Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

Four years ago, IBM set out a vision for building a Smarter Planet. Behind this promise was the idea that the world could become a more interconnected, smarter and better place to live. IBM Fellow and Global Business Services CTO Kerrie Holley  is an example of one person who has made a difference in making the planet smarter.

Kerrie grew up in the South Side of Chicago—an area known for its crime and poverty. He never knew his father, knew very little of his mother and was raised by his maternal grandmother. Fifty years ago, one might have predicted a young Kerrie to fall victim to drugs, gangs and other negative influences in his environment. Instead, he excelled as a student at the Sue Duncan Children’s Center, where he would later tutor U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Academy Award nominee Michael Clarke Duncan. There, Kerrie developed a passion for science and math, which he would later use to earn a Bachelor’s of Science in mathematics and Juris Doctorate from DePaul University.

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“Transformational education enables kids and adults to break patterns of poverty and thinking. I had this with Sue Duncan’s style of teaching and education. She continues to run a children’s center in Chicago that helps kids break generational patterns,” says Kerrie.

What makes Kerrie a leading innovator at IBM is that he knows first-hand how to take what you have to work with and then make it better. As part of the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant program, Kerrie has worked with New Orleans to make it a better place to live. Following Hurricane Katrina, the city’s population dropped from 600,000 to 350,000. With fewer residents, federal funding was soon cut, challenging city officials to re-work their internal structure under a tight budget.

Kerrie led a team that helped New Orleans to establish a single comprehensive view of all the information coming in from government, non-profit and private organizations. Using business analytics technology, the city was able to identify areas of improvement, such as transportation policies that effect economic development, while providing transparency to the public. 

As an IBM Fellow, Kerrie is often dubbed one of the pioneers of service-oriented architecture (SOA). To explain SOA to a non-technical audience, Kerrie uses a Legos analogy. Much like his work in New Orleans, organizations have the ability to take software assets – the Legos –  and use them to build a solution. As new challenges emerge, the Legos can be restructured into a new solution, without having to take apart the system or begin from scratch.

An example of this is illustrated by IBM’s work in the banking industry.  IBM had custom-built investment management software solutions for Swiss private banks.  With private banking now growing in new markets like Hong Kong and Singapore, IBM is able to take these proven solutions and quickly assemble them for other banks anywhere else in the world.

Earlier this month, The Banker’s named IBM GBS “Best Technology Consultancy” at its Innovation in Banking Technology Awards. People like Kerrie can be attributed for this recognition for always looking beyond the norm by inspiring individuals, cities and the world to become a smarter, better place to live.

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July 5, 2012
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Kerrie. You are one awesome person. Thanks for sharing your story. But just as importantly; thanks for being an IBMer.

Posted by: Mike Blansett
July 2, 2012
11:46 am

You are an inspiration Kerry!

Posted by: Abhishek
June 29, 2012
12:47 pm

Wow! I am humbled and honored by all the comments from everyone. A BIG thank you.

Posted by: Kerrie
June 29, 2012
11:29 am

Impressive Story Kerrie…congratulations

Posted by: Sandra Haynes
June 29, 2012
4:34 am

‘how to take what you have to work with and then make it better’ – truly motivating and inspiring…makes one think ….this is really a fantastic acheivement ..congrats Kerrie!

Posted by: Nilanjana Ghosh
June 29, 2012
3:25 am

Hi Kerrie, your story is very inspiring. You definitely embodies a Smarter Planet.

Posted by: Mina Gracia Altarez Hugo
June 29, 2012
12:33 am

Hello Kerry,
No words to say.My silent admiration for your great work.

Posted by: Umakanth
June 28, 2012
10:25 pm

Kerrie, Congratulations. A inspiring story and proud to see how IBM and IBMers are making a difference.

