BOB POULIOT, 53 Former Senior Vice President of Information Systems, MassMutual Financial Group, a financial services company in Springfield, Mass.; now retired.
MIKE POULIOT, 28 MIS Project Manager, Norton Co. (a subsidiary of Saint-Gobain Corp. in Paris), a manufacturer of coated and bonded abrasive products in Worcester, Mass.
IT CAREER PATH Bob: Two companies in 30 years; The Travelers Insurance Co.
(1969-1972); MassMutual (1972-1999). Mike: Two companies in 7 years; Andersen Consulting (1993-1997); Norton (1997-present).
FIRST COMPUTER USED Bob: RCA 501 System. Mike: Commodore 64.
I.T. TRAINING Bob: None. "I had absolutely no training until [I went to] Travelers. I was an accounting major at Western New England College." Mike:
Yes. Started programming in Basic on Commodore 64; in high school, took Basic and Pascal classes; at Boston College, majored in information systems.
FIRST I.T. JOB / SALARY Bob: Programmer trainee, coding Cobol programs; $7,500.
Mike: Staff consultant, working on ERP systems; $30,000+.
WHY I.T. Bob: "When I got my accounting degree, the one thing I knew after four years in accounting was that I didn't want to be an accountant. Data processing was a new field and companies were willing to train you." Mike: "I wanted to get into business, and at that point business and computers were a nice combination."
CAREER ASPIRATIONS Bob: "I never had aspirations to reach the level I have reached. Back in the first 10 to 15 years, people felt they were data processors-it didn't matter what business they were working in. The business was secondary. That has changed." Mike: "I could see myself managing a business or managing an IT department. I don't want to be in a situation where all I know is the technology. I want to know the business and the business requirements."
WORKWEEK Bob: 45 hours a week. "We're always on call, beepers, voice mail."
Mike: 45-55 hours a week. "I'm also getting my MBA part time."
TECHNOLOGIES THAT SURPRISED THEM Bob: The Internet. "Even three years ago, we would not have been able to guess how big it would be." Mike: The Internet.
"When it first came around, I thought it was pretty neat. But it didn't even cross my mind that you could link four different companies through the supply chain, everybody could look at everybody else's inventory, and now there's a totally different way of doing business because of the Internet."
TECHNOLOGIES THAT DISAPPOINTED THEM Bob: The paperless office, artificial intelligence, voice recognition. Mike: Client/server.
GREATEST TECHNOLOGY Bob: The PC. Mike: The PC.
OUTSIDE THE OFFICE Bob: Golf, guitar ("Mike's the better player"), books, travel. Mike: Golf, guitar, MBA course work, chess.