CIO Values: Don Campbell, CTO Of Cognos

Think ahead, Campbell advises. "Look at your infrastructure for more than today's needs."
Career Track

Don Campbell, CTO Cognos

Don Campbell
CTO, Cognos
How long at current company: 21 years

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of:: The creation of the Cognos Visualizer, a data visualization tool that taught me how to innovate within an organization. It had many challenges but has been a successful product that is still part of our portfolio. It essentially launched my career and led to personal recognition both internally and industry-wide.

Most important career influencer: Former Cognos chairman and CEO Ron Zambonini, because of his passion and ability to lead with both strength and humor.

Decision I wish I could do over: Making mistakes fosters change and innovation so I wouldn't do anything over. I like to make mistakes because if I'm not making them, I'm not pushing the envelope or challenging myself enough as an innovator.

The next big thing for my business will be ... the consumerization of IT--getting consumer technologies into the hands of the enterprise worker to solve information challenges. This includes areas from BI search to mobile devices to mashups.

Advice For future CIOs: Look at your infrastructure for more than today's needs. There's a desire to manage business budgets so that we think more tactically. If we have an infrastructure that's more flexible and extendable, we'll be able to innovate efficiently in the future.

On The Job

Size of IT team: 70, but it's part of the entire R&D community within Cognos of more than 1,000

Top three initiatives:

  • Get technology to more business users at customer organizations
  • Continue to deliver technology that's easy for the IT org to support and maintain
  • Have the ability for technology to be deployed and effective immediately, providing support to organizations on how to do this via competency centers and proven methodologies

How the company measures effectiveness: In terms of innovation, we measure new product revenue as one measure of success. We also measure patents filed, as well as the contribution of ideas and experiments in our labs.


Colleges/degrees: Carleton University, Ottawa; bachelor of computer science

Last vacation: Metro Toronto Zoo

Best book read recently: Photoshop CS3 For Digital Photographers

Favorite leisure activities: Ice hockey, golf, photography

If I weren't a CTO, I'd be ... a motivational speaker

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