IT on the fly: The art of quickly building, then dismantling

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These CIOs know how to set up IT operations quickly and take them down just as fast. Here's what you can learn from people who work on the fly.

Keith Robertory was staring down a project of epic proportions.

Last fall, as the East Coast prepared for Hurricane Sandy to strike, Robertory was planning to create and run an entire IT shop. He'd have only hours to organize staff and get systems running.

He just needed to know where to go.

Robertory heads the disaster services technology group at the American Red Cross. It's his job to make sure Red Cross aid workers have the on-site technology they need to do their jobs, even when a hurricane takes out everything else.

"When most people go to an IT person and talk about disaster, they're picking up servers and running away. We're doing just the opposite. We're taking equipment into the disasters where infrastructure is the worst," he says.

Robertory has an unusual talent in a profession whose practitioners often talk about multiyear deployments: He can build and dismantle an entire IT department on the fly.

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