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Team Of The Year

At Wal-Mart, business technology is a team effort--the retailer's far-reaching RFID project would be impossible to achieve if it weren't. This year, InformationWeek recognizes CIO Linda Dillman and her IT staff--some 2,400 strong--as our business-technology team of the year.

Dillman's concern extends to the next generation of IT talent, as well. Along with Kay Palmer, CIO and executive VP at trucking company J.B. Hunt Transport Inc., and Jeri Dunn, CIO at Tyson Foods Inc., Dillman last year established the Northwest Arkansas chapter for the Network of Executive Women, whose goal is to help women advance in management positions, especially in the IT field, where there's declining interest. Women made up 22% of those majoring in computer science in the United States last year, compared with 37% in 1983, according to University of Arkansas statistics.

In addition to continuing to work on people development, Dillman has on tap for 2005 plans to gain more efficiencies in Wal-Mart's collaborative inventory-management systems to improve in-stock items and forecasting, and to deliver technology to improve in-store processes. For instance, lines could be shortened if cashiers are scheduled and lanes are open to handle grocery sales at peak shopping hours. "What are the things we can we do to make it easier for customers to shop and to be more efficient when they come in the store? And once they're done, what can we do to get them through the checkout faster?" she says.

The full plan for 2005 is still a work in progress, but Dillman is clear that not even one project would happen if it weren't for the team at her back. "There's such an overwhelming sense when I receive recognition because it's really about the team," Dillman says. "There's so little that I do; there's so much the team delivers."

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