Waste Management may be in the business of managing and reducing waste, but it's really a transportation and logistics company with 20,000 trucks driving 100,000 routes daily, according to Puneet Bhasin, 49, senior vice president and CIO.

However, when Bhasin joined Waste Management two years ago, the Houston-based company lacked world-class logistics capabilities. So he made a bold proposition to install ruggedized tablet computers on every truck to capture real-time data that could improve operational efficiency and customer service. He also established a new Decision Sciences Group within IT to focus on routing optimization, operations research, industrial engineering and statistical data analysis, and he acquired another routing optimization company to augment their work.

"It was a very significant investment -- hundreds of millions of dollars. A lot of work needed to go into convincing people, and communicating to everybody from the CEO up to [the executive] board that this was an investment with a return," Bhasin says. He won over skeptics by explaining the project's economies of scale.

Greg Yorston, vice president of collection operations and logistics, says Bhasin has instilled a sense of confidence in both IT and operations. He adds that Bhasin "actively sought input from the field" and came up with a strategic road map.