2016 Premier 100 Technology Leaders

Meet the 2016 Premier 100

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

Want an inside look at what gets elite IT leaders excited, and what makes them crazy? Here are short profiles of this year’s Premier 100 Technology Leaders, where they answer questions on everything from their boldest predictions about the future of IT to the job responsibility they’d most like to eliminate. Many also discuss their coolest projects, or the initiative that delivered the fastest return on investment.

This year’s honorees represent more than 20 industries and organizations of all sizes, so you’re sure to find a project that piques your interest. Many of these technology executives -- some just starting out, and others well along in their careers -- also identify the title they aspire to someday. Their ideas could help you map out your own IT trajectory.

Jamie C. Adams

Jamie C. Adams

Title
CIO

Employer
The Cliffs

Location
Travelers Rest, S.C.

Coolest project:
We’re working with a third party to launch an online store with access to high-end retail for our members who live off-site. A majority of our customers are second-home buyers who spend 75% of their time in a different city. With an online store, our members could purchase Cliffs logo apparel, wine glasses, wine and other gift items from anywhere.

New titles in your IT organization:
Digital technology manager, senior Web developer

Your vendor management strategy:
To build relationships with multiple providers for IT services and find win-win partnering opportunities that can deliver results in key business areas. Working with a variety of specialized partners results in a better quality of service, lower costs and less risk.

Fastest-ROI project:
CliffsLiving.com was launched in March 2015. Since the launch, we have realized a 152% ROI. The new technology available with CliffsLiving.com enabled us to capture 1,488 total sales leads (a 128% increase) and generated more than 2,500 online interactions within the first nine months after launch.

Titles you aspire to:
CEO, managing partner, venture capitalist

Snehal Antani

Snehal Antani

Title
CTO

Employer
Splunk

Location
San Francisco

Career highlight:
Taking on the CIO role at GE Capital, with the mandate to transform how we execute. This was less about technology, and more about organizational behavior and social engineering. I was lucky to have teams that included dreamers, debaters and executors who helped us drive the business transformation so quickly.

Coolest project:
At Splunk, I’m responsible for running the business analytics and Internet of Things business, which enables me to create products around emerging IoT use cases, like the convergence of IoT and wearables. My first week at Splunk included whiteboarding solutions for insider threat detection with government agencies; connected-vehicle analytics with a global auto manufacturer; fraud detection for a global financial services company; and preventive maintenance algorithms for an industrial manufacturing company. I feel like a kid in a candy store.

A recent innovative staff idea:
My staff came up with an idea to build new business models leveraging IoT data from commercial equipment, effectively applying Zipcar-like business models to forklifts and X-ray machines. We approached the issue as a business problem, rather than just another cool technology.

Boldest, most out-on-a-limb prediction for IT:
The lines between digital and physical are blurring. We have five senses, but research shows that our brains can handle many more inputs. We’ll truly integrate into the world around us by augmenting our senses with additional sensory inputs. So, perhaps the famous sixth sense is ushered in through IT.

Raji Arasu

Raji Arasu

Title
Senior vice president, CTO-Dev

Employer
Intuit (formerly CTO at StubHub, eBay)

Location
Mountain View, Calif.

Career highlight:
Successfully led four replatforming efforts in my technology career.

Emerging technology that has captured your interest:
Wearable technology.

Coolest project:
Capturing clickstream data via Apache Kafka and feeding the information to our engine that recommends live events of interest to specific users.

A recent innovative staff idea:
A unique mechanism to capture social, contextual and location data, and use it to drive interest in live events.

Boldest, most out-on-a-limb prediction for IT:
Experiencing a day on a different planet through virtual reality.

Biggest technology disappointment in the past year:
Wearable tech’s inability to replace the need for my mobile device.

Fastest-ROI project:
Creating a responsive Web design for StubHub using open-source presentation technologies, thus creating increased speed of delivery for the organization while delivering customer value.

Alan R. Arnold

Alan R. Arnold

Title
Executive vice president and CTO

Employer
Vision Solutions Inc.

Location
Irvine, Calif.

Coolest project:
Double-Take Cloud Migration Center. It will change the way the industry moves workloads between environments, addressing the cloud pricing paradox by enabling migration of work environments from one cloud to another with the push of a button -- simplicity at your fingertips.

A recent innovative staff idea:
When you move as much data as Vision Solutions does with its replication technology, speed and accuracy are key. The company’s recent breakthroughs have resulted in some of the fastest technology in the industry, and all thanks to my team.

Boldest, most out-on-a-limb prediction for IT:
There will be a hack so bad that the cloud will lose favor and everyone will go back to secured on-premises systems.

Biggest technology disappointment in the past year:
The lack of standards in cloud has been extremely disappointing.

How do you find time to innovate?
It’s a discipline required of the CTO. If I don’t do it, it won’t get done. I have two vice presidents of engineering who are also technology gurus, and we work closely together and meet often.

David Baker

David Baker

Title
Vice president, IT

Employer
St. Joseph Health

Location
Irvine, Calif.

Career highlights:
Selling my online retail startup in the U.K. before moving to the U.S., and giving back 15 minutes in wasted login time to our 16,000 caregivers.

