Establish the Baseline

Greg Buoncontri, the CIO of Pitney Bowes, considers himself a specialist in IT transformation. “It's what I do best,” he says, “transforming an IT organization and giving it a new purpose, a new goal, and a new direction.”

Not all IT transformations are alike, he notes, and they are undertaken for a variety of reasons. Sometimes an IT transformation follows a major transformation in the business itself, such as a merger or an acquisition. Sometimes the transformation is forced upon the organization by external circumstances, such as a major downturn in the economy, a significant tightening of the regulatory environment, or the introduction of a revolutionary new business model such as e-commerce.

“But there are always common elements,” says Greg. “The most obvious reason for launching a transformation is simple: Whatever you are doing now isn't working very well. And usually there are compelling circumstances, a set of internal or external pressures that forces you to change.”

A truly transformational CIO, he says, does more than just change the IT organization. “You've got to change the way people in the organization think, how they behave, how they measure success and keep score. You've got to change their world view.”

In some cases, he adds, you also have to be ready to make personnel changes. Moving people around—or moving them out—can be painful. But sometimes it's necessary.

Under any circumstances, there are a series of preliminary steps that must ...

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