Get to know the Premier 100 Class of 2017

The annual Computerworld Premier 100 awards shine a spotlight on individuals who have had a positive impact on their organization through technology.

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Creighton Warren

Creighton Warren

Title
CIO

Employer
USG

Location
Chicago

How has your vendor management strategy changed in the past few years?
Given our company’s investment portfolio, we intentionally leverage a mix of established large or midsize vendors, boutique vendors and startups or near-startups. Different management approaches are necessary for each. For large, established vendors, we employ proven, established best practices for contract adherence, service-level agreements and quarterly business reviews to align business plans and road maps. For our true vendor partners, we establish executive-level relationships and meet regularly. For our smaller vendors, we dive into their operations a little more. We want their agility and focused knowledge, but at the same time, we need to manage it in a manner that will not put our operations at undue risk.

How do you evaluate emerging technologies?
USG has a long history of innovation. Our mature enterprise architecture discipline canvasses the market and populates a framework based on technologies’ applicability to our company. In recent years, those activities have directly and indirectly led to operational investments in targeted analytics and cloud capabilities. We have also incorporated them into our innovation efforts. Recently, we conducted an internal Shark Tank-style competition, in which the winning team developed a proof of concept system around price optimization for our distribution business and leveraged a mix of established and emerging technologies. The concept was so well received that a pilot deployment was fully funded and subsequently executed.

How have you created work/life balance?
Our employees work hard, but we recognize that they need to make time for themselves and their families. Therefore, our senior management leaders encourage flexible schedules and other initiatives that create an environment that gives people a chance to be more present for their families. It’s a way of life that’s important to our company.

Florian Wegener

Florian Wegener

Title
Formerly vice president and head of global e-commerce

Employer
Qiagen

Location
Hilden, Germany

Boldest prediction for the next 5 years:
Quantum computing will revolutionize the use of the massive amount of data in an internet of things (IoT) world where everything is connected.

Tommy Whitten

Tommy Whitten

Title
District technology coordinator

Employer
Madison County Schools

Location
Huntsville, Ala.

Career highlight:
I was asked to serve on the Governor’s Task Force on Distance Learning in Alabama. Over two years, the task force developed a statewide program that now serves approximately 40,000 students and is known nationally as one of the most successful of its kind.

Boldest prediction for the next 5 years:
I see the local data center going away, with a transition toward more cloud-based storage and processing. This will cut costs by reducing the need for continual equipment upgrades and software updates at the local level. Data protection and security will also be offloaded from the local technical staff, along with tasks relating to data backups, disaster recovery and business continuity.

Personal leadership style?
I place a strong emphasis on teamwork, and I try to satisfy my team members’ need to be involved and committed to their work. I prefer to be friendly and approachable, and I treat subordinates as equals and give them respect for their contributions. I do, however, actively challenge team members to work at their highest level.

What’s the most important task you’ve delegated this year?
We have built a new building to centralize all our servers and house our data center. The move from the old location was a very complex task that had to be completed over one weekend. I delegated the task to our senior network specialist, who did a wonderful job of planning and supervising the move.

Judd Williams

Judd Williams

Title
CIO

Employer
National Collegiate Athletic Association

Location
Indianapolis

Career highlight:
Our IT department had the highest scores across NCAA headquarters when an outside firm was hired to conduct a culture survey covering areas such as credibility, trust, fairness and respect.

Boldest prediction for the next 5 years:
There will be no more laptops. Phones will become a user’s primary machine, and docking stations for phones that connect to monitors, mice and keyboards will be the norm.

Biggest tech disappointment?
Hybrid laptop/tablet machines. The products are close, but they’re still missing a few things.

Your spare time?
I have three kids under the age of 3, two of whom are identical twins. What spare time?

Richard A. Wilson

Richard A. Wilson

Title
Colonel, U.S. Army; chief, solution delivery

Employer
Defense Health Agency

Location
Falls Church, Va.

Career highlight:
Leading this organization and reshaping they way we deliver technology, tools and information. We can directly help and even save the lives of our service members and their families through advanced solutions. It is an honor serving the people who give up so much to protect us and our country.

Coolest current project:
Patient engagement tools and Tri-Service Workflow template management system used throughout the military health system by providers, nurses and clinical support staff, mainly in primary-care settings.

Personal leadership style?
Participative and transformational.

Lisa M. Woodley

Lisa M. Woodley

Title
Vice president, digital experience

Employer
NTT Data

Location
New York

What emerging tech has captured your interest?
The potential to combine A.I., IoT and wearables to create ecosystems of interactions that can sense and respond in a way that eliminates the need for any actual interface. I’m working now within our insurance and healthcare verticals to identify future use cases that could revolutionize industries like life insurance and elder care.

How are you using reverse-mentoring?
I teach a graduate UX design class at Rutgers University. Each semester, students bring new ideas and ways of working to the class. I regularly update my curriculum and bring some of the ideas back to my team to help innovate how we work and engage our colleagues.

