IT's top tier: Strong and steady leadership

These 100 IT visionaries are seizing this rare moment to produce measured growth, embark on innovative pilots and build loyalty in their most valued workers

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Standard Practices, Steady Growth

"When you have an economic downturn, what you've got to do is maintain great business practices," which in turn promotes steady and measured growth, says Council. At New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson, standardization tops the list.

"Standardization truly enables leverage," Council says. It's what has made it possible for the company to reduce the cost of creating Web sites by 50% to 80% while boosting its ability to market new products faster.

"We put in a standard Web support platform and a standard set of world-class tools, but we defined how they would work," Council explains. "In marketing pharmaceuticals, for example, there are a lot of rules which must be followed, and these were built into the tool set." The result: "The cost of producing Web sites is much lower, and the quality of what we can bring up is much better."

UST Global CIO Tony Velleca, 46, has used the economic downturn to develop an enterprisewide business process map and significantly improve what is perhaps UST's most critical business process: hiring and retaining skilled IT professionals. This is especially important as the 6,000-employee IT services company in Aliso Viejo, Calif., prepares to go public in 2010.

"We spent a lot of time with our sourcing and hiring department to understand their problems and examine the span of time it takes to bring someone on board, and we looked for any wasted effort in that process," Velleca explains. By re-engineering the process, his team was able to cut the work involved from 22 days to 13 and shave $2 million from the budget.

So, what's next for these extraordinary business leaders and IT strategists? Virtually all of them say they will maintain a strict focus on business value, innovation and, yes, hard work. But what they see more than anything else is an opportunity to put their teams' hard work and innovation from 2009 to the test in a slowly-but-surely improving economy.

Bring it on.

Next: View the full list of 2010 honorees

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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