Client Spotlight: Steve Perkins, Chief Information Officer
Firm Name: HoganTaylor LLP
Location: Tulsa, OK
# of Offices: 5
# of Partners: 43
# of Employees: ~330 FTE
Getting the support needed to grow as a firm and make the right decisions.
As an IT leader, who do you turn to when you want to kick around some new ideas or find out about experiences with a particular vendor? For Steve Perkins, CIO of HoganTaylor LLP, he turns to friends in the Boomer CIO Circle.
When Perkins started working in IT within the accounting profession, he knew he needed outside influences to stay abreast of developments and best practices in his field. He’d heard of the Boomer CIO Circle at conferences. But early in his career, working for a smaller firm, Perkins didn’t feel like he could ask the firm to include the cost in their budget. However, as the firm grew, it made more sense. In 2010, Perkins approached the Managing Partner and was given the green light to join.
Perkins credits the CIO Circle with helping HoganTaylor grow as a firm and make the right technology decisions. The peer community provides ideas for strategy – not just in tech, but in employee engagement and advances happening in other industries. They also benefit from a focus on the big picture and seeing the progression of technology in other firms.
“Sometimes we blaze the trail, and sometimes another firm does, Perkins says. “We get a flavor for what other firms are doing and why and what roadblocks they’ve hit. It gives us clarity for where we should be headed when a blend of ideas matches up with our own vision.”
Perkins says his membership in the CIO Circle has helped with many of the firm’s technology decisions over the years, including their selection of an antivirus system, hardware, laptops, firewalls, and several software applications.
“When our team is throwing around ideas, I always say, ‘Well, we have plenty of friends who’ve gone through the same problem. We never have to go through anything alone,’” Perkins says.
Two of the technology decisions that have been especially gratifying of late are having laptops for everyone in the firm and adopting Microsoft Teams for collaboration and video conferencing. “Several partners have commented that our IT team had the firm ready for the COVID-19 crisis because everyone could scatter to their homes and start working,” Perkins says. “We’ve been preparing for this for years – we weren’t specifically ready for this crisis, but we were ready for people to work from anywhere. To have the owners of the company recognize that, it’s really validating.”
“Too many times, IT people have a tough time transitioning from IT work to managing and strategizing the IT function. If you want your firm to grow and have other leaders of the firm see it as an asset rather than a cost center, a peer group is essential. A peer group helps you help other people understand how IT can enable growth. That can be life changing for the firm.”
The strategic benefits of having a peer community are apparent, but Perkins says it’s not just about business. Many of the people in his peer community have become close personal friends – ones he and his wife travel to visit every year.
Get to know Steve
Steve grew up in Tulsa, OK and earned a degree in finance from Northeastern State and an MBA from Oklahoma State. He became interested in technology when his college roommate brought home demo IBM computers from his job at the Stillwater Typewriter Company. After graduation, Perkins went to work as an internal IT consultant for a small CPA firm in Oklahoma. While there, he learned networks and how to troubleshoot and build computers.
Eventually, he learned about an opportunity with another firm – a predecessor of HoganTaylor. In that role, he grew from a one-person IT department supporting 49 people to now leading a team of 10 IT professionals supporting more than 300 employees in five offices.
Steve has been married for 29 years and has three grown sons. Outside of work, he enjoys working on his acre property in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, hunting, fishing, traveling and cooking anything and everything over charcoal.
Is your firm’s technology aligned with business objectives?
The Boomer CIO Circle brings together CIO's helping one another to align their firm's strategy and technology at the highest levels as well as develop their leadership skills beyond technology. Complete an interest form today, and one of our Solutions Advisors will reach out to schedule a short call to discuss how your firm can invest in the growth and development in your IT department.