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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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Executive VP and Global CIO, Cigna


How long at Cigna: About a year and a half at this health insurance and health services company.

Decision I wish I could do over: The decisions that I replay in my head involve not moving fast enough. It took a few mistakes early in my career to understand that an imperfect decision today is worth a lot more than a more perfect decision made much later.


Top initiatives:

  • Customer centricity, being focused on individual needs and personalized relationships, is a big priority. We're engaging customers through diverse channels, requiring delivery through flexible, scalable platforms and infrastructures.
  • We're also highly focused on leveraging data. Being able to aggregate, organize, and apply data reveals meaningful insights. We want to use this information to deliver products that support collaboration with doctors and other healthcare professionals.

Most disruptive force in my industry: We're facing an aging population, an increase in chronic disease, and growing rates of obesity and diabetes, not just in the U.S., but around the world. Disease states typically found in developed countries are also being seen in less-developed countries, so the challenges of managing lifestyle-based illnesses are playing out on a global basis.


How I give my team room to innovate: We're creating innovation labs, allowing our teams the freedom to explore new ideas. We also have a company-wide innovation challenge called "Inventrepreneurs," with incentives for the best new customer-centric innovation ideas.

What I need from tech vendors: We need vendors to be more than just order takers. We want them to proactively engage in frank and open communication if there's a better or faster way to do things, or if there are opportunities for innovation. We also want transparency and visibility into their service delivery models, their problem management processes, and their contingency plans.

The most common cause when IT projects go wrong: Common factors that lead to project failures include lack of clarity in business requirements and success criteria, unrealistic schedules, and a lack of engaged sponsorship.

The most overrated IT movement: While the public cloud has many potential benefits, the hype factor is large. The public cloud adoption rate remains low compared with private and hybrid cloud models, due in part to many architectural, security, and privacy challenges. This is of particular importance within the healthcare industry, as we must manage the confidentiality of health records and patient information with an absolute zero tolerance for lapses in privacy and security.


Favorite sports team manager: Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, because he applied the science of analytics to decision-making in building a team

Person I'd most like to have lunch with: Winston Churchill; I'd love access to his wisdom as the true essence of an inspirational leader (and I hear he truly enjoyed a good lunch)

First job: Pumping gas, which taught me to serve customers with a smile and focus on the details

If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... a college professor, as there are many similarities between being a teacher and being a business leader

Ranked No. 7 in the 2012 InformationWeek 500

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