Microsoft's CIO is Rick Devenuti, a 14-year veteran of the company who started in accounting and later worked in sales, marketing, and then operations before assuming his current position three years ago. But Devenuti is more than "just" the CIO: He's also in charge of global operations, including manufacturing and distribution. So just how is it that a guy who's in charge of technology at one of the world's most technology-intensive companies can find/make/create the time to run global operations, too? How does Devenuti keep this dynamic and fast-changing global organization moving as flawlessly as possible while also running beta versions of Microsoft's new enterprise products in production environments? Where's the clarity of focus, the singularity of mission that we all hear so much about these days?
The secret, Devenuti says, is the future, wherein Microsoft has evolved into a new type of company that has wiped out the distinction between the businesspeople, who are over here, and the IT people, who are over there. Devenuti says he's working toward a time when "the IT people" are so fully woven into the day-to-day business and culture of the lines of business that they're no longer "the IT people," in thought or deed. Instead, they're highly focused businesspeople, but with a special talent for technology.
Further, though very different, evidence of the rapidly evolving role of the CIO and the IT organization comes from this month's issue of Optimize, the sister magazine of InformationWeek. In an article called "The CFO of IT," Optimize reports that as many as 20% of U.S. companies now have such positions in place: a CFO for the IT department (November 2002, p. 66;). As one example, the article says that financial-services firm Washington Mutual recently named longtime financial manager Douglas Wisdorf to become the dedicated CFO for newly appointed CIO Jeremy Gross. "I was looking for someone who knew the ins and outs of Washington Mutual," Gross says. "I also needed someone who understood the culture, someone who would be sensitive to the changes we're making and how to effect that change."
Which direction is the right one? Which seems like the way to take your company? If you'd like to hear more about Mott's ideas and execution, he and Dell president Kevin Rollins will be featured speakers in a few months at the InformationWeek Spring Conference, where the conference theme is Real-Time Business. Please check this site for more information on the conference and to register. We hope to see you there.
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