Tech done right: The 2014 InfoWorld Technology Leadership Awards

Vision and execution are hallmarks of great leadership, as these eight technologists proved in pushing their organizations in bold new directions

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2014 InfoWorld Technology Leadership Awards:

IT management

Edward Cormier, director of unified communications, Internal Revenue Service

Edward Cormier, IRS

Unlike other enterprise unified communications (UC) deployments, the IRS Convergence initiative faced several unique challenges: No other implementation includes a 95,000-plus user base with a fully integrated UC capability augmented with centralized SIP trunking services (a method of delivering voice over IP to traditional PBX systems).

Under Cormier's guidance, the Convergence team designed and implemented in eight months a highly scalable and redundant end-to-end UC system that integrates with back-end enterprise applications. It also designed and fully vetted a SIP trunking security architecture with the IRS cyber security organization, as well as implemented the SIP carrier service.

Cormier says the redundancy and failover features of the architecture, along with the dynamic overflow of the carrier services, are unique in the industry. They also provide the IRS with high availability while minimizing idle capacity and cost.

Convergence required a complex and well-orchestrated site selection and deployment strategy. Not only did the site deployments need to accommodate failing and at-risk infrastructures, the deployment plans needed to accommodate real estate moves. The deployment strategy also needed to adhere to IRS filing-season limitations, including blackout periods that prohibit work on production systems and general filing-season protocols that limited transitions.

Outside the technology front, Cormier had to manage a tricky budget process made trickier by lean budgets in the face of the recent recession. Convergence is a multiyear project, but federal funding is allocated annually based on overall agency priorities and the project's delivered value to the government, so the budgets can vary year to year. To keep funding levels consistent enough to prevent the program from yo-yoing up and down, Cormier continually "sold" the program by maintaining updated investment management plans and actively engaging the IRS CTO, associate CIOs, business commissioners, and other senior executives to promote the savings and value of the project to the agency.

As a result of this leadership and the technology team's efforts, the result was the first successful large-scale, enterprise-wide deployment of a unified communications system in the federal government.

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