On Wednesday, at Cisco Live!, Doug Merritt, our senior vice president for Products, Solutions, and Industry Marketing had an engaging conversation with the CIO of Universal Parks and Resorts, Bill McCorey, to get his thoughts on managing an IT organization that services millions of guests everyday.
Doug Merritt in conversation with Bill McCorey, CIO of Universal
Doug Merritt in conversation with Bill McCorey, CIO of Universal

When Bill started at Universal he looked to increase the IT organization productivity through team work and setting priorities, so Bill pulled from a life-changing experience where his life literally hung in the balance.

Early in the morning when climbing Mt. Rainier, his team faced a challenge —  a large deep crevasse.  The climbing lead said, “Bill you are going to need to jump.”  Bill took a deep breath and leaped to the other side.  Missing his target by inches, he fell 20 feet down into the crevass until his rope team could hold the line.  While he dangled over the 10,000 foot drop for 20 minutes, his rope team scrambled to pull him back up to safety.  When they finally got Bill out of the void, the rope lead informed Bill that they needed to turn around: “okay we now need to jump back over the same crevasse.”  This time Bill made the target and the team headed back to base camp, where his wife bought the whole team a beer!

Bill learned a lot about relying on a team, taking risks, and setting priorities.  He used this experience to transform the IT team that delivers technology services to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure parks and hotels, Hard Rock HotelLoews Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando Florida to deliver new services that enhance the guest experience and hopefully help encourage them to extend their stay.

Bill credits teamwork for the success of the IT organization, which now completes 85% of projects every year.  His team works closely with business and creative teams at Universal Studios to deliver exciting rides, like the new 3D Transformers attraction that opened last week, to provide an experience that exceeds their guest expectations.

Crevasse on Mt. Ranier
Crevasse on Mt. Ranier

As the world becomes more connected, Bill also talked about the challenges his IT teams has to keep up with guest to deliver new kinds of experiences that make their time at the parks and in their hotels a more enjoyable…and drives profits for their investors.  Bill is all about delivering a positive journey for his customers.  From purchasing in their retail stores, eating in the restaurants, sleeping in their hotels, to enjoying the coolest rides in Orlando, Bill’s team is always striving for the new technology that will deliver the excellent experience.

We all saw the fruits of the Universal IT team’s behind-the-scenes teamwork to give us a really exciting experience at the #CLUS Customer Appreciation Event on Wednesday night at Universal as we cheered on Journey.


Marc Musgrove

Former Director, Internet of Things and Digital Industries PR

No Longer with Cisco