Top CIO 2006: Nick Curry, MTS Allstream

Nick Curry, MTS Allstream

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Nick Curry
MTS Allstream (TSX: MBT)
Age: 52 | Years at the company: 5

It's a good thing Nick Curry, MTS Allstream's chief information officer, says he loves managing change — he's in the thick of it. As CIO at a former monopoly telco, his industry and company are buffeted by new technological and competitive threats, forcing executives to run their organizations smarter than ever before. And increasingly, it falls to the CIO to not just make it happen, but find new ways of improving internal processes.

Fortunately, Curry thrives on all this. A 30-year veteran of corporate IT, Curry represents an emerging breed of CIO who does far more than just keeping the servers up and running. At MTS Allstream, Curry leads efforts to continually improve processes, overseeing four dedicated teams that have mapped out all the procedures by which things get done inside the company, quantifying costs and establishing performance indicators.

“We've made signficant improvements in overall operating performance,” says Curry. “And we're spending more of our scarce dollars and resources making more of those changes. That is a measure of success, a recognition that we've got to spend more to move ahead.” One example is the effort to further integrate Allstream, its national business services division. When Manitoba Telecom Services acquired Allstream in 2004, Curry's priority was to rationalize IT infrastructure between the two divisions. Now his attention has turned to projects like common order and billing systems. But this, he says, is “a journey, not an event” and will take three to five years. “Change is constant,” says Curry, “and every business needs it to be constant to be successful.”