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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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VP of IT and CIO, Sybase

How long at Sybase: 11 years

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: Creating an environment where IT is a test bed and first adopter of the technology the company sells. IT interacts with engineering to give feedback for product development before general availability.

Most important career influencer: Dr. J.R. Beyster, founder of SAIC, taught me that although my team and I may make many mistakes, we'll certainly fail if we're not afforded the opportunity to correct them. New ideas leading to success often come from the corrections.

Decision I wish I could do over: I wish I'd given more attention to how the separation of people's personal and business lives has become blurred by the introduction of new technologies, such as mobility and the real-time access to information. There's a lot more we can do to transform business processes by thinking mobile first.


IT budget: $52 million

Size of IT team: 200

Top initiatives:

  • Moving Sybase onto SAP Business Suite. We'll retire our legacy business applications in favor of adopting the systems and many of the processes of our parent company. This will give us the best tools to sustain our growth.
  • Extending mobile device management to include new flavors of operating systems, in support of our bring-your-own-device program. We'll expand our support and use of iOS, Android, RIM, and Windows 8 in 2012.

How I measure IT effectiveness: Customer satisfaction is a great indicator. We canvass the community at large at least once per year to gauge how we're doing and where we need to improve.

One thing I'm looking to do better: Encourage better collaboration. Communications need to be simple and direct.

What the federal government's top tech priority should be: Digitize documents and allow digital signatures. In the short term, this would improve process times, reduce paper, and save money. In the long term, this effort would allow the government to tap analytics and intelligence from the data. This is certainly doable from a technology point of view.

Degrees: Muskingum College, BA in political science

Leisure activities: I volunteer at a state park, where I help visitors and patrol trails on horseback

Best book read recently: Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson--it improved my appreciation of the "reality distortion field" and the intersection of technology and the humanities

If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... a cowboy heading into the sunset

Ranked No. 38 in the 2011 InformationWeek 500

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