CIO Profiles: Jeanette Horan Of IBM - InformationWeek
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CIO Profiles: Jeanette Horan Of IBM

IBM's CIO is looking for ways to leverage big data.

Career Track

Jeanette Horan, VP and CIO, IBM

Jeanette Horan

How long at IBM: 13 years

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: In 2007, I defined and led the largest business transformation program in IBM, reengineering our processes in conjunction with IBM's Global Business Services team.

Most important career influencer: Roger Gourd, the manager who brought me from the U.K. to the U.S., and then hired me again eight years later and supported my career development through an executive MBA program and gave me my first executive role. Roger taught me the value of taking risks and making informed decisions.

Decision I wish I could do over: Taking a role at Digital Equipment in its networking business with a mission to innovate when the company didn't have the resources to invest. In hindsight, I wish I'd done more due diligence before taking the role.

On The Job

Top initiatives:

  • A new system to manage key human resources functions such as payroll and benefits.
  • A sales-force automation initiative to simplify sales activities.
  • Integrating all back-office processes among IBM, its clients, partners, and suppliers.
How I measure IT effectiveness: We base this on business value delivered via new projects (both hard and soft business benefits), as well as on business process availability.


The next big thing for my industry: The pervasive use of business analytics to leverage big data. The amount of data produced today is just too overwhelming for people to consume, so we need to rely on automated processes to discover trends and evaluate courses of action.

One thing I'm looking to do better: I'd like to deliver more innovation in employee provisioning while managing security for the increased use of smartphones. The availability of affordable smartphones is putting enormous pressure on CIOs to support BYOD demand, yet most people are unaware of the security issues associated with business use of these devices.

Lesson learned from the recession: Do everything possible to maintain new project investments because the business will need the capability as markets recover.

The federal government's top tech priority should be: Managing cybersecurity. The number and sophistication of attacks on U.S. companies and U.S. interests went up tremendously in 2011. The amount of investment from venture capital funds in technologies to ensure the protection of data has gone down, so new sources of investment and innovation are required. The federal government can help.


Colleges/degrees: University of London, BS in math; Boston University, MBA

Leisure activity: Photography

Business leader I'd like to have lunch with: Warren Buffett

Last vacation: Cape Cod

Personal computer: Mac

Best book read recently: The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly

Ranked No. 118 in the 2011 InformationWeek 500

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