How do you evaluate emerging technologies?
I consider the complexity of the emerging tech vis-a-vis the magnitude of the problem it has the potential to solve. An interesting new technology can quickly become an expensive novelty if it doesn’t actually solve a business problem or is too difficult to implement.

How do you find time to innovate?
Lasting and viable innovation solves problems. It eliminates unnecessary steps. It creates new ways of working that allow us to automate the mundane and focus on the strategic. So the real question is, “How do you find time if you don’t innovate?”

Read Woodley's full profile.

Naoto Yamamoto

Naoto Yamamoto

Title
Chief, business solutions

Employer
United Nations Development Programme

Location
New York

Coolest current project:
Building early-warning systems by detecting signals of global crisis (natural disasters, armed conflicts and political tensions, for example).

An innovative staff idea:
Use of shipping containers equipped with communication and network tools powered by solar energy. This allows us to directly interact with project beneficiaries in remote locations of the globe and encourage grassroots participation in our projects.

Boldest prediction for the next 5 years:
Costly government surveys (for example, the living standard survey) will be replaced by IoT, social media and satellite image analytics.

How do you evaluate emerging technologies?
By talking with peers from other organizations, and rapid prototyping.

How have you adjusted your risk management strategy to align with the evolving technology landscape?
We have increased our use of data and analytics rather than solely relying on rigid technical control to execute inflexible rules.

Michael E. Young

Michael E. Young

Title
Chief product security officer

Employer
Esri

Location
Redlands, Calif.

Coolest current project:
We are testing the limits of embedding security validation as early as possible in the development life cycle. We are working with a security vendor on a not-yet-released offering that embeds security validation into the integrated development environment, providing on-the-fly static analysis feedback for developers.

Skills you’ll hire for:
Software security engineers. These professionals have a core competency of development, but also have a strong security foundation. I welcome new hires for their fresh perspectives, but I also encourage existing staffers to take on new roles, because helping people grow their careers is very fulfilling.

Fast ROI project:
With our CEO’s backing, I was honored to lead my team in creating the most secure offering available from Esri. In less than one year after its release, we shifted to a positive ROI and now host numerous commercial organizations and federal agencies.

How have you adjusted your risk management strategy to align with the evolving technology landscape?
As cloud-based web services and cybersecurity risks continue to grow exponentially throughout enterprise operations, the importance of third-party/vendor risk management has continued to mature at Esri. For example, we now use tools to validate software components acquired from other organizations for both vulnerabilities and licensing issues.

Michael K. Yzerman

Michael K. Yzerman

Title
Vice president and deputy CIO

Employer
Community Health Systems

Location
Franklin, Tenn.

Career highlight:
I hold a master’s degree in social work and worked for a number of years in child protective services. During that time, I became interested in IT and obtained a healthcare IT position. I use this background to work more effectively with people, lead teams and improve organizational effectiveness.

New titles in your IT organization:
Customer resolution center representative was recently added to reflect our organization’s customer-centered and results-focused IT service management approach, which integrates the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework and customer relationship management best practices.

Personal leadership style?
Delivering organizational results by sharing power and encouraging, supporting and enabling others to realize their full potential. This leadership style has been described as servant leadership.

What’s the most important task you’ve delegated this year?
Primary management accountability for hospital information systems conversions — general financial, patient financial and clinical systems — were delegated to a senior director within my organization. System conversion is the management of large-scale, complex projects that carry substantial financial and operational risks.

How has your vendor management strategy changed in the past few years?
Vendor management has moved from individual contractor engagements focused primarily on staff augmentation to more comprehensive service agreements to reduce administrative costs, consolidate services and share risk.

Sigal Zarmi

Sigal Zarmi

Title
Global CIO

Employer
PwC

Location
New York

What emerging tech has captured your interest?
Artificial intelligence. We’ve launched Halo Data Auditing, our globally branded data extraction, visualization and auditing platform. It’s designed to enhance our risk assessment process and execute automated testing and data validation.

Coolest current project:
Our investments in cloud technology (including collaboration, customer relationship management, talent management, engagement and financial management), data analytics and the DevOps model will enable us to save time and deliver more value for our clients.

How are you using reverse-mentoring?
In the U.K., employees from the business and technology teams at junior or middle level are coaching other colleagues and senior leaders on social media. Almost 6,000 people have been trained in social media skills — 30% of PwC’s U.K. workforce.

Boldest prediction for the next 5 years:
The car is the next big market for IT, on scale with the smartphone. The car will be a place for business, a cash-generating asset for consumers, and a hotbed of A.I.

Skills you’ll hire for:
Our new DevOps model will require a more hands-on, in-house approach, combining business and technology specialists working together in small focused teams and automation (where possible). We will be recruiting more business solution architects, developers, automation experts, user interface designers and A.I. experts.

Related:

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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