Premier 100 IT Leader: Kris Herrin

In rolling out large IT projects, communication is key

Since its founding in 1997, Heartland Payment Systems has grown to become the sixth-largest payments processor in the U.S.

Kris Herrin

As a result of its rapid growth and several acquisitions, the Princeton, N.J-based company found itself with a conglomeration of disparate technologies and platforms across nine data centers. Heartland's CTO, Kris Herrin, set his team to the task of consolidating the data centers and modernizing legacy platforms to reduce costs.

After a two-year, multimillion-dollar project, Heartland now runs just three data centers, and it has switched mainframe applications to open systems, brought outsourced functions in-house and partnered with a third-party provider to create a hybrid cloud-based data center that uses a combination of private and public resources.

By eliminating redundant and inefficient processes, the project lowered net operating expenses for one line of business by 48% and for IT overall by 18%. In addition to the hybrid data center, Heartland now has one traditional data center and one colocation facility. Heartland partnered with Fujitsu to create the hybrid facility, using that company's hardware, cloud offerings and newly renovated data center.

While Herrin acknowledges that moving to the cloud "is always a tough conversation," one of this colleagues says his ability to communicate with both the IT and business sides of the house was critical to the success of the project. "He's very good at engaging with the business and helping them see the big picture," says Bryan Thompson, Heartland's chief enterprise architect. "He's good in front of an audience. He's also got a customer service focus."

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