Cloud and grid computing projects are among SAS's top initiatives, says CIO Gordon.
Suzanne Gordon CIO and VP of IT, SAS
How long at current company: 30 years--nine years in this position
Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: Successfully consolidating the IT infrastructure of one of SAS's largest European offices to SAS's corporate headquarters in Cary, N.C. This was a global effort and involved working with our international team to transition all IT support to SAS Cary while ensuring no disruption in service for our employees. I had a phenomenal team who kept the customer in mind the whole time--in this case, our international colleagues.
Most important career influencer: My dad, who was very supportive of his daughters before that was popular. He taught me how to play golf, which he said was a good business tool, and he took me on business trips and on sales calls. He also gave me these lessons to live by: Work hard; let the boss know you're working; ask for raises and promotions; and change jobs, or at least reflect on the need to, every five years.
Decision I wish I could do over: I stayed in a situation too long that wasn't mutually beneficial for me and my team. I wasn't able to embrace the changes that were being required because I felt they didn't support the best interests of the company. I eventually took another job in SAS consulting that turned out to be very helpful for my career. I just wish I had done it a couple of years sooner!
On The JobIT budget: $98 million
Size of IT team: Around 550
Top initiatives: We're working on cloud and grid computing projects, and becoming a globally integrated company through the adoption of global IT standards (such as data classification), as well as standardizing on development and business processes.
How I measure IT effectiveness: We do customer satisfaction surveys and calculate ROI on major projects and purchases. We also have an IT Governance Council that keeps us on track.
The next big thing for my industry will be ... high-performance computing, where "really big problems" can run on grids in short periods of time so people and companies can make better decisions faster (and cost effectively).
Lesson learned from the recent recession: That it's important to work for smart people who are aware of what's going on in the world and are prepared to address it proactively.
The federal government's top priority should be ... to use analytics to cut fraud and catch criminals and terrorists faster.
Kids and tech careers: I would definitely encourage math and tech careers. My daughter is a math major with a master's degree in global innovation management and works as a project manager for SAS's support site. My son is a math major who wants to teach high school math, especially calculus. Technology people are just great to work with--they want to fix problems and make things better.
Colleges/degrees: North Carolina State University, BS in math, BS in computer science, and master's in statistics
Leisure activities: Walking, bike riding, and playing tennis
Favorite president: Abraham Lincoln, because of his roots and what he accomplished in turbulent times
Business pet peeve: Rumors and people who spread them
If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... a full-time volunteer at Communities in Schools, a great organization that helps at-risk kids
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