"There is unlimited demand for IT
services here, because many increases in productivity and cost-cutting measures can be attained through the use of technology," says Ben-Saba Hasan
Hasan is VP of people systems at Wal-Mart (Bentonville, AR), which is probably the world's largest retailer with more than two million employees worldwide and 350 company officers.
Of course, the "unlimited" demand for IT
must adjust to limited resources and competing priorities.
"That's the challenge," Hasan
"But it is also the epitome of problem-solving, and what drew me to an IT career in the first place."
teams are responsible for the IT systems that support functional areas like human resources, payroll, training and development, diversity, compensation, time and attendance and benefits systems.
The teams also support corporate communications, in-store clinics, intranet, philanthropic efforts and much more.
For example, "We have a huge, privately run benefits organization to support.
More than a million people are enrolled, and it's our responsibility to ensure that the applications behind it run perfectly," Hasan
work also involves business initiatives intended to drive growth and increase productivity.
Based on available resources, "There are constant trade-offs.
You have to balance current needs, implement new applications and manage expectations," he
has a 1983 bachelors of business admin with a concentration in CS from Temple University
(Philadelphia, PA) and a 1994 MBA from Amber University
He grew up in North Philadelphia and began at the University of Idaho on a basketball scholarship before he went on to Temple.
left school to work at various jobs and owned several small businesses before he
back to complete his
degree at Temple
held three part-time jobs in his
final year there,
Armed with his
business degree and CS concentration he
landed a job as a programmer with EDS
The next year he
moved to a programming position with Enserch Corp
(Dallas, TX), a company involved in oil and gas exploration, distribution and transmission.
He stayed with Enserch for fourteen years, working in IT, HR, rate and regulatory affairs and customer service, and finally as an IT director.
In 1997 he joined Dell (Round Rock, TX) as director of IT.
In 2002 he became VP of IT, directing teams that supported most business areas, including product group design centers in Austin, TX, Shanghai, Taipei, Singapore and Bangalore.
"I spent a lot of time in Asia when I was with Dell," he remembers.
At the end of 2007 he joined Wal-Mart.
Besides ITSMF, Hasan is a longtime member of BDPA and the National Black MBA Association.
is one of the most rewarding things I do," he
"I love seeing the 'Oh-I-get-it' look on people's faces!
"I've had a lot of great coaches along the way and learned that building relationships and understanding the culture you're working in is as important to your career as your performance," he
is looking forward to the emphasis on alternative energy in the Obama stimulus package.