Revamping the IT game plan

Emily Chia
22 May 2008

When Steven Bandrowczak took on the IT helm in Nortel, he took a hard look at where the company had been and where it was currently.

'He decided to change the IT game plan. Since IT touches every role in the company, Bandrowczak believed we were in a good position to make significant changes,' said Eric Lauzon, CIO, Asia, Nortel.

Bandrowczak is responsible for Nortel's information technology strategy and operations, leading the Information Services group, and overseeing Nortel's internal network infrastructure, business applications and data security.

Before joining Nortel, Bandrowczak was senior vice president and CIO of Lenovo. And before that, he was executive vice president and worldwide CIO for DHL Worldwide. He also spent more than a decade with electronics distributor Avnet in a variety of IT roles, the last being that of the CIO.

Taking on business challenges
Lauzon recalled that the whole Nortel IT cabinet had already been thinking of changing its IT approach. Thus, when Bandrowczak proposed the changes, there was more excitement than resistance.

The issues Nortel was facing then were common in many big companies, observed Lauzon. The numerous companies it acquired over the years had introduced significant complexities to the back office infrastructure. It did not help that some processes and systems were different between countries.

Bandrowczak saw the opportunity for IT to lead the infrastructure overhaul as the IT department has a global view of the company.

The IT function has evolved, Lauzon recognized.

'Ten years ago, IT was about back office and PC support. Now IT is considered an enabler; it is about convergence of data and voice. Companies that get the [IT] formula right will win the [business] war. CIOs are closer to the business now.'
According to Lauzon, it is more likely to see CIOs now becoming CEOs compared to a few years ago.

Nortel's C-level executives, said Lauzon, were open to Bandrowczak's strategy for making the company more competitive by reducing time to market, enabling effective and efficient decision making and also by reducing cycle times.

'Nortel was ready for the change. It is not so much about being an IT vendor but having the appropriate leadership to lead such changes. You need strong IT leadership to show the business that IT can lead this change. The level of change that IT can bring can potentially influence how people do their job in the company!'

Formalizing IT processes
To start on a clean sheet, the Nortel's IT leadership put together the IT transformational work streams, which are programs created to specifically address and outline how the transformation and renewal of Nortel IT would be done. These work streams include:
1. Organizational structure and workforce
2. Strategic and operational investment profile
3. Application landscape
4. Electronic business model
5. Data centre rationalization
6. ITIL service model
7. Service catalogue content
8. Adopt a global shared services strategy

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