Kerrie Holley

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Kerrie Holley
Kerrie Holley, IBM Fellow.JPG
Self-portrait photograph
Kerrie Lamont Holley

(1954-09-07) September 7, 1954 (age 64)
Alma materKenwood Academy
B.A. DePaul University
Juris Doctorate DePaul University
Years active1976–present
OrganizationOptum Fellow

Kerrie Lamont Holley (born September 7, 1954) is an American software architect, author, researcher, consultant, and inventor and UnitedHealth Group, Optum Technology's first Technical Fellow. Holley is a retired IBM Fellow. Holley served as vice president and CTO at Cisco responsible for their analytics and automation platform. Holley is known internationally for his innovative work in architecture and software engineering centered on the adoption of scalable services, next era computing, service-oriented architecture and APIs. Holley is currently focused on AI in healthcare with an emphasis on machine learning and deep learning. Holley currently serves as a trustee board member for DePaul University.[1]


Early life and education[edit]

Born in 1954, Holley was raised by his maternal grandmother on Chicago's south side. While never having met his father and living in a neighborhood marked by poverty and gang activity, Holley defied social odds by channeling his love for math and science through his academic studies.[2] He became a student at the Sue Duncan Children’s Center[3] in 1961 where he was tutored in math and science.[citation needed] As he excelled in the program, he became a tutor at the center, later tutoring former United States Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan[4][5] and actor Michael Clarke Duncan.[6] After graduating from Kenwood Academy in 1972, Holley went on to receive his Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from DePaul University[7] in Chicago; followed by a Juris Doctor Degree in 1982 from DePaul University College of Law.[8][9] In 2016, Holley was conferred a Doctor of Humane Letters from DePaul University, College of Communication / College of Computing and Digital Media.


Holley joined IBM[10] in 1986 as an advisory systems engineer. In 1990 he became an analytics consultant with IBM’s consulting group, now called IBM Global Business Services.[11] He was appointed chief technology officer of IBM’s GBS, AIS and IBM's SOA Center of Excellence where he works with clients to create flexible applications that enable companies to respond to rapidly changing markets. SOA (service-oriented architecture) is a software design methodology based on structured collections of discrete software modules, known as services, that collectively provide the complete functionality of a large or complex software application.

For his work Holley was recognized as an IBM Fellow.[12] In 2000 he was appointed to IBM Distinguished Engineer and in that same year elected to IBM’s Academy of Technology[13] for his sustained contributions in designing high performance financial services applications. Holley is a co-patent owner of the industry’s first SOA method and SOA maturity model, which helps companies develop SOA-based applications and infrastructures. Holley's experience with cognitive services and analytics at IBM prompted Cisco to ask him to join, to mature their analytics software and automation portfolio focused on machine learning and streaming analytics. In 2016, the opportunity and challenge to contribute to UnitedHealth Group mission to help people live healthier lives and make health care work better made an easy decision for him to join Optum Technology. At Optum, Holley is focused on advancing UnitedHealth Group in several strategic imperatives: Artificial Intelligence with a focus on machine learning and deep learning, IoT, Genomics, and Cybersecurity. Holley leads the UnitedHealth Group Fellow, Distinguished Engineer, and Principal Engineer Technical Leadership Career Program.

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 2003 Black Engineer of the Year[14]
  • 2004 The 50 Most Important Blacks in Research Science [15]
  • 2005-2010 Naval Studies Board member [16]
  • 2006 IBM Fellow, 2nd African American to be appointed in 100 years
  • 2007 Most Important Blacks in Technology[17]
  • 2009 Most Important Blacks in Technology[18]
  • 2011 Red Herring 100 Global Award Finalist
  • 2012 IBM Master Inventor
  • 2016 Honorary Doctorate Degree and Commencement Speaker, DePaul University [19]
  • 2016 UHG and Optum Fellow


IBM Fellow[edit]

Holley was a Fellow in the Thomas J. Watson Research Center focused on scalable business services and API economy. Previously, he served as a CTO for IBM Global Business Services. In 2006 he was named an IBM Fellow, the company’s highest technical leadership position.[20] The Fellows program, founded by Thomas J. Watson[21] in 1962, promotes creativity among IBM’s most exceptional technical professionals. The IBM Fellow recognition is the most prestigious recognition in the IBM technical community where the criteria for appointment includes:

  • Distinguished, sustained record of technical achievements (usually a creative contribution to science and technology, landmarks to IBM) and a strong potential for continuing contributions to IBM's growth and stature.

Technical abilities considered are:

  • Originality and creativity
  • Inventive activities
  • Insight into the technical field of expertise
  • Consulting effectiveness and leadership
  • Technical publications
  • Professional society contributions

The criteria for appointment are stringent and take into account only the most significant technical achievements. Appointment as an IBM Fellow, is made by the chairman, president and chief executive officer, and is a career designation. Since 1963, 217 IBM Fellows have been appointed. Of these, 73 are active employees (as of May 2010).


In November 2010 Holley’s first book "100 SOA Questions: Asked and Answered"[22] was published. The book describes how enterprises can adopt service-oriented architecture. His next book "Is Your Company Ready for Cloud",[23] co-authored with Pam Isom, was released in 2012.


Holley owns several patents[24] ranging from how to maintain functionality when faced with component failure, to how to locate lost mobile devices and software engineering patents in service-oriented architecture. Holley is a co-patent owner[25] of the industry's first SOA development method and first SOA maturity model. The maturity model helps enterprises assess where they are on the road to adopting a Service-Oriented Architecture and provides a plan for achieving an SOA-based infrastructure.

Selected publications[edit]

  • Holley, Kerrie, and Ali Arsanjani. 100 SOA Questions: Asked and Answered. Pearson Education, 2010.

Articles, a selection:

  • Channabasavaiah, Kishore, Kerrie Holley, and Edward Tuggle. "Migrating to a service-oriented architecture." IBM DeveloperWorks 16 (2003).
  • Crawford, C. H., Bate, G. P., Cherbakov, L., Holley, K., & Tsocanos, C. (2005). T"oward an on demand service-oriented architecture." IBM Systems Journal, 44(1), 81-107.
  • Arsanjani, A., Ghosh, S., Allam, A., Abdollah, T., Ganapathy, S., & Holley, K. (2008). "SOMA: A method for developing service-oriented solutions." IBM systems Journal, 47(3), 377-396.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Washington Post First Person Singular Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education
  3. ^ Sue Duncan Children’s Center
  4. ^ Arne Duncan
  5. ^ Rotella, Carlo (2010-01-25). "On the Basketball Court with Arne Duncan". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
  6. ^ Michael Clarke Duncan
  7. ^ DePaul University
  8. ^ DePaul University College of Law Archived 2006-04-07 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ DePaul Advancement News
  10. ^ IBM
  11. ^ IBM Global Business Services
  12. ^ IBM Fellow
  13. ^ IBM’s Academy of Technology
  14. ^ [2]
  15. ^ 50 Most Important Blacks in Research Science
  16. ^ Naval Studies Board Former Members
  17. ^ [3]
  18. ^ [4]
  19. ^ DePaul College of Communications and Digital Media 2016 Commencement
  20. ^ IBM Fellow Program
  21. ^ Thomas J. Watson
  22. ^ 100 SOA Questions: Asked and Answered
  23. ^ Is Your Company Ready for Cloud
  24. ^ patents
  25. ^ co-patent owner

External links[edit]