– And now for something completely different,
here are some outstanding examples of women leaders
currently at work at Unisys.
Our journey starts in the United States with Kris Wilmunen
and Sue Dohm.
Carriers, ground handlers,
and forwarders use Unisys technology services to move
about 20 percent of the world’s air cargo.
About two hundred people
are engaged at Unisys supporting solution management,
product development, and service delivery of the cargo
solutions. They are mainly based in centers in the U.S.
and India, but also close to clients in many other countries.
The Unisys group are highly
skilled professionals, and about half are women.
Unisys migrated its air
cargo solutions to the cloud delivery model almost twenty
years ago. That approach is now first choice for some
carriers as it frees them to focus on delivering their
business while Unisys manages the technology to very
high service levels.
The approach also delivers
extra value through economies of scale across multiple
clients and by delivering new functionality to all clients
While Unisys has several
services, most clients use the Unisys Logistics Management
An enterprise-wide system,
LMS covers everything from inventory control, pricing,
and sales through operations, customs, and links to
Effectively, Kris Wilmunen,
Logistics Cloud Service Delivery Leader, delivers Unisys
air cargo clients’ most business-critical system
24/7 and the monthly application updates they all receive.
Kris has a strong focus
on process control and improvement as is required for
such a mission-critical role.
In that, she draws on
technology best practices, but also on the airline industry’s
well-known focus on monitoring tied to process improvement
to minimize the impact of any failure.
Given the key importance
Kris plays in clients’ businesses, she spends
much time discussing best practices with existing and
Prior to her current role,
Kris was the Senior Engineering Project Manager responsible
for the $20m development of the latest version of the
Unisys Logistics Management System, which is probably
the most advanced air cargo system in the industry.
In that role, she led
over 100 staff members for several years, most of which
were based in India.
Kris is certified as a
Project Management Professional and is a Certified Scrum
Dear reader, as you read
this story you may notice that Kris often refers to
a “she” when referencing the go-to person
who handles service delivery challenges.
It’s a rare pronoun
flip, and it certainly works for us . . .
Is In The Cloud
“Cloud Service works
to keep the service up and running on a 24/7 basis,”
“The service is
our clients’ cargo system. Without it, they are
not able to run their business.
“We have a process
to follow when an incident occurs.
“Once we are alerted
to an interruption in service, the LMS Cloud Service
operations team is engaged to triage the problem.
“If a major component
of the service is out, the service delivery manager
is brought into the incident management.
“She notifies the
impacted clients to let them know we are working on
the issue and provides an estimate of the time it will
take to resolve the problem.
“She will also open
a teleconference bridge that clients can join if they
want live updates on the resolution.
“She will send email
updates as needed to keep the clients informed of the
“Depending on the
type of problem, major incident management may be engaged
to assemble any additional resources outside of the
LMS Cloud Service team that are needed to resolve the
problem in the fastest time possible.
“The goal during
an incident is to get the system back as soon as possible.
“The team is very
good at minimizing the time our system is down during
“Frankly, our biggest
challenge is meeting clients’ expectations in
turning around answers to questions regarding the LMS
solution, and resolving defects they report in the software.
“We are continuously
improving our service delivery and meeting service level
goals. Yet it seems that clients raise their expectations
just about as fast.”
Is LMS Best?
“The LMS solution
is the functionally rich solution in the logistics market.
That makes delivering the LMS Cloud Service very rewarding.
We can meet the needs of both our largest and smallest
clients with the same solution. The solution is highly
configurable to meet the requirements of clients around
the globe. The team that delivers the LMS Cloud Service
is also best in class and very dedicated in the work
they do. We have hundreds of years of logistics experience
within the team, and that enables us to provide top-notch
“Often times we
are questioned on how we are able to run LMS in a Software
as a Service (SaaS) or cloud model.
“We run one code
base of the application for all of our clients.
“Also we update
the production version of the application on a monthly
basis without an outage to our clients in nearly all
cases. “We have well-tuned processes to pull this
off successfully,” she said.
An IT Career?
Kris confesses :
“I chose an IT career
kind of by accident.
“I chose to major
in computer science when a friend of mine mentioned
that’s what he was thinking of majoring in.
“I thought it sounded
interesting even though I had never touched a computer
until I got to college.
“I stuck with it.
My friend ended up being a history major.
“What are the pluses?
“The career opportunities
are wide and varied in IT.
able to work in all facets of the software development
life cycle including requirements, design, coding, testing,
and project management.
“Today in IT you
can focus on the areas of most interest.
“For me, that is
requirements management and project management with
an overall interest in the software development process.
“I enjoy helping
teams deliver faster, and with good quality.”
Kris is a great professional,
but she is also a wife and mom.
“It’s a difficult
balance as there is always more work to do than hours
in the day.
“When my children
were young, I was able to work from home, so that was
a big help in maintaining a healthy work/life balance.
