influence how consumers use technology.
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.
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