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CIO Values: Bill Santille, CIO, Uline

Work directly with leadership to influence and control business plans that require IT investments.

Career Track

Bill Santille, CIO, Uline

Bill Santille
CIO, Uline
How long at current company: Five months

Career accomplishment you're most proud of: Reengineering the North American IT system and network infrastructure for ABN Amro, a two-year, multimillion-dollar project. We replaced all of the legacy networks, servers, and client PCs to support a new branch applications platform.

Most important career influencer: A former manager at ABN Amro, senior VP of finance Darryl Baltimore, who allowed me to work on the business side of the organization for long enough to get a better understanding of our issues and customer needs. He allowed me to not only learn the business but also gave me a different perspective as a client of IT services.

Decision you wish you could do over again: I wish I would have obtained my law degree, as many of today's technology issues are legal, such as software licensing, patent infringement, data privacy, security/risk, net neutrality, piracy of information in other countries, etc., etc.--the list goes on.

On The Job

IT budget: Approximately $30 million

Size of IT team: 110

Three top initiatives for current year:

  • A new Canadian logistics system including application, database, and all associated billing and technology infrastructure.
  • Rewrite entire sales/ customer service application by replacing green-screen application with Java. This multimillion-dollar effort is phase one of a complete rewrite of our entire logistics platform that currently runs on multiple AS/400 systems.
  • Replace current Web-based front end for Internet transactions with Microsoft .Net code. The existing platform is written in ColdFusion. Approximately 40% of the business today comes from our Internet-based transactions, and this is growing rapidly.

Vision
The next big thing for my business will be ... consolidation, as economy of scale through size is critical to reduce transaction costs and increase competitive advantage.

Best piece of advice for future CIOs: Work directly with business leadership to develop annual and quarterly business plans in order to influence decisions that require IT investments and set expectations on the capabilities of your IT organization. Otherwise you'll have no ability to control the outcomes of decisions for which you must produce results.

Personal
Colleges/degrees: Bachelor's degree in business administration from Illinois State University; MBA from Illinois Institute of Technology; attended executive programs at Stanford and DePaul

Leisure activity: Running

Best book read recently: At The Center Of The Storm, George Tenet

Last vacation: Cancun over the holidays