Clif Triplett, CIO, Baker Hughes

When Clif Triplett was hired on as Baker Hughes Inc.'s first CIO last year, the West Point graduate and former nuclear command-and-control systems operator drew on his military experience to manage IT at the oil field consulting business. "In the army, you're clued in to the importance of teamwork to accomplish the mission," he says.

Over the past year, Triplett, 51, coached his IT team to commence a major upgrade of an SAP ERP system, begin the rollout of a unified global SAP implementation, and create a standardized and more effective version of the Baker Expert Advisory Center Operations Network (BEACON), a remote operations system for managing drilling rigs. The team also had to sell management on the deployment of a business process management system as a way to improve productivity.

BEACON, used by Baker Hughes' oil company customers, is now considered a competitive advantage. "[Clif] made the investment even in very tough times and won accolades for that," says Jim Heaton, senior director of architecture and compliance at Houston-based Baker Hughes.

Triplett sets the bar high, says Heaton, but he also leads by example. "He'll turn things around himself and follow the advice he's giving faithfully," says Heaton. He calls Triplett a "Renaissance man" because he is as comfortable discussing technical details with the chief software architect of any major technology vendor as he is discussing intricate business issues with a CEO. "There aren't many like him," says Heaton.

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