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Premier 100 IT Leader: Derald Sue

A customer-service focus turns the business side into IT believers.

February 24, 2014 06:30 AM ET

Computerworld - In his seven years at InsideTrack, CIO Derald P. Sue has led two IT transformations.

The first occurred upon his arrival at the San Francisco-based education company that helps colleges retain and graduate students. At that time, he built centralized IT systems, governance and policies from the ground up.

Derald P. Sue

The second came two years ago, when business units fell in love with software as a service and other do-it-yourself capabilities and began cutting IT out of their plans. "There was a belief that IT was too slow to change and implement things, and users got frustrated," Sue explains. He realized that if the IT department didn't provide a high level of customer service, it would end up completely out of the loop.

First, he took several people from the business side and assigned them to the IT department and trained them. Then he retrained or replaced IT staffers who weren't suited for the new customer-service focus. Next, he focused on finding systems that met the business units' needs quickly. Finally, he shifted away from measuring transactions, such as time-to-resolution and fulfillment of the terms of service-level agreements, and toward measuring business outcomes.

"Our ability to be productive and meet the business needs increased dramatically," says Sue, 37.

"He can break things down and get right to the bottom line in a way that will resonate with the person he's talking to," says Joanna Gummery, director of business systems. "He's very much a leader by example."

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Collett is a Computerworld contributing writer. You can contact her at stcollett@comcast.net.

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