The AIM Program continues its series of profiles about the professional work of graduates. The goal is to explore the diversity of work of the information manager and to examine how the field is evolving.
AIM alumni who wish to submit a profile should send an e-mail to the AIM Program at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 800-824-2714, and we'll send you a suggested framework. To date, profiles have been provided by Joel Tachau ('07), Linda Ballas ('05), Peter Battan ('98), Travis Luckey ('09), Connie Atchley ('10), Michael Wright ('06), Hope Angel ('11), Brandon Gatke (’08), and Scott Fenton (’95).
What is your current job?
I am currently vice president and chief information officer (CIO) for Wind River Systems, an Intel wholly-owned subsidiary. Wind River is the world leader in embedded software solutions. Our products are found in over a billion devices in automotive, aerospace and defense, networking hardware, telecommunications, and consumer electronics. I am responsible for all technology and business systems worldwide in our twenty-five plus offices. This includes business systems, network technology, telecommunications, security, and client services.
How do you spend your work time?
I work closely with the business to understand their challenges and priorities, and help them solve problems. This can be on a large corporate level or discrete organizational level. Having the knowledge and flexibility to work at all levels of the corporation has been most rewarding. I also spend time keeping current on technology and trends in business.
Do you work alone or in a small or large group?
I seldom work alone. My success depends on leading teams who bring successful technology initiatives to the business to help them generate more revenue, reduce costs, and improve efficiencies.
How does your job fit in to the larger organization dynamic? How does it make a difference?
I am part of the executive team at Wind River; hence I have a direct line to the top decision makers. Part of my responsibility is to help them be successful. Having this level of communication ensures the initiatives my team is addressing are relevant to the company and add real value. A key deliverable for me is a technology strategy and roadmap that dovetails with our corporate business plans. This ensures that the products and services IT is delivering add real value and support corporate growth.
How do you measure success in your role?
Success can be determined in delivering technology solutions that can be measured in terms of return on our investments. Sometimes this can be measured, other times not. On the soft side, I strive for a satisfied and happy customer base, and am seen as a solutions and technology provider and occasional instigator.
Are there more people doing this kind of work now than there were five or ten years ago?
The role of the CIO has been changing for years. Those who are successful are dedicated to seeing their companies succeed, hence they devote energies to working more closely with their corporate constituents. The days of the IT leader being responsible for installing hardware and software are long gone.
How do you stay current in the field? (Resources, organizations, journals, etc.)
I stay up to date on technology by reading technology articles online every day, attending a select number of technology conferences, and networking with my peers. I am also an avid Twitter user (@sdfenton) sharing my ideas with others, and hearing theirs as well.
How do you use your AIM education in support of your work?
AIM provides a solid foundation from which to build. There were a number of management and theory classes that prepared me for the change in CIO mindset that was required to be successful. It also taught me about project management and how to make effective proposals and presentations. And finally, I made some lifelong friends in the program.
POSTED: November 12, 2013