Forbes CIO-plus Series: Mike Capone, ADP

January 28, 2013
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As CIO and Corporate VP of Product Development, Mike Capone of ADP drives business innovation through IT.

by Peter High, published on


Automatic Data Processing’s Mike Capone is someone who has long had a foot in information technology and a foot in the business. He has a bachelor’s degree in computer science, but he also has an MBA. He spent time as a vice president of IT at ADP, but he went on to be a General Manager of a global HR & payroll outsourcing business within the company. In July 2008, he became ADP’s first ever global Chief Information Officer. When he took on that role, he did so as a business executive would, however. He pushed IT ever closer to the rest of the organization. He developed a mandate for innovation during the heart of the economic malaise. He also accompanied sales executives on sales calls with customers, and pushed his team to do the same. In so doing, IT’s value to the company grew. Therefore, in the second half of 2012, Capone added the role of Corporate Vice President of Product Development to his CIO title, adding a very business-centric role to his one in IT. His is an example of an IT executive who successfully amplifies the value of IT to the point where it is only logical that he take over a key business role. As Capone points out in my interview with him, nearly all ADP products have IT components to them, so having an executive who oversees both worlds provides tremendous synergy and efficiency.

(This is the eighth in the CIO-plus series. To read the prior seven interviews with the CIO-pluses from Waste Management, McKesson, Merck, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Ameristar Casinos, Owens Corning, and Marsh & McLennan, please click this link. To receive notice about future interviews in the series with CIO-pluses of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the San Francisco Giants, and P&G, please click visit the column’s page. in the weeks to come.)

Peter High:
Mike, you took an interesting path to become the first ever CIO of ADP, as you were the general manager of an GlobalView, a multilingual, multicurrency human resources outsourcing solution, prior to running technology.  What did you do differently given that path than you would have done as someone promoted from within IT?

Mike Capone:
Quite honestly, I cannot imagine ascending into the CIO role without having the line operating experience.  The role of IT is always the same – driving business success while delivering the best possible user experience.  But as a staff function, IT does not always get measured the way a client facing operation would – particularly in the areas of client satisfaction and market acceptance of your solutions.  Having come from a business where many of my clients were Fortune 50 companies, including many top technology organizations, I knew that the key to success was to get very close to your clients and exceed their expectations.  Driving this culture through the organization was priority one.

Also having come from a line operation role, I had some built-in credibility with the senior operating executives.  I spoke their language and had walked many miles in their shoes.  This was very helpful as we set out to develop our strategic plans.

Additional topics covered in the article include:

  • How did you prepare for the CIO position given that you did not have a predecessor in that role?
  • In 2012, you added the role of Corporate Vice President of Product Development to your responsibilities as CIO.  What does the Product Development role entail, and how was that function managed prior to your taking responsibility for it?
  • What are the synergies that you have found between that role and that of CIO?
  • What percentage of products have a technology component to them?
  • Have the product team and your IT team interacted differently since you took the helm of each?
  • Do you foresee more CIOs with product responsibilities?  If so, what kinds of companies are particularly right for that?

To read the full article, please visit

To explore other CIO-plus Series articles, please click here.

To explore the Technovation Column library, please click here.

To listen to Mike Capone’s Forum on World Class IT podcast interview, please click here.

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