Forum on World Class IT - 333 Interviews and Podcasts

Welcome to the Forum on World Class IT podcast series, a collection of exclusive interviews with Chief Information Officers and other IT industry thought leaders. Learn from the experts on how best to establish a truly World Class IT organization.

  • Subscribe
  • Add to iTunes
  • Listen on Stitcher
Download Podcast

May 18, 2009: Carl Ascenzo, Former SVP & CIO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA; Principle Consultant at Ascention Consulting

Among other topics, Carl discusses the following issues with Metis Strategy

  • Customer orientation as a key skill for anyone working in IT
  • The importance of pursuing vendor management
  • How to structure, build, and run a vendor management office
  • The importance of cultural fit when choosing strategic vendors
  • How getting the lowest price from a vendor may not always be in a company’s best interest

Carl Ascenzo’s Biography

Carl is the Founder and Principal Consultant at Ascention Consulting that specializes in providing fast, expert assistance to IT leaders. He is capable of providing unique perspectives and solutions based on his diverse IT experience in software and services, as a customer, vendor, director and investor.

He is presently an independent Director and Chairman of Casenet, Inc. Casenet is an early stage company providing health care management software and implementation services. He served as Executive Chairman over seeing all aspects of the company during a transition in CEOs. He played a key role in acquiring the company’s largest customer with revenue of $16M+. Casenet has completed three rounds of financing with the primary investors being Sigma Partners and HLM Venture Partners.

Before Casenet, Carl was Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. He was responsible for all aspects of information of technology with a combined operating and capital budget of $250M. Support was provided to 3 million members, 3,500 employees with annual revenue of $12.5B. During his tenure dramatic improvements were made and numerous recognitions for technology excellence were received. His leadership was key in the establishment of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, a coalition to implement electronic medical records throughout the state.

Prior to joining Blue Cross in 2000, Carl was a Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers L.L.P. He was responsible for a regional IT consulting P&L serving all market segments. In the first year under his leadership revenue and profitability soared, and he was awarded the most improved practice in the firm. Increases of 30% annually were realized in subsequent years.

Carl began his career in information technology with Aetna, Inc. in 1978. Focused on software development in support of the health line of business, he was fast tracked from programmer to management. He later became Vice President and CIO of specialty products. He led the IT due diligence of all potential acquisitions, and made 50+ sales presentations to the Fortune 1000.

Carl received a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Western New England College. He has been involved in various local community activities, business and technology educational programs, such as the Society for Information Management Executives, The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, and the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium.

He was recognized by the City of Boston for his leadership in establishing Project Refresh which provides corporate donations of used computers to schools.

The World Class IT principles in yellow were the focus of this interview