There's more we can do to transform business by thinking mobile, says Sybase's CIO.
Jim Swartz 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.
On The Job
IT budget: $52 million
Size of IT team: 200
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
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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