HUBER: Advances in digital technology and business models
will continue to shift the balance of global economic power, putting more pressure on CIOs to stay ahead of existing and emerging competitors. Where is Great Lakes on the path to digital
transformation and what is your role?
KADERABEK: I see Great Lakes digital transformation path
as an equation or formula:
Data Driven + Smart World (IOT) + On-Demand + Trusted
(Secure) + Connected Experience + Innovative Workforce =
Digital Business Transformation
To execute to this formula, the CIO must develop and main-
tain a flexible and adaptive strategic technology plan for the
organization. They must advise the board and leadership team
on how existing and emerging technologies for each factor in the
equation could strategically reshape current or future products/
services offerings and the way which they are delivered.
Depending on the industry, some factors in the equation
require more emphasis. The first measure of success in
executing to this formula is competitive differentiation
in your organization’s product and service. The ultimate
measure of success is creating a paradigm shift in your
HUBER: It is recommended CIOs commit to spending at
least 20 percent of their time with customers to become customer
advocates, confidants and build loyalty. Are you able to allocate
this time, and what is the benefit from your perspective?
KADERABEK: I do not dispute the 20 percent recommendation of time with customers. If the definition of customers
includes internal organization stakeholders and business partners,
then I would estimate that I am close to the 20 percent recommendation.
It is with the information gathered during the time with the
customers that the CIO is able make a critical difference. Allow
me to explain. IT organizations have been told for many years
that the “business is their customer.” This notion implies a host
of other corresponding behaviors such as “the customer is always
right,” “customer appreciation,” and other service orientation. It
is appropriate because IT should always seek to provide the best
quality service possible within budget. However, it ignores IT’s
ability to lead. In other words, the CIO should be present and
participate in setting the organization’s agenda.
Organizations achieve the best value from IT when the CIO
understands and serves the business, but he or she also combines that understanding with deep technology and application
expertise to drive high ROI initiatives within the organization.
The CIO should be a peer of the senior management and critical
An Interview with the Neal Kaderabek,
CIO for Great Lakes Higher Education
By COLLEEN HUBER, MBCP, MBCI, CBRM
ASK THE EXECUTIVE
Neal Kaderabek is the CIO for Great Lakes Higher Education (GLHE). He joined GLHE in 2015 with the specific goal of maximizing the company’s IT capabilities, cultivating the IT/business partnerships, developing IT
long-term strategy, and aligning people, process, and technology
to support the rapidly evolving student loan servicing environment.
Prior to joining GLHE, Kaderabek held the position of vice
president and CIO for Pekin Insurance, Hallmark Services
Corporation, and Wisconsin Education Association Insurance
Corporation. Over the past six years, the performance of IT organizations under Kaderabek’s leadership have been nationally recognized by ComputerWorlds’ Best Place to Work in IT, CIO 100,
ComputerWorld Premier 100, and American Business Award for
IT Department of the Year. Kaderabek’s more than 25 years
of IT management experience include responsibilities in
software development, infrastructure deployment, project management, strategic planning, revenue generation through IT, and transformational leadership.
For this interview, Kaderabek addressed questions
identified by Forbes in a Jan. 17, 2017, article “Top 10
Strategic CIO priorities for 2017.” The article states:
“Advances in digital technology and business models will
continue to shift the balance of global economic power, putting
more pressure on CIOs to stay ahead of existing and emerging
competitors. The many tools at the disposal of CIOs include
cloud computing, predictive analytics, mobile applications,
machine learning, and robotics, feeding broader movements
such as the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0.
“The business opportunities are considerable: lower costs;
more precise supply chains; more dynamic, reliable, and
personalized products and marketing campaigns; more
attentive customer service; and ultimately more abundant,
loyal customers. In the next five years, CIOs expect their
companies’ digital revenues to grow from 16 to 37 percent,
according to Gartner’s recent CIO Agenda survey of 2,944
CIOs in 84 countries. Public-sector CIOs predict that 77
percent of their processes will be digitized, up from 42 percent
today. Massive changes are ahead, and they’re happening
faster than ever before.
“As we begin 2017, the priorities in front of CIOs can seem
endless, so where to start? In this, our fifth annual list of the
major challenges CIOs must tackle and opportunities they must
seize on in the coming year, you’ll notice some familiar ones.
Real change does not happen in discrete annual increments.
“This list is also a high-level call to action, not a directory of
technologies to adopt and methodologies to follow. It’s up to
you to figure out the rank and the execution details. But we
recommend that you start with these 10.”