Inside the Top Five: No. 3: The Capital Group

It's all about teamwork at this investment management firm, where IT workers are found in every facet of the business.

It's late afternoon, and IT workers are poised on the trading room floor of The Capital Group Cos., ready to assist brokers scrambling to close deals. This scenario highlights the company's determination to keep technology workers energized and tightly aligned with key business units.

Of the many IT staffers working the trading floor, some are junior associates. Top IT executives at this Los Angeles-based investment management company often place newly plucked university recruits alongside seasoned brokers.

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Following its philosophy, Capital Group shuns top-down management and grooms technical staffers for a variety of positions throughout the organization and around the world. These and other strategies have landed this newcomer in the coveted third spot on Computerworld 's Best Places to Work in IT list.

"We've developed an approach that lets our employees work in collaboration, rather than adhering to rigid hierarchies," says Capital Group President Larry Clemmensen. "This has resulted in strong relationships between IT and our business users." A snapshot of a typical day here backs him up.

6:30 a.m.: IT executives arrive early and jump on conference calls with their counterparts across the Atlantic. "The early-morning hours are for operational, project and strategic meetings that involve Europe," explains Debra Lubeski, director of U.S. investment technology and support.

Infrastructure architecture groups also get in early to brainstorm with European end users on products and services available from the company's scattered technology labs and application offices. Capital Group's labs have spawned tools such as customized BlackBerry devices and laptops outfitted to meet coverage and application needs unique to Europe.

"We spend a lot of time on mobile devices," says Dan Rourke, senior IT manager responsible for Capital Group's technology infrastructure.

8:30 a.m.: Throughout the morning, it's "meetings, meetings, meetings" for Vicki Lederman, an IT group vice president. "We interact with business users, with peers and others in IT," she says.

WHY THEY'RE TOPS
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Ranked No. 4 for diversity
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Ranked No. 4 for training
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Offer 12 days of training per year for each IT worker
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52% of the IT staffers are minorities
These meetings take place up and down the ranks. For instance, the six officials charged with Capital Group's major IT divisions gather regularly with Clemmensen to tighten bonds between technical projects and business operations. "I have daily conversations with this group of six," he notes.

11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Now that the business day in Europe is over, IT managers set their sights inward. "Midday is usually focused on the U.S. team and one-on-one meetings," says Lubeski.

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