Posted by: Evon Ang
June 28, 2012
5:29 pm

Thanks Kerrie for being such a leader

Posted by: Jim Bell
June 28, 2012
1:18 pm

Kerrie, thanks for sharing your life and your talents with IBM and with the rest of the world. And as a native New Orleanian, I’d like to especially thank you and the whole IBM team for the work you’ve done and are doing to help rebuild one of the greatest cities in the world. This is a great opportunity for New Orleans to return triumphantly from the tragedy of the storm…

Posted by: John Boquet
June 28, 2012
10:56 am

The W3 ariticle reminds me how fortunate we are to be part of an organization that has truely outstanding people and leaders as remarkable as Kerrie.

Posted by: David K Nichols
June 28, 2012
10:47 am

I had the privilege of working with Kerrie in the Western Region when GBS was BCS. His contribution to the business has just continued to evolve – bringing technology and guidance to all he meets. Congratulations on a stellar career and the difference you have brought to our teams, the corporation and all our clients!

Posted by: Tedi Wells
June 28, 2012
9:27 am

Great profile, story, and contribution!

Posted by: Inhi Cho
June 28, 2012
9:06 am

What a fantastic expose on a great IBM’er… Congratulations Kerry and thanks for everything you do for our clients and our people.

Posted by: Adam Klaber
June 28, 2012
6:44 am

Another great example of the reason why so many colleagues–including myself–feel so inspired by Kerrie to take up the challenges in our projects to deliver the best for our clients in the field of Smarter Planet, Business Analytics, SOA and more.

Posted by: Geert-Willem Haasjes
June 28, 2012
4:11 am

Congratulations Kerrie Proud to be an IBMer

Posted by: dong
June 28, 2012
4:03 am

Great work, you are a real inspiration

Posted by: Rejis V Jose
June 28, 2012
3:38 am

Great Job Kerrie..Your such an inspiration to many.

Posted by: Prince
June 28, 2012
2:42 am

Congratulations! Your story from your life and the Smarter Planet solution for New Orleans is truly inspectional, and motivational. And readers of this story will transform in their thinking and to believe in “Anything is Possible”.
Land of Lincolns is greatly proud of you. :)

Posted by: Mithun Narisety
June 27, 2012
8:06 pm

Great Job!! Very inspiring

Posted by: Deirdre ruth
June 27, 2012
1:38 pm

I had the privilege of working with Kerrie on the GBS/SWG education program for SOA. It was a pleasure and a great learning experience for me. Keep up the great work Kerrie!

Posted by: Donna Mueller
June 27, 2012
12:49 pm

Congratulations on your recognition Kerrie! Very inspiring! Great article.

Posted by: Kawajalyn Collins
June 27, 2012
12:45 pm

Congratulations Kerrie! I had the opportunity to work with you while at the SOA team, and it was impossible not to feel motivated (and “accelerated”!). What an inspirational story yours is, keep pushing forward because you sure are making a difference.

Posted by: Diether Lintz
June 27, 2012
11:48 am

Dear Kerrie,
Congratulation, for your vision of a Smarter Planet.
I never been in new Orleans, but I am interested by what you’v done because my city often ripped by Hurricanes.

Posted by: Art Lab
June 27, 2012
11:39 am

Truly inspirational story and one that makes me proud to be an IBMer. Continue to lead the way and makes us proud Kerrie!

Posted by: Beth Smith
June 27, 2012
10:59 am

Truly inspiring and a powerful example of the life-changing impact of strong mentors and innovative learning programs! Thank you, Kerrie… from Janis Morariu, a very appreciative IBM Distinguished Engineer for Learning Innovation Strategy & Design

Posted by: Janis Morariu, Ph.D.
June 27, 2012
10:54 am

What an inspirational story! Kerrie, you make me proud to be an IBMer!

Posted by: Francine Anthony
June 27, 2012
10:23 am

Thanks for supporting education in a big way.
It helps everyone to achieve their goals.

Posted by: Pravin
June 27, 2012
10:14 am

Congrats on the well deserved recognition Kerrie. Its good to see the great minds and achievements of individuals within IBM highlighted, especially those that give back to our communities and are focused on creating and driving improvements to our planet. Thank you Kerrie, you are an inspiration not only to me, but I’m sure to many others.

