• Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Eric Hawley, CIO at Utah State University, has been crowned the SearchCIO 2013 Enterprise IT Leader of the Year. Hawley's success in bringing together centralized and decentralized IT at Utah State -- notably by creating shared services and common standards and engendering a culture of voluntary participation -- made him this year's winner.

What was your biggest IT challenge in the last six months, and how are you addressing it?

Eric Hawley: Ah, well, the biggest challenge not just in the last six months, but I think it's going to be in the next six months too, is adapting to the fast pace of change. And they're really not technology problems. Technology, quite frankly, is in many cases the easy part. It's working with people and organizations to make things happen and ensure that the people in the organizations are relevant into the future......

How is that working out so far?

Hawley: So far, there is nervousness. Right now, we've joined together the technical staff of Weber State University, University of Utah, Utah Valley University, Utah State University -- all diverse technical staff with very specific technical background. These are staff who are used to ordering their own servers, their own vendor relationships in the traditional way of building infrastructure. And we're asking them together and not talk about Cisco versus HP versus Dell -- those aren't strategic conversations. We're essentially [telling] them: You folks come together and we're going to make you stars in the state. Your names are going to be the people behind the first successful collaboration between institutions in IT shared services, so want you to think above the traditional technical fights and start thinking about services [on which] we could work together.

Who wouldn't like that?

Hawley: Those are the goals, and I think we can make it work; there's a lot of opportunity and some pretty low-hanging fruit in this project.

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