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CIO Innovator profiles: Industry groundbreakers, great IT leaders

The CIO Innovator profile series: Meet the IT execs who are changing how business gets done.


SearchCIO's award-winning CIO Innovator series debuted in 2011. Looking back, we're still blown away by our inaugural class of innovators. These CIOs were exploring the cost-saving potential of the public cloud, building private clouds, figuring out how to accommodate Apple's iOS devices, and architecting platforms for social collaboration.

Amid all the experimentation, CIO core responsibilities remained: Did employees have the tools required to do their jobs? Were IT systems helping the company cut costs, boost efficiencies and make money? Was the company investing in IT that would beat out the competition and delight customers? And if something did happen to the ever-increasing volume of data generated by the business, CIOs were prepared to fall on their swords, correct?

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Fast-forward to today, and the pace of change has, if anything, accelerated. The promise of IT systems is even more mind-blowing. And the job of CIO innovator remains a high-wire act of enabling the business without jeopardizing IT security.

In this CIO Innovator Essential Guide, see what your peers are doing in mobile, cloud, big data, business agility and social collaboration. Read about their leadership philosophies. Feel free to dip back into our archives -- and enjoy!

--Linda Tucci, executive editor, SearchCIO

Editor's note: Want more? Make sure to check out our past coverage of innovative CIOs and IT leaders. If you know a CIO we should feature here, let us know.

1CIO leadership and IT strategy-

CIOs: IT leaders at the right hand of business

What's required to be a leader at a large company, where there is no shortage of big egos, competitive pressures and performance goals? It won't happen by taking cover in the data center. These CIO Innovators have excelled as IT leaders by being able to communicate an IT vision across business lines. Meet the fast learners, excellent communicators, risk takers, team players, rainmakers and passionate technologists who are using IT to drive business success.


Allstate tech exec: How to become an IT leader

Allstate's senior vice president of technology and operations worked her way up from programmer to the C-suite by learning new skills, anticipating business needs and figuring out how to communicate a vision. Continue Reading


Three smart CIOs who made generating revenue part of IT's business

Aligning IT with business goals is a big part of the CIO leader's job. These three CIO Innovators upped the ante by focusing on the bottom line. Continue Reading


United Nations CIO wrestles with risk and delivers transformation

The United Nations' CIO has learned over the years that driving business transformation requires more than a vision for success. CIOs must be willing to take risks. Continue Reading


Marriott CIO visionary: Secret to IT success is teamwork

CIO Carl Wilson revolutionized the hotel industry back in the day. Here's his advice for keeping the IT revolution alive. Continue Reading


The path to CIO glory is not always paved by cost-cutting

A former CIO employed by some of the world's biggest companies says that if he had to do it over again, business outcomes, not IT cost, would be his chief focus. Continue Reading


Top banking execs tackle monster M&A and live to talk about it

In the merger of giants Wells Fargo and Wachovia, two IT leaders pass the test with flying colors. Continue Reading

2Big data and analytics -

The big data enterprise has arrived

Big data's bigness is enough to give any IT leader pause. Add data velocity and variety to the mix, and the task of deriving business value from big data becomes daunting indeed. These CIO Innovators are taking on the petabytes bit by bit, from figuring out the right infrastructure to applying the right analytics to aggressively recruiting data scientists. Their work hasn't been easy, but the results are starting to change how business gets done, from healthcare to farming to the NFL.


Penn Medicine makes a name for itself in big data infrastructure, analytics

How do you change medical care with big data? At Penn Medicine, it takes a dynamic IT duo and a governing body willing to bust up internal silos for the benefit of the patient. Continue Reading


Analytics will save lives, if hospital personnel can stand the pain

Penn Medicine IT leaders are successfully using data analytics to measure the quality of care; now, it's a matter of getting the medical establishment to pay heed. Continue Reading


Land O' Lakes CIO gets down and dirty with big data to improve crop yields

To really help farmers grow better crops, Land O' Lakes realized it needed to combine its own high-quality data with outside data that contained errors. Read what dirty data did for growers. Continue Reading


AT&T CIO sees a path to innovation through big data -- and takes it

AT&T CIO Thaddeus Arroyo early on recognized the power of big data to foster innovation. Then he built an ecosystem to make it happen. Continue Reading


Miami Dolphins score big with data analytics

The Miami Dolphins needed to maximize the value of the team's stadium and deliver a better fan experience. So CTO Tery Howard came up with a whole new data analytics game plan to make it happen. Continue Reading

3Mobile transformation-

Turn mobile into a competitive advantage

Mobile computing and digitization can help drive efficiencies, boost productivity, improve customer service and foster new products, but CIOs need to bring their A-game to make it happen. That means employing suitable tactics for managing their employees' penchant for bring your own everything. It also means a great IT architecture strategy for integrating mobile devices and apps with legacy systems. And that's just for starters. Throw in the Internet of Things, and the job of protecting and leveraging the digital enterprise becomes enormous. Read how these intrepid CIOs are taking it on.


