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CIO Steve McManama: Why IT has to change how it recruits talent

Mary K. Pratt | Aug. 27, 2013
He talks about the importance of diversity in IT and other topics crucial to CIOs today.

Does this view of recruiting ensure you get the diversity you want? What we're also doing is having a diverse slate of candidates through our recruiting process. That's something we've focused on in the past 12 to 24 months. You still end up hiring the right person for the job, but by looking at more than that technical need, we have seen a significant increase in more diverse hiring and people with higher potential.

You've had a lengthy tenure for a CIO. Does a long-serving CIO have advantages? A long-serving CIO does bring advantages. On a daily basis, he or she crosses over all areas of the business and needs to have a thorough understanding of the whole business.

But even though I've been with one company, we've transformed ourselves many times over. We've acquired many companies and divested many companies. I've had the opportunity to see how companies around the globe operate. So I think I have the benefit of both areas: being in one company for a long time and seeing many other companies.

What do you and other CIOs need to focus on in the upcoming years to ensure your organizations are competitive? We have to focus on getting information to the people immediately and getting it to them accurately and securely. That's not something we're used to. We're used to controlling information. People still want it accurate and secure, but they want it yesterday. That's a huge challenge for us, to provide for the ever-changing needs of our customer but keeping it secure and accurate .

Ever-changing needs -- how do you anticipate and prepare for those? I've hired some very good people and part of their jobs is to help me and the organization stay current, so I have individuals who are constantly doing the research with the organization regarding infrastructure, what's happening, what's changing.

What's your biggest technology initiative today? We're defining global processes and implementing an ERP system matching those global processes. We've actually traveled around the world to understand what the business processes are, what's needed and what's nice to have, and we're bringing it all together.

You also serve as a board member for the Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX). Does that make you a better CIO? All the medical device companies got together to form this organization. So I serve on that board with members of companies that we compete against. The main thing I've learned is not so much from a technology perspective, but I've learned about the [industry] as a whole. And to be a good CIO, to be a good executive at any company, you've got to understand who your customers are, who you're there to serve. [So through this] I've learned a lot more about what's important to the customer.

 

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