Sanjay Kumar

Age: 40

Claim to fame: Credited by customers with improving customer relationships and introducing more flexible software licensing policies in various leadership roles at Computer Associates International Inc.

What he's doing now: Named president and CEO of Islandia, N.Y.-based CA in August 2000

For a company that has grown primarily through acquisitions, one of Computer Associates' savviest plays was picking up Sanjay Kumar in 1987, then director of software development at UCCEL Corp.

Kumar's business acumen helped him quickly zoom through the ranks at CA to become the company's No. 2 executive in 1994, at the relatively tender age of 31. But it's Kumar's keen vision of how technological developments will affect businesses that has helped him steer the 26-year-old software giant beyond its traditional mainframe software roots and into global services and other high-growth areas.

Sanjay Kumar, president and CEO of CA
Sanjay Kumar, president and CEO of CA
Kumar predicts that wireless computing will be the next technological advance that alters the business landscape. "Many things that we've done [in computing], other than the cell phone, have been tethered," he says. Wireless standards such as 802.11b and Bluetooth "will untether the world" and allow businesses to send information instantaneously to customers, Kumar says.

He says he expects miniaturization to have the greatest effect on our day-to-day lives in the future.

"When the cell phone first came out, they were either installed in the car or came in this big camera bag," says Kumar. "Now we measure them in ounces." To that end, the proliferation of Pocket PCs and other small but increasingly powerful devices will make it easier for people to communicate and share information with one another, he adds.

Kumar predicts that within the next decade, most IT units will act as "specialty shops" that build applications unique to their businesses but will no longer develop software like human resource systems that can be bought from a third party. "Ten years from now, no one will have a homegrown manufacturing logistics or HR package" in place, he says.

Kumar also predicts that technology will help corporate employees become even more productive. "We're in a cycle where technology is helping people but creating a [productivity] wake," he says. "There'll be a big swing in the next five years to get that productivity to an all-time high."

Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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