Get to know the Premier 100 Class of 2017

The annual Computerworld Premier 100 awards shine a spotlight on individuals who have had a positive impact on their organization through technology.

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Chong P. Huan

Chong P. Huan

Title
CIO

Employer
The Inland Real Estate Group

Location
Oak Brook, Ill.

What emerging tech has captured your interest?
Our data is growing at an exponential rate. The internet of things, social network interactions and automation will only add to this big data pool. I believe that the next digital disruption will be convergence of big data and artificial intelligence (big data intelligence) to provide faster and smarter decisions. To this end, we are focused on piloting A.I. projects that quickly identify and predict actionable trends or patterns.

An innovative staff idea:
Recently, our technology team started using Amazon Echo as a data analytics platform, providing a central source from which executives across the organization can review and execute on accurate, real-time operational data in any location, at any time to make better strategic, tactical and effective decisions.

Boldest prediction for the next 5 years:
With A.I. rapidly coming of age, businesses will increasingly grasp the immense potential of smart machines and other innovations as catalysts for greater efficiency and competitiveness. A.I. and bots will elevate decision-making precision to a whole new level, creating efficiencies and cutting costs while providing new solutions to critical problems faced by many industries.

How has your vendor management strategy changed in the past few years?
It focuses on building relationships with vendors and finding win-win partnering opportunities that can deliver results in key business areas. We are collaborating and working closely with many vendors to brainstorm ideas and pilot projects, wherein they have become an extension of our technology team. This has led to better quality of service and has helped cut costs and reduce risk.

Kosta Kalpos

Kosta Kalpos

Title
Senior adviser, cybersecurity

Employer
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Location
Washington

Career highlight:
Giving a speech on cybersecurity and national security initiatives in the Ronald Reagan Building amphitheater days after the Office of Personnel Management breach occurred. I was humbled and honored to represent my department and my country, while fielding questions associated with arguably the largest breach in U.S. history.

What emerging tech has captured your interest?
Mobile devices and wearable tech. Devices you’d see only in James Bond movies are now readily available at your local convenience store. How do we better understand challenges associated with rapidly evolving mobile technologies and properly secure our organization against insider threats? Too aggressive of a program can cause adverse effects, portray lack of trust among users or even indirectly aid in the development of an insider threat. A healthy balance between security and respect for civil liberties is key.

Boldest prediction for the next 5 years:
Current norms in multifactor authentication will move beyond our memory, unique characters and even physical credentials. In five years, if you’re not multi-authenticating, you’ll inherit unrecoverable risk and quickly exit the market.

Biggest tech disappointment?
Low-cost to no-cost energy. Right now, if you want to start being green, you have to have some green. It’s disappointing to think that we haven’t innovated to an equally competitive price point to help everyone.

Mohit Kapoor

Mohit Kapoor

Title
Chief information and technology officer

Employer
TransUnion

Location
Chicago

An innovative staff idea:
For the market in India, our team created a biometric product for mobile devices and tablets that reads and authenticates fingerprints. Based on that fingerprint, it automatically populates a loan application with everything the bank needs to quickly approve or deny a loan. It’s truly a game-changer in India.

Boldest prediction for the next 5 years:
IT departments as we know them will no longer exist. In the next five years, there will be no traditional IT departments because entire companies will be technology-driven and tech-focused. There will be no difference between products and technology, and technology will drive everything.

How has your vendor management strategy changed in the past few years?
We used to think of vendors as simply providers, but now it’s more of a partner strategy. We pick a few based on the value they bring and develop deep relationships instead of just choosing the lowest-cost provider.

How do you find time to innovate?
I formed an innovation committee that meets regularly to discuss future projects. We visit venture capital firms, think tanks and other innovative companies. We spend time on-site learning about their challenges, successes, the next wave of innovation and more. This gets us out of our environment and focused on what’s next and what’s possible.

Hakan Karamanli

Hakan Karamanli

Title
Executive vice president and CIO

Employer
Tam Faktoring

Location
Istanbul, Turkey

Boldest prediction for the next 5 years:
In the future, an IT background and technical skills won’t be necessary — a people and business orientation will be required for IT leadership. The CIO role will stand out as a CEO candidate, and we will see business- and people-oriented CIOs appointed as CEOs.

How do you find time to innovate?
I believe we don’t need dedicated time for innovation, but I must confess that reading business books is my main source of inspiration, along with listening to employees and customers.

How have you created work/life balance?
I believe a great working environment is the only solution for work/life balance. If you have satisfaction in your job, this brings happiness to your home, and if you’re happy, time isn’t a boundary.

Jeffrey Keisling

Jeffrey Keisling

Title
Senior vice president and CIO, business technology

Employer
Pfizer

Location
New York

What emerging tech has captured your interest?
Pfizer has begun using actigraphy data — data generated from sensors — to understand patient response to medicines. In effect, the internet of things becomes the “internet of patients” as Fitbit-like sensors are used in our trials to continuously monitor patients to understand if Pfizer’s medicine is, for example, controlling their tremors or helping them sleep at night. This type of data allows Pfizer to demonstrate an improvement in a patient’s quality of life in a way that wasn’t possible with traditional measurement models.

Coolest current project:
Through the application of multiple cognitive computing disciplines, including natural language processing, artificial intelligence and machine learning, we can dramatically improve the speed and efficiency of information referenced by healthcare providers, with the ultimate goal of improving patient safety.

