Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
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2/8/2010
08:50 AM
Bob Evans
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GM Ex-CIO Szygenda To iRise

Ralph Szygenda, General Motors' longtime CIO who retired late last year, is joining rapidly growing software firm iRise as a strategic consultant to create a CIO advisory council focused on defining and leading IT transformation and understanding the potential of enterprise visualization in those large-scale efforts.

Ralph Szygenda, General Motors' longtime CIO who retired late last year, is joining rapidly growing software firm iRise as a strategic consultant to create a CIO advisory council focused on defining and leading IT transformation and understanding the potential of enterprise visualization in those large-scale efforts.In an iRise announcement early this morning, Szygenda said he sees huge potential in enterprise visualization as a strategic tool for CIOs looking to complete complex projects in less time for less money and with fewer followup problems. Consistent with that view, iRise has been the leader in that field for the past few years, and Szygenda's extensive experience with such products as well as his reputation and set of contacts make him an ideal executive to lead such an effort.

"Visualization enables CIOs to transform their IT organizations by fundamentally taking the risk out of global sourcing and application rationalization strategies," Szygenda said in the press release. "The result is that the business is transformed as well."

The association with iRise will also allow Szygenda to pursue two of the primary issues he pursued during his time as GM's CIO: innovation, and better strategic communication between IT and business units.

(For a personal recollection of Szygenda's impact and achievements as global CIO at GM, please see this article we posted when he announced his intention to retire from GM: How CIO Szygenda Helped GM Get Out Of The Fortune-Telling Business.)

"I believe that innovation is the new imperative for the next several years," Szygenda said. "There is pent-up demand for a partnership between business and IT that delivers innovation and drives new revenue opportunities. Many companies will have to rationalize and reboot their business processes in order to succeed with these initiatives. Visualization is the common theme that empowers companies to deliver faster, with less cost and risk."

From my own perspective, I believe this is a masterful bit of work by iRise, which has assembled an impressive list of corporate clients in the last few years (UPS, FedEx, GM, and many others) and leveraged their endorsements to help create and then evangelize the relatively new field of enterprise visualization. Szygenda's credibility and experience and Rolodex (can we still refer to that ancient artifact?) will give iRise enhanced access to CIOs and other top-level decision-makers.

And I can personally attest to the power and value of Ralph Szygenda and his ideas relative to advisory boards as he has been an extremely important member of InformationWeek's Editorial Advisory Board for more than a decade. He's also been recognized as InformationWeek's Chief of the Year, and would make anyone's list of top big-company CIOs in the world.

In connecting some of his other transformational experiences with what iRise offers, Szygenda said in the press release, "CAD was a fundamental agent of change for manufacturing companies 20 years ago. I see the same transformational opportunity for visualization in the world of IT by applying visualization. I foresee that Global 2000 firms, global systems integrators, and enterprise software companies alike will experience unprecedented improvements in productivity, innovation and time to market of business software."

iRise CEO and co-founder Emmet B. Keefe III said he and his colleagues are "honored and excited" to gain Szygenda's "incredibly powerful voice" in discussing the potential of enterprise visualization.

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