Each year, Computerworld accepts nominations from across the industry -- from vendors, IT users, public relations and marketing professionals, Computerworld readers and past Premier 100 honorees. Eligible nominees include CIOs, chief technology officers, senior vice presidents, vice presidents, IT directors and managers from a cross-section of user and vendor companies and their IT divisions, including but not limited to professionals in network management, database management, Web management, help desk operations, application development, project management, contract management or procurement.
Nominations for the 2012 list were collected from February through August 2011, and totalled more than 1,000. Our editors then invited the nominees to complete a comprehensive management/leadership questionnaire online during June and July. The candidates were asked about a range of topics, including their backgrounds, work experiences, special accomplishments, leadership styles, technology priorities and strategies, and other details about the IT environments they have fostered at their organizations. We received more than 200 complete, qualified surveys.
Nominated individuals were asked to provide three references each: one from a direct manager, one from a direct report and one from a professional acquaintance. Computerworld's editors contacted the references for each finalist, and the references' responses were incorporated into the evaluations of the nominees.
Using Computerworld's IT Leader Index, which measures how closely an individual matches our definition of an IT leader, a panel of Computerworld editors and outside judges evaluated the completed questionnaires. Judges reviewed only those nominees who work in industries other than their own.
We define an IT leader as someone who guides the effective use of information technology to improve his organization's business performance. Our definition of an IT leader also includes the following characteristics:
• Promotes an IT vision that supports the company strategy.
• Identifies strategic opportunities provided by IT.
• Thinks beyond short-term tactical needs to long-term strategic goals.
• Understands business needs and profit/loss responsibilities beyond the IT department.
• Ties technology and innovation to specific business needs and goals.
• Uses technology to help his organization gain an advantage over its competitors.
• Takes calculated risks but has contingency plans in place.
• Learns from failure and uses such experiences to improve IT processes and products.
• Hires inquisitive people who like to explore and are innovative.
• Creates work environments that are positive and rewarding to employees both inside and outside of work.
• Encourages staffers to be innovative and come up with ideas.
• Motivates with recognition and opportunities, not just money.
• Compares best practices with those of peer organizations.
• Leverages technology vendors as partners.
• Develops the leadership skills of employees in the IT organization.
• Is viewed as a leader by other executives and by the IT staff.
Special thanks go to our nine judges, themselves Premier 100 IT Leader alumni, who helped evaluate this year's candidates.