Anthony L. Abbattista, vice president, technology solutions, Allstate Insurance Co.

"Explosive." That's how senior vice president and CIO Cathy Brune describes the impact Anthony Abbattista has had over the past five years at Allstate Insurance. After more than 18 years in consulting, Abbattista, 44, came to Allstate with great ideas and a vision for implementing them. "What he's learned here is how to deliver. He knows how to listen and [exert] influence inside a company," says Brune.

In his short time there, Abbattista has overseen the consolidation of 14 data warehouses to two -- a move that cut IT support staff needs by two-thirds. With a team of more than 1,400, he instituted a standardized set of user self-service business intelligence tools that cleared up a long request backlog. And the team is now pursuing new tools for data visualization and deep mining of that data. The $95 million project is saving Allstate $30 million a year.

The data warehouse effort had been tried before, says Brune. "There was trepidation about the whole thing," she says. "It really took his personal influence and tenacity to get that done."

Abbattista had to adjust to the idea that when you're a staffer rather than a consultant, you have to earn trust and learn how to exert influence. So he looked for opportunities to help. "Realizing when people need help and offering it in a way that's attractive, that's win-win," he says.

Brune says Abbattista is one of the few individuals who combines an in-depth understanding of IT architecture with a canny ability to align that knowledge with the company's business strategy -- and sell his vision to the business. "He is definitely one of the best out there," she says.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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