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perform their duties, be trained to carry them out and report
performance to management, and have the ability to verify the
operating effectiveness. Only by creating an environment of
accountability can we hope to build a corporate culture that
understands the importance and value of doing the right thing.
One of the leading indicators that accountability may not exist
in a company is the lack of consistent policies, standards and
controls. Attempting to instill accountability without such a
framework is a tremendous challenge and one many companies
struggle with today.
Q How do you see the role of governance of enterprise IT (GEIT) changing in the next five years?
A There are a few areas I see as key to the ever-changing role of GEIT. One of the biggest challenges I have seen
has been reporting the right information at the right time to
the right executives. Companies have built complex manual
processes to generate custom reports so decisions can be made
and strategy can be set by executives. Unfortunately, there are
many layers of obfuscation that stand between executives and
the critical information they need to make wise, well-informed
decisions. Think about the game of telephone we used to
play as children, and how the message was altered with every
person in the link. By the time information reaches executives,
it is either incorrect, too late or no longer useful. I have had
the good fortune to be a part of programs that streamline the
quality and efficiency of the data that get to the right person
at the right time. Governance, risk and compliance (GRC)
tools, configuration/asset management databases, and project
and application portfolio management suites are a step toward
elimination of the manual layers that delay bold and decisive
action in the governance of IT.
Another key area in which I believe GEIT will change is
the concept of IT as a strategic enabler. In some organizations,
IT plays more of a support role; it “keeps the lights on” and
supports basic business functions. In other organizations, IT
is viewed and utilized as a strategic enabler to generate profit
or cost savings. The most successful companies I have worked
with have embraced technology’s role as an enabler rather
than the traditional utility model.
Finally, reliance on third parties, vendors and cloud-based
models continues to be a major area of focus for IT governance
processionals. As the role of the CIO changes from a service
provider to a business enabler, we become more reliant on
external service providers to introduce new capabilities. Not only
are there operational considerations, there is also a whole new
world of technology risk and legal considerations introduced
by parties that exist outside of our span of influence and sphere
of control. Robust vendor management processes can help
companies understand the risk, manage the value and optimize
the costs associated with outsourced relationships.
Q How did you transition from an entrepreneur to a senior manager in a Big Four firm? Did you find the
A The wonderful part about Ernst & Young is that I never had to transition from being an entrepreneur. We are a
company of innovators; the spirit of entrepreneurship exists
in every problem we solve and each engagement we execute.
When I started BrainOrbit, I built it from scratch and created a
place where I would want to work every day. We do the same
thing at Ernst & Young; whether at our clients or internally,
people with great ideas are a currency valued above all.
When I started at Ernst & Young, I was worried that the
energy and passion I had for new ideas and opportunities
would not be valued. But, as I came to know and understand
the culture, I found that we are an organization that promotes
passion and creativity—and, above all, we reward innovation.
Q What has been your biggest workplace challenge, and how did you face it?
A The biggest challenge for me has been balancing the demands of life on the road with my clients, time in the
classroom with my students and my personal life.
I have always loved solving puzzles and figuring out
answers to problems; that is why I became a business
advisor. My job involves piecing together a jigsaw puzzle
and, then, teaching others how to do it all over again. I love
spending time with my clients and sharing my experience
and knowledge with them. I also spend much of my time on
campus at Indiana University teaching in the masters program.
But between my two full-time jobs, finding personal time is a
challenge. I have an amazingly supportive and inspiring wife
and family who are my coaches and mentors. I could not do
it without them. However, work-life balance does not just
happen; it is planned and must be prioritized as a goal.