Posted by: Shannon D. Jacobs
June 27, 2012
9:36 am

What an inspirational story Kerrie!

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Kerrie on projects within GBS SOA. He’s a brilliant and inspirational leader!

Posted by: Ed Eaton
June 27, 2012
9:21 am

WOW, what a great inspiration you are….and what a bleesing to be a part of a great company….great job Kerrie!

Posted by: sharon nugin
June 27, 2012
9:15 am

Congrats Kerry,

I enjoyed reading your story; It’s encouraging and inspiring. I appreciate that you are taking a leadership role in assisting with the enhancement of my home town. Makes me proud to be an IBMer and to know the company I work for is a part of rebuilding New Orleans. Again, congrats!!!

Posted by: Dee-Dee Grayson
June 27, 2012
9:10 am

Excellent article Kerry and congartulations on your great success.

From your fellow Chicago South sider, Lindblom Tech HS & DePaul Math grad, Carl.

Posted by: Carl Haithcox
June 27, 2012
8:58 am

Very inspiring story. Kerrie, keep up the GREAT work with passion and vision!

Posted by: Charlotte Hopkins
June 27, 2012
8:53 am

Kerrie, a very, very inspiring story and I am happy that we worked together in the CIO study and shortly on Future-of-Legacy. Which, unfortunately hasn’t gone anywhere from back then. Nevertheless it is a thrill to see you featured on w3 and it is just GREAT to read what you did for New Orleans. Talking about role models…a perfect one.


Posted by: Ton Engbersen
June 27, 2012
3:55 am

Outstanding story. Kerrie — It was great meeting you when we worked on the CIO study. I loved getting to know more about your background and the work you are doing with New Orleans.

Posted by: Bevin Maguire
June 27, 2012
2:28 am

I had the fortunate opportunity to work with Kerrie at a customer in Mexico City several years ago; and I enjoyed both watching him in action with the customer, and then discussing wide-ranging non-IT topics over our Mexican buffet dinner. Business trips don’t come much better than that — thanks mate!

Posted by: Tom Menner
June 27, 2012
2:20 am

Great job, you made IBM feel proud , All the best

Posted by: Harish
June 27, 2012
2:17 am

Great job kerrie, You made IBM feel proud

Posted by: Harish
June 27, 2012
2:16 am

Great Job Kerrie Good

Posted by: Hari
June 27, 2012
2:01 am

What a great success story from a resourceful IBMer. Many congrats to you Kerrie ! Your achievement in your life against all odds is truly an inspiration and big motivation for todays generation.

Posted by: Manohar NK
June 27, 2012
1:54 am

So amazingly inspiring . Kerrie ..YOU LEAD ! This is what authentic and transformational leadership is all about .We have heroes who we need to celebrate ..

Posted by: Vanita Sharma
June 27, 2012
1:53 am

Dear Kerrie,
First of all Congratulation and thank you for this inspiration that any responsible person can do any thing if he has a dream and confidence. You are a a leader. You are not only creates a smarter planet but also believes us for making a better planet.

Thanks and hats off to you.

Posted by: Shouvik Das
June 26, 2012
9:26 pm

Kerrie, your success is truly an inspiration to many. You are the real winner

Posted by: Kyungmi Ahn
June 26, 2012
7:23 pm

Great to see you featured on w3 — you are a leader, innovator and inspiration. You captivate audiences as you did recently in your discussion of the next era of computing at the Napa Executive Conference. Thank you for all that you do for IBM and our clients.

Posted by: Sheila Condon
June 26, 2012
7:22 pm

Dear Kerrie

Thank you for your strong and logical leadership also with very warm care of us in New Orleans.
As this article accesses your book about SOA is so easy to read through for us non technical back ground and non English native speakers.
I hope I could have another opportunity to support you.
Thank you always

Posted by: Hisakazu Okamura
June 26, 2012
7:17 pm

Congratulations Kerrie! Reading your story is amazing and an inspiration to current and future IBMer’s. Makes me glad to have joined a company (4 months ago) with resources like you.

