Nancy D'Amico | Executive Profile | ATLANTA TREND
had no need to worry.
Last year, LeasePlan USA's CEO and CFO came to her
with a stunning proposal: If they gave D'Amico
an additional 5 percent to invest, could the IT
department - by engaging partners or consultants -- move some future projects forward?
"That never happens," D'Amico
Since then, D'Amico
department around so much that LeasePlan USA's
top executives not only understand what IT
is doing with its resources, but wants IT to take on even more.
"I'm very proud of the progress we have made together," says D'Amico
And the top brass just came back with another 5 percent increase to do it again this year.
"They want us to continue to deliver more projects, because we're having a big impact on the business," says D'Amico, who is a finalist for the 2011 CIO of the Year Awards presented by the Georgia CIO Leadership Association (GCLA).
was also a finalist for the 2010 Women of the Year in Technology Award.
is a subsidiary of LeasePlan Corp.
N.V., a global leader in vehicle leasing and fleet management solutions.
The company manages more than 1.3 million vehicles worldwide and 385,000 in the United States.
The business is mostly cars and trucks, but D'Amico
says, "We've just leased an airplane.
wears the company's promise on her
left sleeve: "It's easier to leaseplan," and the IT promise on her
right: "We are streamlining our systems for you."
In the last 24 months, D'Amico's
IT department has delivered 61 projects with more than $6 million worth of annual benefit.
They also saved $885,000 just by managing operating costs and reducing maintenance and expenditures.
Growing up outside of Pittsburgh, D'Amico
had no idea she'd be on technology's front lines.
"From the time I was really small, my mom told me that I was going to college and that I could do anything that I wanted to do," D'Amico
After earning a bachelor's of science degree in information and computer science, D'Amico interviewed with NCR in Cambridge, Ohio, with no intention of living there "because it was in the middle of nowhere.
But the interview went so well that D'Amico
wound up at NCR
for 13 years, moving to Atlanta after spending the first five years in Ohio.
She started out as a programmer, worked in quality assurance and was responsible for establishing a standard software development life cycle process, which she says was "a new concept back in the '80s."
was also involved in software supplier management, but the program that highlighted her NCR
tenure was called "Opportunity, Vision and Values.
was bought out by AT&T
, the new CEO wanted to instill a values program throughout the company.
was one of only 50 representatives chosen to spread the word to co-workers across the globe, including Australia and Canada, for nearly a year.
After completing her MBA at Emory University, D'Amico joined Delta Air Lines for a 12-year run.
first job after coming aboard, she
was responsible for bridging the technology group and the sales team.
As part of an initiative called Airport Renewal, D'Amico
led the effort to modernize all of the airports using a new process called "the DT way".
replaced all of the old airport systems at the gates with a modern -- at the time -- Windows-based system.
next venture, D'Amico
welcomed the opportunity to lead a team within the operations area, which was responsible for the data center.
"This was a great opportunity to get visibility and exposure to the hardware side of running the business," she
D'Amico was part of the operations team during 9/11, when Delta officials went into crisis management.
"We had planes that we had to get to the closest airport," she
"We had planes landing all over the place - Canada when they weren't supposed to.
I was right in the middle of it because of the systems that I was responsible for."
executives met in what was akin to a war room.
"At one point," D'Amico
says, "I said, 'Is anybody else thinking about the fact that we are yards away from one of the busiest airports in the world?' "Because our data center was right next to that runway.
It was scary."
When it appeared Delta
would outsource its entire IT operation, D'Amico
put out feelers for a new job.
Although the company eventually changed directions, the merger talks with Northwest prompted an executive recruiter to call.
That job wasn't right for D'Amico
, but she
shared it with a colleague, for whom it was a perfect fit.
In a prime example of why it helps to foster relationships, the colleague returned the favor with a tip about the CIO position at LeasePlan
"The biggest challenges they were having was lack of delivery," D'Amico
was not finishing the projects."
Failure to Communicate
"There were a lot of opportunities to improve communications and break down the walls within the company," D'Amico
"There were walls between IT
and the business, so there was no partnership; there were walls within IT."
established an architecture group and reorganized the department.
"The reason why they weren't delivering is there wasn't clear accountability," she
worked with the new architecture group to establish an IT strategy with six components: infrastructure, application road map, application modernization, single source, reporting and ePlan.
Last year, one of LeasePlan's
major initiatives, called Renaissance, was launched to integrate the Alpharetta and Chicago systems and retire redundant applications.
"It was estimated to take over two years and I challenged the team to do it in 12 months," D'Amico
The effort is on track to complete in 18 months.
"We made significant impact to the business by getting this initiative done," says D'Amico
The return on investment is estimated to be 204 percent.
Last year, LeasePlan
also put in place a standard reporting architecture and delivered dashboard reporting for clients through ePlan to help with strategic planning, and developed a life cycle cost analysis tool that allows clients to compare the cost of operating different model vehicles.
is in the process of finalizing a five-year application modernization plan, which involves 14 major initiatives.
Chairman of the Board
Along with the organizational changes, D'Amico established job families and job levels so employees could "figure out how they could progress in their career," and established a Resource Governance Board.
That's a team of representatives at the VP level who come together to prioritize the IT efforts with a view of risk and return on investment.
"It's been very effective," says D'Amico
, who is the chair.
"I am so proud of this team.
A lot of times what happens in businesses is people come to the table, or come to IT
, asking for their project and only their project.
I have seen many times this board say, 'My project can wait.
That project's more important to the business.'"
has also increased the visibility of the IT
department by addressing the company at quarterly town hall meetings and implementing an internal IT communication campaign called the Buzz Builders.
is working to change the perception from "all you hear is bad news when things aren't working, to 'IT is part of the business.'"
says LeasePlan's external client satisfaction score is 97 percent and client retention is 98.7 percent.
The company has also been named the #1 mid-size workplace in Atlanta and a top 20 "Best Place to Work" in Chicago.
In an internal IT survey last year that D'Amico plans to repeat annually, 98 percent of the organization said the department was good, very good or excellent.
"I am very collaborative and I've actually had to learn - and I can do it now -when to make the call and make the tough decisions," D'Amico
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