And even systems changes go through the pmo which

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and even systems changes go through the PMO, which uses Six Sigma project management processes. , As Cia, Hinkle oversees the PMO, is a member of the company's executive board, and is deeply entrenched in all business decisions. "I'm involved in merchandising, store planning and in every other core strategic meeting at the company," Hinkle says. "I'm expected to be very well versed in these things, and I'm also expected to answer more than the IT questions. I'm part of the strategy brainstorming." Hinkle expects his IT team to be equally well versed in business processes, which is why every IT staffer spends a minimum of three days in the field every year, working in a store, a warehouse, or a department such as finance or payroll. "That way, they know what the business really needs and how to help," he says. "You don't have a supply chain system or financial system that works in a box or a point-of-sale system that just takes money. Now we have highly integrated data flows, so every project requires an Page 2 0/5
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understanding of all systems and all business areas." By knowing the business, "they better understand why they might get a call for support at 1:00 in the morning," he adds. At ChoicePoint, Lemecha created a federated structure with two bands of IT positions: one for technical workers, who hold the title of IT architect; and one for managers, who hold the title of business information officer (BID). "We believe in two independent career paths. Just because you don't manage people doesn't mean you should be limited in how far you go in the company," he says. The BIOs are embedded in each of ChoicePoi~t's businesses and act as local ClOs. "They understand the operational issues, they know all of the people, and they spend 100 percent of their time in the business units," where they can directly affect business-IT alignment, Lemecha says. "They know and understand the business because they live in the business," he says. The chief benefit of this arrangement is "when you fix the alignment problems, you do the right IT projects and, ultimately, impact revenue and get better customer service," Lemecha says. ChoicePoint's consistent revenue growth, ranging between 5 percent and 15 percent annually for the past several years, is no coincidence. At Cincirinati-based Procter & Gamble (P&G), the company's top IT project over the past three years has been to reinvent IT itself according to a four-year strategic alignment plan. "In the last year, we reshaped, renamed, refocused and began retraining our 2,500-person IT team," says Passerini, who is global busin ss services officer in addition to CIO. The IT department was renamed Information & Decision Solutions (IDS). The new IDS group was then merged into P&G's Global Business Services shared services organization, which is also home to the human resources, finance, strategic planning, and relocation functions. IDS staffers focus on high-level, IT-enabled business projects exclusively; routine IT tasks are outsourced to Hewlett-Packard Co. under a 10-year, $3 billion agreement signed in 2003.
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