Laura Cruz

Laura Cruz

Summary

Information Technology Executive

Chief Information Officer/SVP of Information Technology / VP IT Customer Service

Results-driven technology/business executive with 20+ years experience leading significant business transformation and spearheading organizational turnarounds.Experienced in building, leading, managing and retaining high performance teams.Maximizing an organizations investment in technology to drive revenue and lower costs. Communicating and marketing at all levels with an organization.Intuitive leader with reputation for getting the job done, breaking through barriers, establishing effective processes and methodologies and utilizing employee strengths.

Work History

Work History
Apr 2006 - Present

SVP & Chief Information Officer

The CDM Group

Senior executive responsible for overall global technology strategy and execution and responsible for all systems and technology for an organization that operates in six countries and services billion-dollar brands of clients such as Pfizer, Novartis, Genentech, and Amgen.Responsibilities include managing and advancing CDM’s systems and technologies on a global basis - including embedding technology across the various disciplines to generate efficiencies and benefits thru advanced workflow and project management systems as well as drive and support business growth, business analysis and intelligence. Manage a staff of 34 and $10M Budget.

  • Completely transformed how the agency operates, building efficiencies and automating systems and workflows by implementing a SharePoint based environment that could be leveraged to build the business.Implemented client extranet sites to provide instant access for client data and generate additional revenue.Eliminated paper processes.
  • Integrated all global offices into a single technology architecture
  • Implemented a Digital Asset Management System (DAM), for agency to house all digital assets and manage usage rights.Currently implementing a portal solution to allow client access to this site along with client digital workflow to track the history and approval process of these assets.
  • Working with clients to implement a web-based solution for translation, adaptation and ability to reduce costs by allowing templated creation of assets in the local markets.
  • Successful turnaround of the company's IT department in less than 10 months from a pretty dysfunctional organization and created a great, performance driven team which by account of other top managers in the company performed above and beyond their expectations.
  • Significantly improved the service levels, computers' and networks' robustness, and systems' security and availability. Created a teams driven organization, which is very well motivated and suited for the tasks it needs to perform. Successfully changed the IT's work from just a problem troubleshooting mode to the much more efficient work stream incorporating problems prevention, strategic planning and active participation in strategic and some client projects.
  • Successfully deployed IT infrastructure and applications to enable expansion into Europe, partnering with the business to become the largest healthcare marketing group. Supported 50% business expansion.
  • Managed a high profile client digital development initiative that won over clients and awarded new business to the agency.This Closed-loop Marketing (CLM) initiative gives our clients sales professionals the ability to dynamically create an on the fly “evidenced-based promotional environment”.Evaluated Exploria, Proscape and Skura.
  • Provided solutions to support centralized client billing across different agencies under a single holding company.
  • Currently designing, building, implementing and supporting financial system conversion to Microsoft Dynamics AX.
  • Reduced IT spend year over year for the past five years.
2000 - 2006

Chief Information Officer

Interpublic Group of Companies

Recruited as Senior VP of Global Infrastructure for McCann Erickson Worldwide, promoted to direct global infrastructure functions for all companies under the Interpublic Group and most recently promoted to CIO for Lowe Worldwide. Challenged to provide Lowe with the business tools to enable long-term growth including: Client Profitability Application, Worldwide Portal development, Infrastructure overhaul, common Cost Accounting, Traffic, Time Management and Client Budgeting applications.

  • Transitioned 400+ IT staff from North American region with 25,000 end-users and build/maintain strong relationships between Global Application Development Team, Infrastructure Team and business units to ensure proper introduction/support of new applications/upgrades.
  • Negotiated outsourced hosting agreement with Digex for 24 x 7, 99.9% availability for client Web-based applications. Reduced operating expenses by $15,000/month.
  • Saved McCann-Erickson $4M+ in 3 years by negotiating software deals with major vendors, including Microsoft, Adobe and Network Associates as key negotiator/mentor for IPG’s global software licensing initiatives.
  • Helped generate $80M+ by enhancing advertising business client relationships with Sprint and Microsoft by finding win-win solutions for both McCann-Erickson as well as the vendor/client.
  • Saved McCann-Erickson $10M+ in expenses by leveraging internal skills for world-wide rollout in which 15,000 users migrated from Lotus Notes in an NT 4.0 environment to Exchange 2000 and Windows 2000/XP. Created global Microsoft Active Directory architecture.
  • Developed infrastructure business continuity plan, operations framework and guidelines to include Web-based access to standards, processes and procedures for company with no prior IT standards, security policies or implementation/configuration details.
  • Transitioned decentralized operating organization into global organization with complex infrastructure.
  • Negotiated email-hygiene solution including inbound and outbound Spam and Anti-virus protection.Reduced inbound email traffic to 30% of original volume and eliminated 95% of unwanted emails.
  • Built a centralized helpdesk with remote control and software distribution capabilities servicing over 4,000 employees and growing to 12,000 by end of year 2005.
  • Supported the migration from Donovan Data Systems to SAP
1999 - 2000

Director, Technology Infrastructure & Services

Expanets, Inc.

