CIO Profiles: Ajay Waghray Of Verizon Wireless

Lesson learned early: "You can't expect to be given a second job if you don't do well in your first one."

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

February 2, 2011

3 Min Read

Career Track

Ajay WaghrayVP of Information Systems and CIO, Verizon Wireless

How long at current company: Since the company began in 2000

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: The consolidation of Verizon Wireless' systems portfolio. In following the mantra "one business function, one system," we consolidated 13 billing systems down to one over a seven-year period. Our efforts resulted in a smoother customer experience online, in our stores, and over the phone.

Most important career influencer: While in college, I interned at multinational Larsen & Toubro, supporting manufacturing resource planning software. My boss at the time, V.A.J. Nunes, gave me a piece of advice that I remember to this day: "Focus on doing well in what you're doing now, and tomorrow's opportunities will take care of themselves. You can't expect to be given a second job if you don't do well in your first one."

On The Job

Size of IT team: 3,000

Top initiatives:

How I measure IT effectiveness: Both return on investment and a superior customer experience are paramount. To ensure that we're delivering real value, we stay focused on how our work affects our customers, our employees, and our shareholders.


Advice for future CIOs: Always connect the head and feet. You can have the best ideas in your head, but it's your feet that get you from point A to point B.

The next big thing for my business will be ... 4G LTE. The world's first commercial LTE network will propel us from the world of mobile connected people to the world of mobile connected things. It will enable a new set of mobile applications, including machine-to-machine apps, which are the future of wireless.

Best way to cope with the economic downturn: If you wait until the economy picks up steam to prepare for future growth, you'll find yourself behind the curve and constantly working to catch up. Now is the time to optimize operations, eliminate the clutter, and get better focused for the road ahead.

The government's top tech priority should be ... creating an environment that fosters investment, innovation, and entrepreneurship. This is the beating heart of the economy and the key to moving the country forward. Another issue closely related to this is ensuring that our educational system puts a greater focus on STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and math. For future technologists and entrepreneurs, a solid educational foundation paired with an open and competitive environment is the formula for success.


Colleges/degrees: Birla Institute of Technology and Science, BS in engineering; West Virginia University, MS in computer engineering; Wharton School of Business, MBA

Business-related pet peeve: Requests to automate complexity without first simplifying the practice

Favorite president: Abraham Lincoln; I admire this quote: "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts."

If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... a doctor

Ranked No. 9 in the 2010

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