Just Exactly What Did The Big CIOs Do Last Year?

What A CIO Can Accomplish In A Year Just Might Surprise You…
What A CIO Can Accomplish In A Year Just Might Surprise You…

It Was A Tough Year

To say that last year was a rough year, might be the understatement of the decade. Every business seemed to be taking it on the nose and anytime you opened the paper or turned on the TV, it just seemed as though the bad news kept on coming. What’s interesting for all of you who dream of someday becoming a CIO, is that the best CIOs didn’t allow all of the bad news to discourage them – they still made progress…

Yes, I believe that we all know what the right thing to do is. However, sticking to our guns when it seems like the rest of the world is falling apart all around us is what separates the good CIOs from the not-so-good ones. What does it take to keep moving forward? Most of the best CIOs all agree that even in bad times an IT department should be an externally directed force that is focused on growth, customers, and creating market-facing leadership

The Best CIOs Still Made Progress

Amazingly enough, a global recession can be good for business. It shakes out the weaker companies and primes customers to start buying again once things pick up again. Bob Evans has been talking with some of the CIOs for the biggest global firms and he’s found out that they’ve been quite busy, despite the global recession. Here are some examples:

  • Liu Zhixuan, CIO of China’s Shenzhen Airlines: Liu has been working on what he calls a “service-chain integration” project for the airline. Once it’s in place, this IT solution will offer an end-to-end view of not just the airline’s business processes but it will also allow customers to be segmented. As an additional value to the airline, this project will automatically reset the outcomes of some of business processes based on a customer’s status.
  • Kim Tac Keuk, CIO of LG Electronics: : Since my current cell phone is made by LG, I’m always interested in what they are up to. During the past year Kim has lead their efforts to implement a global single-instance Oracle ERP system. Anyone who has been involved in one of these projects knows what a bear they can be even when they aren’t global in nature. This project started off by requiring an 18-month effort to map, integrate, and optimize 440 business processes across LG’s 83 subsidiaries. What I liked best about this accomplishment is that it gave the IT department intimate knowledge about how the company does business. Kim believes that it is important also because he says that in his company IT teams must be masters of all processes across the enterprise.
  • Tania Nossa head of IT for Alcoa Brazil: : Making Aluminum requires a lot of raw material and energy. Trying to create a successful company to do this is difficult enough even when you aren’t in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. Tania spent last year working to extend and upgrading the company’s connectivity. This might not seem like such a big deal, until you consider that it means running LAN cables down into mines in the Amazon rainforest – then you start to appreciate what he’s been able to accomplish.
  • Alan Matula, CIO of Royal Dutch Shell: : One of the things that many want-to-be CIOs forget is that very little of what a CIO does has anything to do with technology. For example, Alan spent part of his time last year signing over $4B in outsourcing contracts. Clearly he’s going to have a big job in the upcoming year managing and keeping track of each of those contacts. Oh, and during the same year he implemented one of the world’s largest unified communications solutions. That makes for a full year!

What All Of This Means For You

It’s all too easy to get distracted by what we read in the newspaper and see on TV. This past year was an excellent example of how bad news can flood our minds and distract us from what we really should be doing.

As Bob’s research has shown, the best CIOs didn’t allow a global recession to stop them from moving forward. Sure it may have impacted their budgets and slowed their projects down, but they still made progress.

Learning by example is how one can become a great CIO. Let what these CIOs accomplished this year serve as an example for you on how to keep your eye on the prize as you work towards become a great CIO.

Do you think these CIOs were correct in launching big projects during a global recession?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Remember when using offshored resources as a part of an IT department was such a big deal? These days it’s hard to find an IT department that doesn’t have at least some portion of its work done off shore. When you become CIO, offshoring is something that you’re going to have to deal with. It turns out that things aren’t as simple as they used to be…