Led Data Center, Telecommunications and Desktop operations. Provided strategic/financial planning, maintenance and support while implementing systems and integrating 200 new/existing offices into single corporate infrastructure. Oversaw 5 direct reports with staff spanning New Jersey, Indianapolis and Tampa. Managed $4M budget.

  • Built formal IT infrastructure support environment/staff where no structured support existed before.
  • Guided IT due-diligence process related to company’s acquisition of Lucent’s GEM division, including analysis and cost definition for all telecommunications, end-user services, remote access and data center requirements.
  • Created and established standards/processes for Indianapolis data center, including change control procedures, server/data backup structure and Internet security/policies.
  • Transitioned Internet/Intranet Web-sites to in-house functions. Created strategic WAN utilizing ATT’s MPLS IP-Enabled Frame-Relay Network to enable intra-company any-to-any connectivity.
  • Led integration of 4 new acquisitions into company’s corporate infrastructure for centralized application, e-mail and Internet access, including RFP vendor analysis and selection. Negotiated Microsoft Enterprise Agreement.
  • Established desktop standards and forged relationships with key vendors, including Dell and IBM. Launched desktop rollout of 2000 notebook computers to end-users across the US.
  • Developed RFP to outsource end-user Desktop and LAN services and collaborated with vendors to finalize contracts and transition into new support structure.
1998 - 1999

Director, Workplace Computing

Avon Products, Inc.

Progressed consistently through series of positions from VTAM System Consultant to Director of Workplace Computing. Provided end-user computing maintenance and technical/operational support for all desktop computers in Avon environment. Directed strategic/financial planning, end-user and IT staff training programs, desktop/asset/ procurement/vendor management, software distribution and enterprise-wide hardware/software standardization for 14,500 users 1,500 users at New York campus help desk. Oversaw $5.1M budget and 40-member staff at 3 locations.

  • Saved $1M+/year by eliminating external contractors and filling vacant positions. Reduced help desk ticket volume by 50%, improved customer satisfaction and increased service levels by developing formal desktop support program/organization.
  • Salvaged Avon Spa IT project at newly-opened, prestigious site (Trump Tower) by stabilizing existing systems and establishing long-term solutions involving scheduling, point-of-sale and retail support. Ensured proper communication within triage operation, problem management, implementation and difficult vendor management.
  • Launched a Global Asset Management System and established key partnerships with customers, executives and other IT organizations by implementing organized user meetings, desktop standards council and communication methods to keep Avon’s customers well informed.
  • Accrued additional savings by leveraging overall buying power through negotiation of contracts with European and Asian Pacific counterparts. Negotiated hardware contracts/software agreements to reduce overall spending.
1996 - 1998

Project Leader, Telecommunications/LAN Services

Avon Products, Inc.

Challenged to design infrastructure LAN servers, including NetWare for file/print services supporting 1500 users and DHCP/DNS services internationally. Directed NT application server implementation, server-based software deployment and supported desktop upgrades. Performed LAN/WAN requirements analysis and collaborated with Telecommunications Management to generate network designs. Directed security administration/disaster recovery, oversaw budgets and handled vendor evaluation, selection and negotiations.

  • Developed formal server support program for all North American locations, instilled appropriate sense of urgency and increased technical/customer service awareness. Eliminated dependence on external contractors without increasing internal headcount.
  • Launched successful business partnerships with operations, help desk and development organizations enabling for successful management/support of the LAN environment. Designed consolidation plan of NetWare 3.X servers into a NetWare 4.X NDS environment.
  • Designed complex client/server program and organizational structure supporting client/server introduction/maintenance. Designed corporate-wide standards/procedures necessary to support new applications including development, test and production scenarios.
1993 - 1995

VTAM Systems Consultant, Telecommunications

Avon Products, Inc.

Recruited to design, implement and support company’s SNA WAN and provide SNA network performance analysis/tuning. Installed mainframe network software and coordinated network access projects, including LAN/WAN connectivity and installation of Novell NetWare Server and NetWare for SAA 1.3.B gateway.

  • Developed strategic/tactical plan for nationwide migration of SNA/SDLC-based network to multi-protocol network infrastructure.
  • Significantly reduced system outages by establishing a proactive change management and maintenance program. Migrated from a 3745-410 to a 3746-41A with a 900 frame.
  • Deployed and directed full network disaster recovery scheme for company’s domestic SNA network.

Education

Education

Minor

George Washington University

Bachelor of Science

George Washington University

Bachelor of Science

George Washington University

Master of Science

New York University

Skills

Skills

Performance Management

Executive Management

Business Alignment

Budget Management

IT and Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) Governance

Application Development Strategy

Digital Strategy

Business Improvement

Client Relationship Management

Process Reegineering

Organizational Turn Around

Automation & Optimization

Process Improvement

Project & Program Management

Global Contract Negotiation

Strategic Planning

Coaching

Leadership

Team building