Women in Tech |

Jo-ann Olsovsky, Chief Information Officer of BNSF Railway

August 01, 2011

Among other topics, Jo-ann discusses the following issues with Metis Strategy:

  • The vast ways that technology helps  BNSF run its freight network and interact with its customers
  • The unique industry of rail and how the need to be inter-operable leads to substantial collaborations with other rail, ship, and truck companies that are both competitors and partners
  • The change (or lack thereof) that occurred following the Berkshire Hathaway acquisition
  • The difference in mindset that a CIO must adopt in a B2B company versus a B2C company
  • The need for a CIO in a new company or industry to get out into the field in order to understand how IT can drive efficiencies for internal IT consumers as well as external customers
  • Eye on the trends: BNSF’s use of mobile computing to help its customers track their freight, the challenges of the consumerization of IT, the evolution of the “always on” hand held device and information at the fingertips without the need to launch applications, the potential for video and imagery in rail, the digital storage boom and power of cloud computing and visualization

Jo-ann Olsovsky’s Biography

Jo-ann is the vice president and chief information officer at BNSF Railways, a class-one railroad that is part Berkshire Hathaway.  In her role, she is responsible for delivery of BNSF’s telecommunications services, data center infrastructure, application development, Web presence and all other information technology services.

Prior to joining BNSF Railway in 2006, Jo-ann was director, enterprise network services and technology support services, at Verizon Communications and pre-merger at GTE. In these positions she was responsible for planning, engineering, security and support of their extensive LAN/WAN environment with more than 50,000 infrastructure devices and 200,000 customers at more than 2,000 locations, including both internal and commercial contract customers.

Prior to her time at GTE, Jo-ann spent 13 years at AT&T where she led technology planning, engineering and operations teams.

Jo-ann serves several organizations and chairs various committees, including Railinc Board of Directors, AT&T and IBM’s Customer Advisory Councils, Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber Board of Directors, and TCU’s Neeley School of Business Advisory Council.

Jo-ann has a BA in Business Management and an MBA from Nova Southeastern University, and an MA in Project Management from George Washington University.

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

  • 01 1- People
  • 02 2- Infrastructure
  • 03 3- Project and Portfolio Management
  • 04 4- IT & Business Partnership
  • 05 5- External Partnerships

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