Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
Commentary
1/2/2009
12:25 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
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Dell CIO Adds Huge New Business-Side Role

Underscoring the huge potential for customer-centric CIOs, Dell has expanded the responsibilities of CIO Steve Schuckenbrock by naming him as head of its newly formed Large Enterprise business unit. So let's replace CIO = Career Is Over with the new 2009 model: CIO = Capability Is Optimized.

Underscoring the huge potential for customer-centric CIOs, Dell has expanded the responsibilities of CIO Steve Schuckenbrock by naming him as head of its newly formed Large Enterprise business unit. So let's replace CIO = Career Is Over with the new 2009 model: CIO = Capability Is Optimized.And in the coming year, Schuckenbrock will certainly need optimized capabilities because in addition to running the new global Large Enterprise unit, he's retaining his responsibilities as CIO and as president of Dell's Global Services. While it is possible that Schuckenbrock will relinquish one or two of his three roles in the coming months as Dell's sweeping reorganization extends downward through other management ranks, under the current plan he's juggling all three jobs, a Dell spokesman said.

Beyond the significance of a CIO at a high-profile global corporation being named to head a major business unit, the expansion of Schuckenbrock's role is noteworthy for a couple of reasons specific to Dell. First, as Schuckenbrock explained recently to my colleague Chris Murphy, Dell sees a huge opportunity in remote infrastructure management, handled by Schuckenbrock's Global Services team. As Murphy wrote on Dec. 19:

Dell's making a sizable bet on services, spending about $500 million over the past 12 months, along with several acquisitions, to build capability for remote infrastructure management. That's where functions such as provisioning software, patch management, archiving, and antivirus updating are done by Dell remotely, automatically, and without software on the PC being managed.

Dell envisions this services push letting it repeat the PC glory days, where Dell's direct sales strategy and superior supply chain shook up an established industry. "If you look at the services industry today, it's archaic, it's labor intensive, it's not a very efficient supply chain, and it needs the same kind of disruption," Schuckenbrock says.

Second, company founder and CEO Michael Dell said the current reorganization is aimed at treating its customers in a very different way that underscores this new global approach, which will become an absolute top priority for Schuckenbrock. Here's how Michael Dell described that new approach in a company statement:

"We have laid the foundation for the transition from a global business that's run regionally to businesses that are really globally organized," said Michael Dell, chairman and CEO. Mr. Dell said the changes result from listening to customers and responding to their desire for faster innovation and globally standardized products and services. "Customer requirements are increasingly being defined by how they use technology rather than where they use it," said Mr. Dell. "That's why we won't let ourselves be limited by geographic boundaries in solving their needs."

So CIO/Global Services president/Large Enterprise business-unit head Steve Schuckenbrock will be on the front lines in connecting with global customers to drive that new perspective on *how* they use technology rather than *where* they use it -- a distinction that is becoming an essential objective for all global CIOs.

Meanwhile, we'll keep an eye out to see if the ongoing reorganization efforts at Dell bring about any change in Schuckenbrock's role, and for the full details on that reorganization effort, you can check out our news story as well as the original statement from Dell.

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