ADP’s Three Steps to Facilitating an IT Culture of Innovation, article in Forbes

October 18, 2012
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Being a CIO for a company with “Data” in the name means you need to be on the leading edge of innovation. ADP CIO, Mike Capone, fosters a culture of innovation within his team to do just that.

by Peter High, published on


The unemployment figures sometimes mask the fact that there is a war for IT talent in corporate America and beyond.  As companies across a large number of industries have awakened to the fact that technology has a major role to play in their operations, internally and customer-facing, they have understood that solid IT resources are a must. Add to that the fact that outsourcing has stripped many IT departments of the commoditized work, meaning that the average IT employee must be of a higher quality and contribute to a higher level of value.  Lastly, Silicon Valley and the tech start-up community is again white hot, and that is drawing some the best and brightest engineering talent who might otherwise choose to join IT departments.

Late last month, Mike Capone, the Global CIO of Automatic Data Processing (ADP) asked me to speak with his team about IT led innovation and to facilitate a brainstorming session with his team.  The approach used was truly novel.

To provide some context, ADP is one of the last four AAA-rated companies in the United States.  Its growth has been steady, and one might suspect that that would translate into a conservative culture, but in recent years, the company has developed an emphasis on innovation.  Traditionally known for being the unquestioned leader in Payroll Services, ADP has transformed itself into a full Human Capital Management provider over the last decade.  Well established in the Cloud before the term became fashionable,  ADP now counts over 300,000 clients leveraging their internet solutions. In May of 2006, the company developed the ADP National Employment Report, recognizing that in providing one in every six checks in the US, it had statistical significance when it came to employment figures.  Capone and his team have been at the forefront of that change, as well, developing a vast array of innovative product offerings through its Innovation Lab.  ADP’s Mobile Solutions, advanced Semantic Search engine and a behavioral intelligence algorithm based on Big Data are some examples of ADP’s investment on research and focus on innovation.

The three steps from the remainder of the article are:

Brainstorm Scenarios that are Several Years Ahead

Engage High-Potential Future Leaders of IT

Live the Future You Hope to Create

To read the full article, please visit

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