The connected car: A lemon or a lift for the insurance industry?

An insurance company CIO meets the threat of the connected car head-on and maps a way forward for his company. Continue Reading


Dell CIO is a heavy user of SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, cloud)

Dell CIO Andi Karaboutis is intent on turning social, mobile, analytics and cloud computing into a competitive advantage for Dell. Here, she talks some SMAC. Continue Reading


Guess CIO designs an iPad analytics app for the company's fashionistas

Mobile business innovation can come from all sorts of places. Michael Relich, now COO at Guess, was on the French Riviera when he had a vision for using the iPad and data analytics to transform a core business process. Continue Reading


The iPad gets some serious love from CIOs

CIOs were caught off guard when the iPhone invaded the enterprise. With their iPads, they are the ones leading the charge. Continue Reading


A CIO rethinks the desktop and becomes a mobile pioneer

CUNA Mutual's Rick Roy took a nightmarish Windows 7 upgrade and turned it into a game plan for a more mobile, agile workforce. Continue Reading

4Social media and collaboration-

Social networking, collaboration and the power of the collective IQ

From your teenager's personal pastime to a marketing tool for the Fortune 1,000 to a rich source of business intelligence, social media has come a long way since Mark Zuckerberg invented Facebook. How exactly CIOs incorporate the ease and nimbleness of these social communication tools into the established business processes of today's highly regulated companies, however, is not so cut-and-dried. Here are the IT and business leaders who have figured out how to think outside the box.


CIO builds a social collaboration platform that has GE employees abuzz

GE CIO Ron Utterbeck got hundreds of thousands of GE skeptics to sign on to a corporate-wide social collaboration platform. Here's how. Continue Reading


New collaboration software could lead to breakthroughs on environmental issues

In this SearchCIO video, EPA CIO Malcolm Jackson talks about his duty as IT leader to find new technology to solve big environmental problems. Continue Reading


For Guardian Life CIO, social collaboration is more about people than tools

The IT culture at Guardian Life was plagued by mistrust, hidden agendas, blame, public criticism, a lack of transparency and role confusion. Then CIO Frank Wander came along. Continue Reading


How a highly regulated industry makes social collaboration work

Vanguard's Abha Kumar knew that social collaboration reinforced the company's mission. But she had to find a way to leverage social networking without running afoul of the law. Continue Reading


SAS CIO: Collaboration breeds business innovation

CIOs who act as technology brokers rather than IT owners have the best chance of delivering on innovation, says SAS Institute CIO Keith Collins. Here's how to get the mindset. Continue Reading

5Cloud computing-

CIOs rise to the challenge of cloud

The scalability, flexibility and cost structure of cloud computing has changed how enterprises operate, how employees work and the role of corporate IT. A paradigm shift as big as this one, however, doesn't happen overnight, at least not at companies in which legacy systems represent millions of dollars of investment and decades of use. Cloud benefits must be carefully weighed against a long list of risks -- from the loss of valuable data to privacy issues to the prospect of irate customers if the cloud service goes down. Here are the blueprints-in-progress, from some of IT's best CIOs, for employing all manners of cloud.


The Sunshine State's University of Miami brings on the cloud

U of Miami's Brad Rohrer explains how he and CIO Steve Crawley used cloud computing to centralize and streamline IT operations across the university's many campuses. Continue Reading


Celtics VP of IT is using the cloud to fix email and win games

Jay Wessland loves the cloud for email, but the Boston Celtics VP of IT is also using cloud to help his team win. Among the innovations? A game-day video service for players and a SaaS app that helps coaches analyze the game on the fly. Continue Reading


A private cloud at State Street

In this SearchCIO podcast, State Street CIO Chris Perretta elucidates the many benefits that building a private cloud has brought to the bank. Don't ask him to disclose its location, though. Continue Reading


