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9/20/2012
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CIO Profiles: Mark White Of Swank Audio Visuals

Ignore hyped technologies at you own risk, says this CIO.

Career Track



Mark White, CIO Swank Audio Visuals

Mark White
CIO, Swank Audio Visuals

How long at Swank Audio Visuals: Five years at this tech services company.

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: I started out as a software developer and still am one at heart, so I'm probably most proud of Flexnet. It's a proprietary app engineered for the overlap between audiovisual technology and the meeting, conference, and event businesses.

On The Job


Top Initiatives:

  • A new customer management and sales application that will be integrated with our overall proposal, order, and billing system.
  • A lightweight version of the order system, designed to run via the Web on mobile devices.
  • A new tool focused on better labor management and sharing of resources.

The most disruptive force in my industry: The bring-your-own-device trend.

Vision


How I give my team room to innovate and experiment: We're fortunate that innovation is a core belief in our culture. Anyone, at any time, can bring an idea to the table and have it considered seriously.

What I'm looking to do better: We're looking to improve the overall uptime of our WAN and the overall quality of the software we develop.

What the most common cause is when IT projects go wrong: The lack of involvement from key business stakeholders--if you don't have the resources and can't get them, don't do the project.

What tech vendors aren't delivering today: Tech vendors could improve the level of product knowledge they offer during the sales cycle.

Kids and tech careers: I tried to steer my kids toward IT careers. Of course, neither of them was interested. Surprisingly, they didn't want to spend any more time in front of a computer than they already do.

The most overrated IT movement: Our discipline is one of the worst for hype and exaggeration. But you never know what the next big thing will be. Is it the cloud? There's a real opportunity for some shops to get out of the hardware business and focus on their company's business. Is it SOA? SaaS? Maybe. But it's clear to me that you ignore any of these hyped technologies at your own risk.

Personal


Title: CIO

Degrees: University of Missouri-St. Louis, business/MIS degree

Fastest way into my doghouse: Lying or trying to hide a mistake

Person I'd most like to have lunch with: Obama and Romney at the same time would be interesting

First job: Putt-Putt Golf at age 15 in 1975; I did everything from taking tickets at the go-cart track to keeping the go-carts gassed up and running, and helping people when they crashed

Ranked No. 22 in the 2012 InformationWeek 500

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