Posted by: Osedra Siler
June 26, 2012
6:44 pm

Way to go Kerrie! You continue to be a source of amazement and inspiration. It’s people like you who make IBM a great company. Taking the time to help others at IBM grow and setting a shining example for others is yet another way you help make us a stronger company and help us help each other and the planet.

Posted by: Frank Yeh
June 26, 2012
6:01 pm


I would like to say “THANK YOU” for taking the interest in my hometown New Orleans to make it a better city. You’re a true calling to a city that was ripped of its history due to Hurricane Katrina. Again,thank you and God bless you on your journey in making a better planet for us all…

Posted by: Charlotte Drumgoole
June 26, 2012
5:47 pm

I’ve had the pleasure of hearing you speak at several client events and have heard clients comment on how they could listen to you for hours! Thanks for being a leader and an inspiration! May God continue to bless you.

Posted by: Diane Hill
June 26, 2012
5:27 pm

Kerrie, congratulations on a great achievement!

Posted by: Pat Sorenson
June 26, 2012
3:53 pm


Posted by: carrole francois
June 26, 2012
3:16 pm

Kerrie, a job well done!!! As a former teacher, there were many days when I had to work with what I had to make it better so I can truly relate.

Posted by: Nieka Brown-Robinson
June 26, 2012
2:58 pm

Kerrie, you are truly an inspiration to many. I hope your story is being shared outside of IBM as well.

Posted by: Lisa Somner-Sams
June 26, 2012
2:52 pm

very inspiring. Proud to be part of a company that recognize such achievement.

Posted by: Anthony Bandaras
June 26, 2012
2:35 pm

Congratulations Kerrie Proud to be an IBMer

Posted by: Surkhab Sheerazi
June 26, 2012
2:28 pm

Thrilled to have Kerrie as a co-author on IBM Press book publishing this month – Is Your Company Ready for Cloud?

Posted by: ellice uffer
June 26, 2012
2:14 pm

Congratulations Kerrie. You shows that we can do much more then we think that is possible to do. You are an inspiration for everyone. God bless you! Gil (Global Administration)

Posted by: Maria Gilvaneide Silva
June 26, 2012
1:50 pm

I remember a flight from San Francisco to Austin more than ten years ago at which I happened to be seated beside Kerrie. The long conversation we had was among the most memorable and enlightening of my career. Wonderful to read here of his continuing contributions.

Posted by: Dan Coffey
June 26, 2012
1:36 pm

” how to take what you have to work with and then make it better” —– very inspiring, thanks for introducing this amzizng and inspiring individual.

Posted by: Raji Pedapudi
June 26, 2012
1:09 pm

Great Job Kerrie. I was also born on Chicago’s South Side about 50 years ago. It is alwas great to see another Chicagoan making a positive impact in the world. I’m proud of you.

Posted by: Monay Mack
June 26, 2012
12:21 pm

Way to go Kerrie! You are a role model to not just IBMers but to the world at large.

Posted by: Asim Soofi
June 26, 2012
11:06 am

I met Kerrie over 10 years ago. He has the passion and vision to solve the most complex problems and bring innovative solutions that distinguishes IBM from other companies. This story reveals something else. He not only helps achieve the goal of creating a smarter planet but he is also making a better planet. Thanks Kerrie.

John A. Simone
IBM Distinguished Engineer

Posted by: John A Simone
June 26, 2012
10:59 am

Great efforts and news worth sharing. Your success is an inspiration to many within the IBM community and I’m sure outside IBM.

Posted by: Willie Washington
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November 30, 2014
8:54 pm

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Posted by: レディース gluttons
August 7, 2012
12:11 am

[...] See related links: Meet IBMer Kerrie Holley and his work in New Orleans [...]

Posted by: Rebuilding a Greener City, One Building at a Time « A Smarter Planet Blog
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