CIO Values: Tom Tabor, Senior VP And CIO, Highmark

The need to focus on how the technology enables business value is key in any industry.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

April 10, 2008

3 Min Read

Career Track

Tom TaborSenior VP and CIO

How long at current company? 17 years

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: Helping to position the Highmark IS staff to provide value to the organization and be recognized as an industry leader. This was accomplished by creating a management team that understands the vision and can facilitate the delivery.

Most important career influencer: Sally Wellinger, a former manager at PPG Industries, where I spent 15 years. She instilled in me the need to quickly analyze a situation and make value-added decisions for the organization to be able to act appropriately. Her ability to ask a few questions, get the information necessary, and apply it in the decision-making process was a great learning experience. Her compassion is a core value of mine to this day.

Decision I wish I could do over: While I've made bad decisions, the ability to recognize and deal with them has been my focus. So there aren't any that stand out that weren't dealt with as part of normal business activity.


The next big thing for my industry will be ... the drive to a more consumer-oriented approach, especially with the drive for consumer-driven health plans coupled with the move to high-deductible plans. Also, we're constantly monitoring the political arena for what changes will drive our business.

Best advice for future CIOs: Not sure I'm qualified to be giving advice, but I believe the need to focus on how the technology enables business value is key in any industry.

On The Job

IT budget: $419 million

Size of IT team: 1,950, along with approximately 330 contractors

Three top initiatives:

  • We are in the third year of a five-year effort to transform our core systems to provide leading-edge functionality in the marketplace.

  • We are transforming our infrastructure to allow the adoption of BPM and SOA through Rational Unified Process-based service life-cycle management and tooling.

  • We have other major initiatives, many of which are taking the business to a "retail" or consumer-driven process and away from our group and member focus.

How I measure IT effectiveness: Strategic capability delivered on time, within budget, with business-case-realized benefits


Colleges/degrees: BS from Youngstown State University; MBA from the University of Pittsburgh

Leisure activities: Golf and spending time with my family

Book read recently: The Appeal, by John Grisham

Last vacation: Hilton Head

If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... I love what I do; I'm not sure I'd do anything else.

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