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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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CIO, Sabre Holdings

CAREER TRACK
How long at Sabre Holdings: Seventeen years at this travel technology company.

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: Moving to a set of common standards across infrastructure, operations, performance, process, and architecture. This resulted in improved cost efficiencies, operational efficiencies, and better consistency across products and operations.

Most important career influencer: My father. While now retired, he had a good career, progressing to a very senior level and making the transformation from a senior technology-focused role to a business leadership role. Aside from being a good role model for my career, he has always been a good sounding board for questions and ideas.

ON THE JOB
Top initiatives:

  • Continued innovations around the Sabre Red platform, our new travel agency platform and travel management tools, and enhancements to the recently launched Sabre Red App Centre, a business-to-business travel app marketplace.
  • Continued enhancements to our software-as-a-service platform and investment in our reservations system, enabling a broader set of capabilities and increased integration between various applications.
  • Investment in Organic Server Management, Sabre's next-generation automation of our infrastructure environment, allowing increased application and server utilization within our private cloud.

How I measure IT effectiveness: We look for a positive net present value within three to five years, depending on the project, its strategic value, and its expected return. Success metrics include customer satisfaction; productivity, such as IT spending compared with revenue; and operations and reliability, such as product availability.

VISION
The next big thing for my industry: Location-based and customer-focused mobile apps as well as increased integration of travel with social media and improved use of data for better customer engagement.

One thing I'm looking to do better: We're investing in automation within our private cloud to improve server stand-up time within our SaaS product set, improve server utilization, and reduce human error, the biggest contributing factor to availability problems.

What the federal government's top tech priority should be: Cybersecurity is a perennial priority, yet IT within the federal government is in silos, having very little standardization and knowledge sharing across departments. The government needs to break down the barriers and drive standardization. This will lead to much better responsiveness to critical areas, including cybersecurity.

PERSONAL
Colleges/degrees: Oklahoma State University, BS in industrial engineering; Southern Methodist University, MBA

Leisure activities: Cycling and flying airplanes

Best book read recently: Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, the most inspiring story of courage and perseverance I've ever read

Smartphone of choice: Still use a BlackBerry for email (need a keyboard), but prefer my iPad or wife’s iPhone for browsing or leisure needs

Last vacation: France, to watch the Tour de France in the French Alps and tour Paris

Ranked No. 31 in the 2011 InformationWeek 500

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