CIO Values: Becky Blalock, Senior VP And CIO, Southern Co.

If you can't measure it, you can't manage it.
Career Track

Becky Blalock

Becky Blalock
Senior VP and CIO
Southern Co.
How long at current company: 10 years

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: I'm most proud when someone I mentor or who has worked under my leadership gets promoted. Helping others succeed is what I enjoy most about my job

Most important career influencer: Abraham Lincoln. When he was a candidate he used new technology--the telegraph-- and it changed the way people campaigned and communicated with the president. Also, Allen Franklin. When he was CEO of Georgia Power, I served as his assistant. I learned the importance of metrics from him. He used to say, "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it."

Decision I wish I could do over: If I could do my career over, I would take more risk early on. Throughout my 29-year career with the company, I've held 12 jobs in five functional areas. Most of that movement happened in the last 15 years. Before then, I rarely went out on a limb for a job or developmental opportunity.

The next big thing for my business will be ... smart grid technology. A smart electricity grid can closely monitor energy flow and use across a large network. A smart grid could instantly identify outages and could potentially heal itself.

Best advice for future CIOs: They should stay focused on business value and avoid being enamored with the technology. They also should never underestimate the value of proactive communication.

On The Job

IT budget: $330 million

Size of IT team: 1,110 employees

Top three initiatives:

  • Advanced metering infrastructure
  • Information management
  • Development and deployment of enterprise-wide software for work management, financial computing, and inventory

How I measure IT effectiveness: In our IT department, we seek customer ratings on projects. We also evaluate the net present value on projects delivered. We have a monthly IT management report that's comprised of 62 metrics, including goals, financials, project performance, operations performance, and people. Additionally, we participate in a utility IT benchmarking program


Colleges/degrees: Undergraduate degree in business administration from State University of West Georgia; master's degree with honors in business administration from Mercer University

Leisure activity: Reading

Best book read recently: Younger Next Year For Women

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

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