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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

Extreme IT Makeover, Enterprise Edition

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A lot of analysts and conference speakers talk about "business-IT alignment," but it is such an amorphous, feel-good concept that actually documenting it is next to impossible.

Until now, that is. Ed Scannell over at SearchCIO just published a compelling interview with Subaru CIO Brian Simmermon, who has made IT-business alignment a tangible reality within his organization.

The key to alignment is knowledge. The first thing Simmermon and his team did upon arrival in 2005 is sit down and map out every system across the expansive Subaru enterprise. Then, with this blueprint in hand, Simmermon's team went through and consolidated and streamlined. The warehouse management system was upgraded, separate ERP systems were consolidated into a single system, and a single CRM system was brought in to repleace the "multiple, unconnected CRM modules" that the company previously had.

The company's IT makeover was part of a three-year plan that quickly gained credibility among senior executives, Simmermon recounted. The ability to achieve quick wins built this support. "Day 1 support [from the C-suite] lasts only as long as the day after you deliver the system. So, I didn't come in focusing on a three-year project that would be delivered in three years. You need to deliver almost right away," Simmermon said.

In this blog (formerly known as "SOA in Action"), Joe McKendrick examines how BPM and related business and IT approaches can promote business transformation.

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more


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