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During Randy Mott's 30-plus years in IT, he has developed some core beliefs. Rely on in-house people rather than outsourcers. Get data to the right people to help them make more-informed decisions. Deliver projects faster than before. Streamline and automate IT operations to free up more money for in- novative work. Now Mott is applying that belief system to General Motors under a three-year "IT transfor- mation" plan, during one of the most tumultu- ous times in the company's 106-year history. He joined GM as CIO in February 2012, when the automaker was emerging from a contro- versial government bailout and takeover, and now much of the public's attention is turning to GM's handling of a defective ignition switch on earlier-model Chevy Cobalts and other models that is linked to driver deaths. Against that backdrop, Mott and team are a little over a year into the IT overhaul plan, one of whose goals is to improve data sharing and analysis to help GM identify engineering and manufacturing problems earlier in the pro- cess. Underpinning that broad plan are Mott's five core principles, which I lay out below, adding a bit of my own analysis on how they relate to the modern world. 1. Real innovation happens with IT pro- fessionals tightly aligned to company strategy. We've all been hearing this refrain for decades. In fact, IT-business "alignment" is almost always the No. 1 challenge cited by respondents to the annual Society for Infor- mation Management survey. You'd think such alignment would have happened by now. Sure, CIOs and other IT leaders must be on the same page with every business unit, whether it's sales, marketing, finance, HR, or manufacturing. But IT-business alignment isn't a one-way street. Mott talked about a refined senior executive structure at GM that — not necessarily by design — is starting to align the company's business leaders with Mott's IT goals, one of which is to eliminate the sprawl of applications and data while moving to global software platforms. For in- stance, there's now a single head of global manufacturing (Timothy E. Lee) as Mott looks to standardize GM units on global manufac- turing systems. There's now a single head of global quality and customer experience (Ali- cia Boler-Davis) as Mott looks to consolidate GM's quality, customer, and other data into a single global data warehouse. So it's not just about IT aligning with the business. "The business has moved toward us," he told InformationWeek in a recent inter- view at GM's Detroit headquarters. 2. Real business applications on an en- terprise scale DO NOT come from venture capitalists. The all caps emphasis is Mott's, not mine. This may be the most contentious point in Mott's belief system. It's trendy these days for companies in a range of industries (Capital One, GE, Ford, Wal-Mart) to set up a digital in- novation shop/lab/center in Silicon Valley, and for their CIOs/chief digital officers to meet with venture capitalists and startups to tap into the latest thinking. But when Mott was identifying locations last year for four technical "innova- tion centers" GM wanted to set up across the country, he stayed away from the Valley and other VC hotbeds. Instead, he opted for sub- GM's Randy Mott: What I Believe ... Business down to from the editor R O B P R E S T O N @robpreston Table of Contents Previous Next Previous Next Download Download Register Register Subscribe Subscribe Previous Next April 1, 2014 5 Raise Your Profile InformationWeek is looking for business technology leaders and strategy experts to write inde- pendent and thought-provoking opinion columns for our site. Contact managing editor Shane O'Neill to learn more. Previous Next

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