Mike Gioja Of Paychex’s Career Ascent To Lead IT And Product Management And Development
Paychex is a $2.5 billion revenue provider of payroll, HR, insurance, and benefits outsourcing solutions for small to medium- sized businesses, and was founded in 1971. The company has more than 100 offices around the Unitedi States as well as locations in Germany and Brazil, and has about 12,700 employees that service 580,000 clients.
Mike Gioja joined the company in late 2008 as the vice president of product development and management. He had spent considerable time in product roles at companies like Fidelity, Oracle, Workscape, and HRsoft. He also studied computer science as an undergraduate, and held a number of technical jobs early in his career. As products in the human capital management (among many others) became more driven by technology, Gioja recognized the rising importance of technology, and his IT savvy was an advantage for him. In mid-2011, when the CIO role opened up, Gioja added the IT function to his responsibilities. Among other topics, Gioja talks about the advantage of having the same person in charge of IT and product development and management.
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Peter High: Mike, you are not only the CIO equivalent for Paychex but also the head of Product Management and Development. Can you talk about the logic in having a single executive oversee both of these different areas, as well as how you’ve structured both your time and your teams in those directions?
Mike Gioja: It is a great role and a very good capability of having those various pieces together within the organization. From a responsibilities point of view, I head Product Management, the program office for all of our products, Development, the IT operations call center, and am also the Chief Information Security Officer.
From an internal point of view we support all of the employee-basic services as well as, of course, providing all the product offerings for our clients, including all of the back-end capabilities required for our various service providers. We also have a call center to provide service to external clients.
From an external point of view, we don’t have a direct connection to the clients. In other words, my team is not servicing any clients but we are obviously servicing the products and have to maintain a high availability environment through our Software-as-a-Service platform, which our clients interact with. Our field operations, business operations, branch locations, and various call centers are those that directly interface with clients, so when any of our service providers have questions or problems with those they directly interact with us.
The main driver for this structure was really to help enable the speed of transformation to a Software-as-a-Service company, as well as to drive the culture and process transformation from a service-based company to a software and technology-based company. To do that, with a lot of todays practices of technology, really requires the ability to quickly and daily deal with product-related issues, platform-related issues, and IT-related issues. So it really allows us to quickly execute against our Paychex Next Generation issues in this area.