IT leaders share their top priorities, biggest mistakes, and career dreams if they weren't a CIO.
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CTO, Echo Global Logistics
CAREER TRACK How long at Echo Global Logistics: About five years.
Most important career influencer: The biggest influence on my career was an industry, not a person. I spent 10 years of my IT career in the equity market side of financial services in London and New York. We had a saying back then that I've kept using: Always have "belt and braces." It's a British expression that means always overplan or have a backup for your backup. I incorporate this way of thinking across all aspects of IT.
Decision I wish I could do over: I took a CIO job for a manufacturing company that had a brilliant piece of software that it wanted to take to market. Once I arrived, it became obvious that there wasn't enough appetite for the time, money, and resources required to do this successfully. This was a great learning experience and taught me to dig deeper into business plans and projects before jumping in.
ON THE JOB Top initiatives:
Completion of our service-oriented architecture migration for all our platforms ensures that continuous and rapid development of new client-requested data, services, and functions are easily supported. Echo's SOA will continue to support our growth and scale well into the future.
We'll extend the function and reach of our technology and services to our clients and vendors via expansion of mobile applications and Web services.
How I measure IT effectiveness: At a high level, I look at metrics such as user satisfaction, sales wins over our competition, the cost of IT as a percentage of gross profit, and service-level agreements. At a detailed level, we have tools, dashboards, and reports that let us measure just about everything: services and database performance, application response times, transactional volumes, and much more.
VISION Lesson learned from the recession: Always be ready for rapid change and be able to make difficult decisions quickly. Know what your financial, corporate, team, and personal priorities are, and what's required to support them. This discipline helps you focus on what drives your business in good and bad economic times.
What the federal government's top technology priority should be: The security of national and corporate data and information is paramount. Digital warfare could impact both corporate profits and national security. The impact to the U.S. through the loss of intellectual property and capital is immeasurable.
Kids and technology careers: I would definitely steer my nieces and nephews toward a career in technology. Technology is key to our future.
Favorite sports teams: Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks--they're scrappy and entertaining
Favorite president: Franklin D. Roosevelt; he guided us through the Great Depression and a world war, and fought serious illness while remaining optimistic
Smartphone of choice: I love the speed, openness, and connectivity of the Android OS and HTC platforms
If I weren't a tech chief, I'd be ...a beer brewer--brewing beer is a great hobby, and maybe I could make money at something I'm passionate about
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.