About James

James-LaPlaine-Headshot-2016-bwAs Sr. Vice President & Chief Information Officer, James LaPlaine manages the solution, development, and operations organization that is responsible for the company’s overall IT infrastructure. James oversees AOL’s global data centers, public and private cloud services, employee productivity services, networks, systems, storage, application engineers, and NOC supporting all of AOL’s consumer facing applications and advertising services.

2017 brings about the final year of a 5-year initiative to transform AOL’s data center strategy and cloud computing initiatives and continued emphasis on IT cost transparency. Leveraging infrastructure as a forcing function, the goal of these initiatives are to build API enabled services, drive up system utilization, refactor applications for public cloud deployment, pay down technical debt, and build empathy across technical teams.

James is a board member for the non-profit Technology Business Management Council, and also currently serves on the Executive Technical Advisory Board for Intel Corporation, the Amazon Web Services CIO Advisory Council,  and is a member of the Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Americas Board of Advisors.

James is a strong advocate for Technology Business Management and has completed a metric driven, rules-based financial model that accounts for every dollar spent from central technologies and how this maps back to business decisions. James is actively involved in youth activities promoting the importance of STEM education and advancing women and minorities in technology and leadership roles.

Prior to AOL, his previous roles include consulting and service delivery for Perfect Sense Digital, where he filled in as interim CTO at SnagFilms, consulted at Scripps Network Interactive, and lead a team of developers replacing Internet Broadcasting’s content management system. At Strategic Technologies, James worked with Fortune 500 companies in the Research Triangle, NC area on operational best practices and systems integration.

James is an upstate New York native and holds a computer science degree from State University of New York at Oswego. He blogs about leadership, technology, tapping into a global workforce, and changing culture at mentaleffort.wordpress.com.


One thought on “About James

  1. Hi James,

    I hope you are keeping well.

    I have a bit of a long shot request but if you don’t ask you don’t get!

    I’m looking for a keynote speaker at a conference I am planning in Dublin on June 15th this year and I was wondering if you would be interested in giving it? If this idea appeals at all read on – otherwise you can step reading now and save your time.

    Still reading? Great! Here a bit more information that I hope will help you decide whether you would like to find out more.

    I am a member of the local chapter of Iasa Global (http://iasaglobal.org/). Basically, if you have not heard of it before, this is a group focused on developing the profession of IT Architecture – both in terms of the individual (training, accreditation etc), and formal industry recognition of the role (maybe one day we’ll have a “chartered IT architect”).

    Anyway, one part of what we do we run annual conferences for the IT architect community . I’m running the Irish based version of this (Europe wide focus). We are currently looking at a conference theme that focuses on the role of the IT architect in ensuring cost transparency in complex systems design. In my experience this is an area where IT architects traditionally have not played a deep role but one where I believe we need to get a lot better. I also believe that we are really well placed to do it. Architects are all about managing complexity and dependencies and I believe once we get our teeth into this challenge we will ensure that this is baked much deeper into digital services than it is today (for example I can see potential linkages between ATUM, operating model design, ITIL and microservices architectures … all key components potentially of a “digital organisation”).

    In this context, in my own personal search for information on cost transparency possible solutions/approaches/models I found TBM a couple of years ago and am now an avid follower ( ATUM in particular). And your blog series on this is probably my favorite description of the potential value of TBM, particularly as you share your real world experience of your own TBM journey in AOL. I’ve never heard you speak but I really like how you write (and think!), and I think you would be a great keynote speaker for this event.

    So, would you be interesting in sharing your thoughts with an audience of IT Architects? Is this a group you see value in influencing? If it is let me know. I would suggest a quick call to discuss first and if after that you are still interested we can move to making more concrete plans. Note – we’re at the early planning phase here so nothing is concrete yet.



    PS If Dublin is not an option logistically we may run something similar in the US at a later date so let me know either way as I think this conference theme is really important for our community.


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