Research Hub > CDW Exec-Connect: Getting IT Right
6 min

CDW Exec-Connect: Getting IT Right

CDW VP of Integrated Services, Tara Barbieri, explains why dance troupes and CDW coworkers have similar goals: Putting the spotlight back on the customer and giving them what they want.

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I have been a dance mom since my daughter, Elisabeth, was three years old. In one of her earlier dance showcases, the studio director choreographed a number in Peter Pan and forgot to cast a main character – but each student had already been assigned a role. She cautiously asked me to take the part and be on stage for five seconds to deliver a line and skip off so the rest of the company could continue in the already carefully choreographed number. I agreed, and in that moment, a tradition was born for me to cameo in every dance showcase since.

As the years progressed, I had a variety of parts from a helicopter parent in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown to the bookseller in Beauty and the Beast to a very convincing tree in The Lion King.  But the most frightening of these cameos came in 2018 when we performed Pete’s Dragon. The director had a surprise for me – I was to be Hoagy, and I was going to actually dance. Not a little skip around stage, a full number with the company as one of the main characters. There was a problem though because I’d acted plenty over the years, but I had never, ever danced.


That journey, to
“get it right”...
I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Tara Barbieri
CDW VP, Integrated Services 

A Standing Ovation

I was nervous about embarrassing myself, but I was more nervous about embarrassing my daughter. I really wanted to get it right. The first practice was less than encouraging that this was going to end well. I kept at it. Thankfully, instead of melting in a puddle of teenage humiliation, my daughter was nothing short of supremely supportive of me and taught me techniques to learn this (simple for her) dance. 

I put in the time, I messed up A LOT, we laughed, we got frustrated with my lack of coordination, we did something close to dancing, and then, we finally got it right. When the curtain opened on that night, the crowd of other moms (who by this point of our dance lives scan the stage eagerly awaiting my cameo) lost their minds when, no longer a supporting cast member, I was centerstage dancing in a full 3-minute choreographed number. It was a hit!

Tara Barbieri and her daughter smiling before a dance show

Give IT a Whirl

That journey, to “get it right” was both exciting and scary, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat. It’s not just the thrill of being centerstage and learning the craft, but the pride of knowing that I contributed to a positive outcome that left the audience thoroughly satisfied. I’ve been in those seats and as a dance mom and lover of the performing arts, I know how a well-run show can lift spirts. Neuroscientists have found that creating art reduces cortisol levels and viewing art reduces anxiety . I also know the feeling of dis-satisfaction when the performers miss the mark.

A satisfied customer is the same regardless of whether their purchase is a ticket for a dance recital, a burger from a fast-food restaurant or an IT infrastructure deployment. Their purchase means more to them than the tangible item or ephemeral service. For the customer, what matters is the outcome: a fun night out, a full belly, or a threat-free network. It’s the peace of mind in knowing that their time and money was well spent, and the satisfaction that the job was completed on time. At CDW, we understand that customers don’t just want Software Access Management. They want the new hire in accounting to be able to immediately log in to devices with the appropriate software configured so they can begin strategizing with the rest of the team on a project that will positively alter their market positioning.

Just like the journey I took to get the choreography right for the Pete’s Dragon performance, CDW is also on a journey to “Get IT Right” and the stakes couldn’t be any higher. Our customers and the solutions we provide have a direct influence to making a difference in our governmental affairs, educational and healthcare systems. 

In our changing world, the expectations from our customers and clients are higher than ever before, and it is important that we put our best foot forward to help them achieve their business goals. I’m not alone in that desire. At CDW we take pride not only in the expertise of our solution architects, and their ability to orchestrate technical wizardry across our full stack of solutions and services, but we know it is our connective tissue-- our teams of verticalized account managers, experienced CDW-badged industry folks, and project managers who design the tech activations that align with a customer’s vision. 

A Cast of Thousands

The joy I felt delivering a stellar performance with my daughter’s dance company is the same emotion I felt knowing the leadership team at CDW had reimagined an innovative business model to partner with customers and deliver solutions and services executed with concierge treatment and at scale. 

Since before 2019, CDW has been putting pieces and people in place to act on this plan. Most recently, CDW acquired some of the IT world’s most innovative companies: IGNW, Focal Point, Amplified IT, and Sirius Computer Solutions. We initiated these measures because we knew that as a systems integrator, our teams would be able to solve every technical problem our customers have from cybersecurity to software development to infrastructure.

And it’s been a hit! Our experts are adept at turning customer deployments into well-choreographed dances that receive ovation after ovation from customers. Want to see for yourself? There is no better way to experience the dedication and knowledge CDW coworkers have toward fulfilling customer outcomes than to attend CDW’s flagship event: The CDW Executive SummIT Series. In this hybrid, virtual and in-person environment you’ll be able to witness how our teams move in lockstep to bring together IT and line of business leaders with the goal of providing actionable insights, bold thought leadership and meaningful connections. 

At the June Executive SummIT in Las Vegas, customers will join panels to discuss their partnerships with CDW and describe how our experts helped them decentralize asset management to avoid supply chain challenges and standardize processes around device configurations.

The August Summit in Seattle will feature yours truly. I might not don a pair of tap or jazz shoes (we’ll see), but I will moderate a discussion about what tools and processes organizations need to manage the evolving workforce.

Finally, the October Summit in Chicago will put the future in focus, exploring the implications of our current technological trajectory and the tech you need to implement now to take advantage of everything that future emerging tech will have to offer. 

Won’t you join us this year, either virtually or in person? You’ll learn that when you partner with CDW you are the main attraction supported by a cast of thousands moving in tandem with one goal: Getting IT Right.

About the Author

Tara Barbieri

Tara Barbieri

Tara Barbieri is vice president of integrated technology orchestration for CDW. She is responsible for the development, management and governance of CDW services. Orchestration teams include Services Operations, Warranty & Renewals, Strategic Programs and our IP engine with R&D and CDW Built.

Tara joined CDW-G in September 2003. She served as director of program sales where her team handled demand generation, opportunity development, capture strategies, proposal preparation and contract negotiations for all segments of the CDW business. Prior to working at CDW-G, Barbieri’s career spanned nearly a decade, including roles as an account manager and concluding as director of contracts for Micro Warehouse, a direct reseller of branded IT products and services to business. 

Tara is an executive sponsor of the BRAVE business resource group focused on equity for LGBTQ+ coworkers and an active sponsor for CDW’s Women’s Opportunity Network, which helps to advance the careers of women in IT through mentoring, facilitated networking and formal leadership training. She is also the Chief Steward of the CDW Strava club where you can join and follow along with our monthly focus and friendly competition.

It's not too late to register and join Tara at the CDW Executive SummIT Series in August

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