Strategic CIO // Team Building & Staffing
Commentary
1/7/2009
10:13 AM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
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Global CIO: A 10-Point Plan For Success In 2009

Pat the CIO offers his pointed plan to achieve better ways of operating, calling it a comprehensive plan that needs support to succeed.

6. With regard to some of our applications, we need to stop talking about how wonderful the SaaS model could be, and actually start the process of moving some of our noncore apps out of house and over to some of the proven SaaS players. This stuff isn't fringe science anymore -- as I've noted in various reports, big global companies are rapidly adopting the SaaS model for HR, finance, purchasing, and more.

But -- and this is not a complaint or an excuse, but just a statement of fact -- every time I've tried to make this happen in the past six months, I've been stonewalled by the Legal Department because they say the guarantees of privacy from the SaaS vendors I've selected aren't tight enough. I won't bore you with the details, Jim, but this objection is absurd -- and on top of that, the paralysis from legal is costing us about $200,000 per month.

7. In your letter to me, you reiterated your desire that I cut the portion of the IT budget devoted to maintenance from 80% to 60%. As I've outlined in various letters and reports to you and the Executive Committee, a key element in my plan to make that happen is the hiring of a VP of infrastructure. This person will be an expert in fleshing out my plans for the type of architecture we'll need to have to fulfill our strategic plan of moving from being a regionally fragmented and traditional manufacturer of commodities to becoming a global provider of custom products, services, and market expertise.

Yet, each time I've come to you for formal approval, you've asked me to wait another few weeks or a month. Well, it's been almost 6 months now, and I have to ask you with all due respect: do you intend to ever let me hire this vital new person? I'll match the hours I put in against anybody in this company, Jim, but in spite of that, I can't do the job of two high-level people, so we really need to resolve this.

8. One of the key building blocks in reallocating IT budget dollars out of maintenance and into innovation or savings or both is the ability to know with great precision how people are spending their time. That way, we can ensure they're not falling back on old habits and spending time on projects that aren't driving the company forward. But while I gave the HR folks a few presentations on this and have given them a few specific applications to evaluate, they keep telling me that it's too difficult or confusing to have various time-tracking systems for various departments. Frankly, Jim, this is the sort of backward thinking that will kill us, and I need your help and support to root it out.

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