“Now that they are
grown, the challenge is to find the balance between
work and making time to take care of myself.
“It’s a work
Wide Open To Women
found a challenge specific to being a woman in the IT
“I know that women
are underrepresented in IT.
never stopped to think I was in a minority in any way,
nor was I ever treated that way.
“IT is a great career
and is open to both women and men.
“Simply put, the
career opportunities are great.
“You can work as
a business analyst, solution designer, code developer,
tester, project manager—the list goes on.
rate in IT is very low in the state of Minnesota.
“There are many
IT companies looking to increase the number of women
in their workforce.
“So if the interest
is there, male or female, I’d recommend a career
I Could Change One Thing
“It would be great
to reduce the complexity of the services we deliver.
“There are many
moving parts in the infrastructure and in the application.
technologies are involved. It’s a lot to stay
on top of and keep up and running every day.
“We do a great job
at delivering the service, but it could be simplified.
We’re working on that,” Kris Wilmunen said.
Dohm manages the team that develops and supports the
Logistics Management System (LMS).
With the application used
by over a dozen carriers to manage their businesses,
the team has a continuous stream of new developments
to meet both business and regulatory changes.
Sue’s team delivers
about five significant functional enhancements every
month, some of which are relatively small while others
are complex and take months to build.
The team also provides
fixes and code updates to LMS in order to leverage technology
Sue earned a Masters of
Science in mathematics, focusing on computer science,
from Northeastern University in Boston. Since then she
has received a wide range of professional training.
“The big ideas for
product development come from the Unisys services team
and from our clients, the airlines that we host.
“Much of what we
develop is to support challenges and opportunities in
an industry that is constantly changing.
“The AIRCARE program
is a cooperative venture between Unisys and our clients.
Twice a year, AIRCARE members convene at Unisys Cargo
User Group (UCUG) meetings.
“Each member submits
new features it would like to see added to LMS, and
the entire AIRCARE community votes on which ones should
be implemented,” said Sue.
Work At Unisys?
“My husband and
I moved to Minneapolis after graduation because there
were a lot of tech opportunities in the area for mathematics
and computer science.
“We applied to several
interesting companies in the area and both were offered
jobs at Unisys in the growing airlines division—I
on the Cargo side and he on the Passenger side.
“We both joined,
excited to be working in the airline industry for a
well-respected company with travel opportunities and
a lot of growth potential.”
Across The Water
“There is a lot
of coordination involved with development, and having
the team split between the U.S. and India is a challenge.
“We manage it with
a lot of emails and with calls during the least inconvenient
“There are times
when travel for meetings is required, but those are
“Unisys offers so
many unique products, but the Logistics Management System
(LMS) is what I am most proud of because I have been
part of its development for my entire 28 year career
at Unisys. LMS provides more than just core logistics
capabilities. It goes beyond the scope of typical logistics
applications to provide a comprehensive and flexible
solution that can be integrated with other applications
to empower our clients to lead in a rapidly changing
“There are a lot
of women at Unisys because there are so many different
roles at Unisys that appeal to both men and women.
“Unisys does an
excellent job recruiting and retaining the most talented
people for the job, regardless of their gender.
“The thing that
surprises me most about product development is the ability
of the team to satisfy the constant demand for quicker
and cheaper solutions.
“I have been doing
product development for 30 years, and the pace has increased
substantially with the frequently changing industry
and customer needs.
“With new tools
and improved processes introduced regularly, and with
the ability to interface quickly with other applications,
we have been able to deliver faster and cheaper solutions.
“But the need for
innovation never stops as we’re continuously looking
for new ways to improve.”
We Change One Thing?
“I would welcome
a way to reduce the number of emails I get without losing
sight of what I need to be aware of.
“Working with an
international team, I typically start my workday with
at least 50 new emails.
“That number grows
quickly throughout the day, with new emails coming in
during times when I am in meetings and unable to provide
With Women Versus Men
“In my experience,
I have found no difference in working with women or
“Most of the North
American team that I work with today are the same people
I have worked with for 20+ years and we all work extremely
“Even with the newer
members of our team, I continue to find no difference
in working with the women or men.”
Sue Family Time—left
to right, son Ian, revenue forecasting at Delta
Air Lines; Sue; daughter Zoe, student at University
of North Carolina; and husband Phil Dohm, Implementation
Design Lead at DHL Supply Chain.
“I have to admit
that my life is heavily weighed down on the work side.
I work a lot of long hours.
“My husband does
too. To relax, we try to get away for short trips when
“I also enjoy games
(especially cards) and cooking.
“And when I know
that my inbox is below 200 emails, I reward myself by
watching a good Netflix series, usually a British one.
“All that said,
I would absolutely recommend what I do to a sister or
daughter who is interested in cargo application development
(mine are not).
“It’s a fast
paced and exciting industry with abundant opportunities
worldwide for both men and women.”