James A. Goetz
CIO and General Manager of Global Technology Solutions, Convergys
How long at Convergys: Four years at this provider of customer management and information management products.
Most important career influencer: Sam Palmisano, the chairman of IBM. The way he made quick customer-focused decisions because he actually talked to customers and could judge what made the most sense for everyone made a big impression on me.
Decision I wish I could do over: At one point in my career, I began two startups. But I would have been better off just applying that inventiveness at the company that employed me, building on relationships I already had. Being independent has serious downsides as well as upsides. Creativity can and should be applied in any IT job. I did, however, learn to use startup approaches within large companies.
On The Job
Size of IT team: About 1,600
How I measure IT effectiveness: We do this in two ways. First, by paying close attention to adding value through tech projects. Each of our initiatives has metrics, including net present value and ROI. Second, we focus on service. We use a balanced scorecard that includes service levels; external and internal customer service metrics; employee development and retention metrics; and expense, revenue, and capital expenditure commitments.
Lessons learned from the recession: Relearning that productivity must be improved every year. Cost reduction is a permanent challenge.
What the federal government's top tech priority should be: Reduce the patent bureaucracy. We're spending way too much time and money trying to get patents and protect ourselves from patent trolls.
One thing I'm looking to do better: We need to further simplify the user interface for our professionals.
Degrees: Wheaton College, BA in math and economics; University of Chicago, MBA in finance
Business leader I'd like to have lunch with: John Chambers of Cisco--just a really fun person to listen to
Biggest business-related pet peeve: Lack of accountability
If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... a software company leader (I just love software!)