An innovative staff idea:
Newton is Pfizer’s own cloud-based, multitenant solution providing the mobile back-end services that connect our application users’ information for authentication, information storage and syncing, and social connections. Built to enable behavior modification and patient support needs, Newton’s APIs allow for flexibly storing data such as people, events, assets and business rules.

Sajed Khan

Sajed Khan

Title
Senior vice president and CIO

Employer
United Solutions Co.

Location
Tallahassee, Fla.

Personal leadership style?
My personal leadership style is to have the courage, confidence and commitment to connect with and inspire my team to achieve extraordinary results through teamwork. Leading a team by example almost always returns better results and establishes trust. I strive to gain the trust of my employees by providing them with significant and involved roles in projects from inception to end. To achieve creative success, I have always empowered my team to create 12-month objectives rather than chase long-term goals. These short strides build competencies to deliver on promised performance and inspire future leaders.

What’s the most important task you’ve delegated this year?
I’ve always had a passion for effective project management. Managing technology projects is difficult under the best of circumstances. When the team clearly understands the scope from the onset, we eliminate any ambiguity. Weekly project status meetings helped set baselines for a few rising stars on my team. With collaboration, I was excited to delegate the meetings to a young talented group. Setting the right baseline from inception, while allowing them breathing room to work, helped deliver a closure rate of over 90% of projects last year.

Your spare time?
What spare time? I have four kids!

Akash Khurana

Akash Khurana

Title
Vice president and CIO

Employer
McDermott International

Location
Houston

Boldest prediction for the next 5 years:
Technology venture capitalist will replace CIO and chief digital officer titles once the digital maturity peaks across certain trend-setting industry verticals.

Biggest tech disappointment?
VoIP infrastructure in the cloud. We had high hopes for the efficiency that it provides, but we see reliability challenges globally that have impacted our organization. Because of their performance and availability, traditional copper lines have proven to have better sustained results. But I do think VoIP in the cloud will improve over time.

Skills you’ll hire for:
We’ll look to add software development, data engineering and product engineering capabilities in the future. Some of those capabilities will be groomed internally on the product engineering side, others will be sourced externally with people who have a background in the discipline.

Fast ROI project:
In 2015, we led an initiative to provide global financial planning and analysis visibility in a single platform. Prior to this project, the global financial planning and analysis process was managed manually. Digitizing the capability has enabled faster financial closing and cash flow management processes.

How have you adjusted your risk management strategy to align with the evolving technology landscape?
We made a conscious decision to move to a few proven and trusted cloud providers, which allows us to combine the knowledge and scale they bring with our experts to ensure we are managing infrastructure and application obsolescence risks more proactively.

Georgette D. Kiser

Georgette D. Kiser

Title
CIO and managing director, Global Technology and Solutions

Employer
The Carlyle Group

Location
Washington

An innovative staff idea:
My staff assisted in the implementation of our full “desktop of the future” strategy, which decreased costs, helped to enhance productivity and collaboration for all Carlyle employees and has helped to drive innovation across the organization. 

How are you using reverse-mentoring:
We are using the service desk staffers to educate the more seasoned staffers. 

 New titles in your IT organization:
Chief operating officer of Global Technology and Solutions, who handles budgeting, forecasting and many day-to-day operational items, which affords me the opportunity to focus more on the organization’s overall strategy.

 How are you working with startups? 
We attend sessions by firms such as Andreessen Horowitz to better understand what new technologies are being developed and implemented. We also study what is happening globally. I will soon be traveling to Israel to better understand how they have enhanced technology and increased the number of startups across the country. 

Read Kiser's full profile.

Wolfgang Krips

Wolfgang Krips

Title
Executive vice president, global operations, and general manager

Employer
Amadeus Data Processing

Location
Erding, Germany

What emerging tech has captured your interest?
Machine learning and artificial intelligence (applied to the data center). Current plans and activities include a proof of concept project for predictive analytics/machine learning for fault detection and isolation, and a pilot on artificial intelligence to support automated incident resolution.

How are you using reverse-mentoring?
Twice a month, three-hour briefings with the operations’ architecture team, regular attendance at startup gatherings (such as TechCrunch Disrupt) and Silicon Valley study tours. Also, attending frequent vendor briefings and key conferences, such as Gartner ITExpo and VMworld.

Boldest prediction for the next 5 years:
Automation of software development (auto-coding). With the advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence, it should be possible to have systems writing software within five years.

Skills you’ll hire for:
Automation specialists and data scientists.

George Labelle

George Labelle

Title
CIO

Employer
Independent Purchasing Cooperative

Location
Miami

Coolest current project:
We’re working on a data science center of excellence. When you dig into data science, you realize it has incredible applicability and upside everywhere in our brand. Intelligent algorithms will enable smart machines to transform and disrupt our industry in ways we can’t imagine.

Skills you’ll hire for:
Data scientists — people who see the world in different and unique ways and who love to solve big problems. They identify patterns and anomalies in data that can lead to big profits. It’s a unique and emerging discipline, so we’re looking primarily to hire fresh.

How have you adjusted your risk management strategy to align with the evolving technology landscape?
We have a dedicated enterprise risk management team. I’m making an effort to talk more about risk with my teams. When I talk about it more, they talk about it more. And when they talk about it, it becomes something they have to consider.

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