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The Internet of Things figures into this IT leader's five-year plan

Mary K. Pratt | June 24, 2014
Chris LeBeau of ATS acknowledges that delivering a broad vision takes a multipronged strategy that addresses specific needs. To do so, he's drawing on past experience and his expectations of future capabilities of IT tools.

The word efficiency frequently comes up when reading about your company. How do you identify areas where IT can add efficiencies? We have a business architecture team that's responsible for understanding what the business is trying to accomplish, what their goals are, how they do it. Behind that, we have a systems architect group that takes those business requirements and tries to understand how to implement the tools, how we can consolidate applications.

That's what our collective mission is: to understand what the business needs and put in efficient and intuitive systems.

Companies acquire a lot of applications over time, so [we ask]: How do you simplify them? How do you consolidate them? How do we create an environment that's intuitive for our users so they find what they need the first time? That's what our collective mission is: to understand what the business needs and put in efficient and intuitive systems.

What has been your biggest accomplishment since becoming CIO at ATS? The reorganization of the team. We reorganized to do a couple of things: change to a business-focused conversation instead of an IT-focused one, do good system design behind that and put out new functionality to support business objectives. Taking a more modern approach is starting to pay dividends.

What's the ROI? The business feels they're being listened to, and they see results.

How did you get buy-in for the reorganization? By architecting an organization that would meet the challenges within the company and communicating why it was important, why a change made sense and then why it would yield different results. A lot of it was a communications campaign, to be quite honest.

How did you make that an effective campaign? We have regular meetings with senior leadership. And then, as you navigate projects and conversations, you take the opportunity to make sure they understand what you're talking about and how it will benefit them. You have to sell it. You have to evangelize.

Your company says it aggressively seeks to hire veterans. What unique benefits do military people bring to IT? I have several former Navy and Air Force personnel in my group. And from my own personal experience, there's a level of maturity in terms of operating within an organization. There's a sense of mission and a sense of duty. There's an understanding that accomplishment matters. And veterans are objective-oriented.

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Dossier

Chris LeBeau

Family: Girlfriend and her three children, ages 16, 14 and 9
Do you have any hobbies? Flying a Cessna Skylane 182S and a Cessna Skyhawk 172S as a member of the Schaumburg Flying Club; home improvement projects; chauffeuring the kids.
What's on your reading list? Value Driven Maintenance: New Faith in Maintenance, by Mark Haarman and Guy Delahay, and reading material about service-oriented architecture.
What's on your playlist? Music by Peter Gabriel, film soundtracks
Hometown: Chicago area

 

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