Coolest project:
We are changing the business of healthcare and how caregivers interact with patients outside the hospital through our physician and patient portals. Ultimately, we will become an IT company that specializes in healthcare.

A recent example of your personal leadership style:
You have to get out on the floor with your customers and understand their pain points and how your business operates, not hide in your office. We follow customers around for days on end and then the fun begins by bringing the best-of-breed technology to bear to solve genuine business problems.

Title you aspire to:
I’d love to be named chief disruption officer. If that won’t fly, I choose chief innovation officer.

Paul F. Baltzell

Paul F. Baltzell

Title
Vice president for technology infrastructure solutions

Employer
Mainstreet (formerly CIO, State of Indiana)

Location
Carmel, Ind.

New titles in your IT organization:
Director of compliance

Skills you will hire for this year:
Data analysts. Mainstreet is launching new business ventures in healthcare operations, insurance and student housing. We believe that data should be leveraged to make decisions during the startup phase, and to run ongoing operations.

Your vendor management strategy:
We identify key strategic partnerships with vendors in a variety of areas. We believe a partnership rather than a vendor-customer relationship brings long-term success to both organizations.

How do you evaluate emerging technologies?
Having a strong technical resource in an architectural role is critical to ensuring that we don’t miss the next wave of technology. That helps us stay ahead of the curve on what is important to help our business.

David J. Banger

David J. Banger

Title
CIO

Employer
John Holland Group

Location
Melbourne, Australia

Boldest, most out-on-a-limb prediction for IT:
The emergence of the Internet of Things and shadow operational technology will exponentially expand career opportunities, while traditional IT will decrease. Some of the most important jobs in the coming years will be things we haven’t thought of yet, and the IT organizations that are best optimized will have best IoT opportunities.

Biggest technology disappointment in the past year:
There is an opportunity for the tech industry as a whole to do more to help the less advantaged. My role as an adjunct professor at Swinburne University is part of giving back, but there needs to be more of this for those who don’t have the same opportunities.

Title you aspire to:
Having left school at 16 and resumed at night school sponsored by my first employer, my goals have always been about gaining experiences and knowledge, not titles. I feel a responsibility to share what I’ve learned with others, while learning new ways to help my company and industry evolve.

Tom L. Barnett

Tom L. Barnett

Title
Vice president, Healthcare IT

Employer
NorthShore University HealthSystem

Location
Evanston, Ill.

Emerging technology that has captured your interest:
Star Trek’s Dr. McCoy used a handheld tricorder to scan and evaluate his patients. Now there’s an XPrize challenge in which seven teams are competing to create a viable handheld diagnostic device. We are watching to see how this develops.

Coolest project:
Adaptive questioning algorithms can resemble the typical questions that a physician asks when diagnosing low acuity ailments. These technologies are quite good, and we are working to bring this level of physician assistance to our patients in the form of an “electronic visit” right from the Web or their smartphones.

How are you using reverse-mentoring to learn from younger generations?
Staying current on which mobile technologies and apps the rising generation is using is vital to staying ahead of the curve in technology. Informal sessions and reverse-mentoring groups are a good way to see what’s working and what isn’t.

Boldest, most out-on-a-limb prediction for IT:
Bitcoin’s blockchain technology will be adapted for use in healthcare. The “block chain” will provide security, auditability and verification of your health record data no matter where it goes or who has it -- making security breaches a thing of the past.

Deepak B. Batheja

Deepak B. Batheja

Title
CTO

Employer
Sutherland Global Services

Location
Rochester, N.Y.

New titles in your IT organization:
We have added exciting new capabilities such as robotics process automation. However, I don’t focus on titles but rather on the impact made by our team.

A recent example of your personal leadership style:
In January 2011, during Egypt’s Arab Spring uprising, our business process outsourcing operations were interrupted, and more importantly, the security of our local staff and several ex-pats was at risk. Within hours, we set up a crisis center: An IT hotline, an HR hotline and a quick-decision center. We connected with worried family members and ensured the safety of our people, and the security of our customers’ data.

Your vendor management strategy:
We have begun to align more toward partners as opposed to vendors. Additionally, we have been consolidating vendors to drive more strategic pricing.

Title you aspire to:
Chief digital officer, a business technologist who owns the responsibility of developing a new line of business as well as transforming existing businesses.

Aditya Bhasin

Aditya Bhasin

Title
CIO, Retail, Preferred and Global Wealth & Investment Management

Employer
Bank of America

Location
Charlotte, N.C.

Emerging technology that has captured your interest:
We’re pursuing capabilities, including biometrics and geolocation, which provide more seamless authentication while protecting customer information, along with analytics to drive personalized solutions. DevOps has great potential: By integrating software development and operations, we reduce time to market, increase productivity and agility, optimize infrastructure, improve self-service and enable rapid innovation.

Your vendor management strategy:
We expect our partners to understand our strategy, match capabilities to client needs, and adhere to our quality and security standards. We continue to invest in programs like our annual Technology Innovation Summit in the Silicon Valley to identify new strategic partnership opportunities with technology startups, major technology companies and financial investors alike.

How do you find time to innovate?
We create time to innovate together, and we focus on innovating in our daily work. Innovation must never be stovepiped -- thinking about it only when you have time or separating it from your job. We focus on engagement, with teammates and partners across the industry, to innovate to improve the customer experience.

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