CIO’s Feel the Earth Moving Under Their Feet
March 18, 2010 2 Comments
In his recent CIO Magazine article, Thomas Wailgum again emphasized a point I feel strongly about — IT must align with the business not with technology. In the 80′s and 90′s many an IT professional, from CIO to programmer, built a career around a technology they have mastered, feel comfortable with and often feel passionate about. I have seen IT Directors tremble with rage at the thought of bringing anything other than Unix-based solutions into the company. There are countless Java bigots now and legions of open source zealots.
The passion extends to applications such as ERP. I know many otherwise-reasonable CIOs who can’t imagine ever implementing software that didn’t originate in Walldorf or Redwood Shores.
Is the biggest really the best – especially after 25+ years? Think about General Motors and AIG. They were the largest in their industries. Did they generate meaningful innovation on a regular basis? Did they provide continuous value to their customers?
Do More with Less
IT departments are continually asked to do more with less. Each dollar spent comes under more scrutiny. It is becoming really difficult to maintain heavily-customized on-premise solutions, much less innovate with them.
Enlightened (or battle-hardened) CIOs know that they serve the business – whether it is manufacturing, health care, retail sales or whatever. They find the best fit, most cost-effective solutions from reliable vendors.
SaaS/Cloud Computing Can’t Be Ignored
More and more, the answer to the CIOs challenges lies in the cloud. On the surface, who would have expected the CIO of Inteva Products (the $1B+ spinoff of auto parts maker Delphi) to turn to the cloud for his whole IT infrastructure? Once the head of an SAP user group, Dennis Hodges could have outsourced the existing SAP infrastructure to a major SI and called it a day. Instead, he was convinced there was a better way for Inteva. Dennis replaced SAP and 30 other business applications with Plex Online. He put email and other services in the cloud as well.
On the other hand, other similar-sized manufacturers down the street from Inteva are struggling to support home-grown shop floor systems, monolithic ERP and a host of “bolt-on” applications.
My bet is on Inteva, with a lean, agile IT infrastructure focused on supporting the business needs — all at a fraction of the IT budgets of its competitors.
I’m just sayin’…