Project management for a major cloud migration

Project management and a clear-eyed view of his IT team's strengths and weaknesses allowed U of Nebraska CIO Walter Weir to pull off a major cloud migration. Continue Reading


Cloud migration a test of CIO leadership at Lands' End

Convincing Lands' End execs and employees to move a core business system to the cloud required CIO Steve Cretney to marshal all his people skills. Continue Reading


Wellesley College CIO teaches a campus how to go green

Going paperless on a college campus is bound to ruffle feathers, but that hasn't stopped CIO Ravi Ravishanker from teaching colleagues and students how to go green. Continue Reading

6Agile transformers-

How to meet customer demands with alacrity

IT demands will exceed IT resources -- that's axiomatic. The business' increasing need for speedy technology solutions, however, means that the tried-and-true coping mechanisms CIOs have used to manage that demand -- from project management offices to outsourcing -- no longer hold. Enter the agile transformers: CIOs who are using formal Agile methodology and new agile methods to deliver timely and innovative IT to their internal customers and to the customers of their businesses.


Moving at the speed of business with shared services

CTO/CIO Bart Murphy has rendered rogue IT moot by developing a shared services model that delivers IT at the speed of business. Continue Reading


'Healthy' vs. 'unhealthy' rogue IT

IT consultancy CEB offers a handy template for encouraging 'healthy' rogue IT. Continue Reading


Bally CIO brings mobile, social and CRM to the gym

Bally Total Fitness CIO Guy Their is using consumer, mobile and social technologies to get customer service into shape. Continue Reading


Owens Corning CIO: IT only has value if it touches the customer

For Owens Corning CIO David Johns, shared services means 'low-cost, high-value delivery' of IT that is custom-made for business needs. Continue Reading


TopGolf CIO is a master at delivering cutting-edge IT

At TopGolf, CIO Tom LaPlante insists that cutting-edge technology innovation is anybody's (and everybody's) game. Continue Reading


Is there an IT anthropologist in the house?

At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, CIO William Wray makes his IT team closely observe how employees work and what technology they need to do their jobs better. Continue Reading


GE's Sigal Zarmi insists on pleasing two masters

The CIO of GE Capital Americas makes herself accountable for delivering IT that improves the lives of GE employees and customers. Continue Reading


Dell CIO gives a master class on how to galvanize your IT staff for business results

Dell CIO Andi Karaboutis is one of those IT leaders who likes to be in on all the business action. First, she had to whip her IT team into shape. Continue Reading


Who says ITSM is dead? Here's one IT leader's revved-up version

The torrid pace of business means that corporate IT organizations need to become first-rate services providers. CIO/CTO Bart Murphy shows how to get there. Continue Reading


Agile methodology rewrites the book at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Traditional textbook publishers must bring their educational content into the digital age or risk becoming obsolete. CIO Brook Colangelo is using the Agile software methodology to speed the transition along. Continue Reading


Innovative CIOs tell their stories

In these videos, IT leaders talk about how they have harnessed technology in innovative ways to transform their business and open up new money-making opportunities.


Hacker mindset a prereq for security engineers, says Markley CTO

In this video excerpt, Markley Group CTO Patrick Gilmore talks about why today's ideal security engineer is someone who is paranoid, aggressive and really liked to hack stuff as a teenager.


Internal vs. external customers? CIO Brook Colangelo doesn't buy it

At Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, IT is adopting 'radical simplicity' to better serve its internal and external customers.


Daimler Trucks CIO seeks to hire 'Edisons' and 'Einsteins'

Rather than any one particular IT skill, Daimler Trucks CIO says he's investing in 'Edisons' and 'Einsteins' -- people who can build and people who are visionaries.


Cancer Treatment Centers of America CIO: Passion for IT began at home

Her family's lighting business sparked Kristin Darby's passion for IT, but for the CIO at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, it's the patient connection that keeps her going.


AT&T CIO built IT career by taking on 'least comfortable' roles

AT&T CIO and 2014 MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award winner Thaddeus Arroyo built a CIO career by taking on roles where he felt 'least comfortable.'


Fidelity Investments CTO builds IT career on tech's leading edge

Fidelity Investments Enterprise CTO Stephen Neff traces his career arc in this excerpt from an interview on leading the digital enterprise.


The CIO role in cybersecurity: Advice from a former White House CIO

Live from the Fusion CEO-CIO Symposium in Madison, Wis., gets cybersecurity advice for CIOs from former White House CIO Theresa Payton.

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