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CIO Values: Raj Rawal, Senior VP And CIO, Burger King

The availability of [IT] people who can understand and deliver on business needs will be the most important thing.
Career Track

RAJ RAWAL

RAJ RAWAL
Senior VP and CIO, Burger King
How long at current company: Three years

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: Leading the migration of the Budget Rent A Car business after it was acquired into Avis' systems. Consolidating the Budget business into the Avis systems saved capital and tightly integrated the businesses to leverage people, processes, and assets. All of this was done smoothly and quickly due to the great IT team and terrific business support.

Most important career influencer: Bob Mason, a former CIO at GE Lighting. Bob took a great deal of ownership in his organization and his people. He taught me to be detailed-oriented, thoughtful, have a long-term view, and always respect people along the way.

Decision I wish I could do over: I've been fortunate to have had significant luck and success along the way. While I don't have regrets over any major decisions, sometimes I wish I was even faster in making those decisions as well as mobilizing and pushing the organization.

On The Job
Size of IT team: 85 in the United States, plus 25 professionals across the globe. We outsource software support and development, data center operations, help desk, and repairing machinery at the Miami world headquarters.

Top three initiatives:

  • Global data warehouse
  • Supplier and specification management system
  • New point-of-sale system

How I measure IT effectiveness: By ensuring alignment in projects, meeting commitments, and making sure that we do an effective job. We gauge our success through an annual survey as well as executive team feedback through a steering committee.

Key tech partners: ACS (Affiliated Computer Services), MindTree, and SAP

Vision
The next big thing for my industry will be ... the open source movement. Expect this to be a tidal wave in terms of options for IT teams and empowerment for users. I've already seen examples of capability, speed, cost-effectiveness, and quality that can't be matched with the historical approach.

Best advice for future CIOs: In addition to the advances in technology, the availability of people who can understand and deliver on business needs will be the most important thing. Always take a long-term view of the organization. We must build our leadership team while delivering on projects.

Personal
Colleges and degrees: University of Connecticut, BS in engineering with major in computer science; Case Western Reserve University, MS in operations research

Leisure activity: Playing with my 9-month-old twins

Book read recently: The Next Level, by Scott Eblin

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