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Premier 100 IT Leader: Judith L. Batenburg

Reorganized IT to embed techies directly with the business

February 25, 2013 06:00 AM ET

Computerworld - When Judith Batenburg started her job at Starz Entertainment six years ago, IT was isolated. Starz's business is broadcasting -- the company provides premium movies and original programming -- not technology, and IT seemed happy to keep its head down and do its own thing. "I thought that was odd," says Batenburg, vice president of IT infrastructure and operations. Over the course of the next few years, Batenburg and her team were able to evolve IT into an organization that was there to serve a business need, not just provide email to people.

Judith Batenburg

She got a chance to make her point in a big way when Starz undertook a multimillion-dollar technology and business process transformation, moving from a traditional broadcast delivery, or "playout," environment that ran on expensive, proprietary and aging tape equipment to an entirely IT-centric digital model.

During that project, one IT engineer in particular evolved as a liaison between the broadcast and tech teams at the Englewood, Colo.-based company, primarily because he had a personal interest in the new technology. The ad hoc arrangement worked so well that Batenburg decided to create an official liaison position, with the title of IT solutions engineer.

"We've made a great opportunity," she says. "Now we want to capitalize and institutionalize it."

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