Adriana Karaboutis is in the IT driver's seat as Dell works to evolve from a being a hardware vendor to being a provider of end-to-end solutions for companies of all sizes. As the company's Global CIO, Karaboutis is working to transform the company's foundation, based on fulfillment of hardware orders, to one capable of handling software and Software-as-a-Service offerings.
Her goal: To create a highly mobile, efficient information environment for the company's 103,300 employees. Karaboutis joined Dell two and half years ago and was named global CIO in November 2011. Karaboutis was previously VP of IT at Dell supporting product groups, manufacturing, procurement and supply chain operations. In her experience at Dell, she has led a transformation of Dell's manufacturing operations, rolling out a new manufacturing execution system globally. She also led the roll out of Dell's consolidated product offering system, which simplified the supply chain by reducing the number of product configurations, a critical part of the company's cost-reduction efforts. In addition, she has helped Dell's newly acquired companies transition quickly and smoothly to Dell's operations.
Prior to joining Dell, Karaboutis spent 21 years in leadership roles in IT, production and supply chain in the automotive industry, working for Ford and General Motors. At GM, she oversaw a transformational move to outsource manufacturing and supply chain IT to multiple integrators, led migrations from complex legacy systems to service-oriented architectures, and defined and enabled an innovative global model of systems. At Ford, she helped achieve significant efficiency gains through the use of Six Sigma methodologies.
Karaboutis spoke with Susan Nunziata, formerly of CIO Insight, revealing her business-enabling IT perspective, which is built on what she describes as three pillars: innovation, value creation and driving efficiencies. While her position at a leading technology vendor provides access to experiment with tools and solutions that may not be so readily available to one of her counterparts in, say, a financial, government or healthcare organization, her experiences in a IT business environment, and her efforts to implement bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies companywide, offer valuable lessons for any enterprise CIO.
CIO Insight: Let's talk about the "innovation" portion of your approach. What does that mean for you and your team?
Karaboutis: We've focused on bring-your-own-device (BYOD) for mobility. What are the end user devices that our employees want to use and how do we deliver those things to them with highest security at the best cost to company with the best protections and access to data. (See The Evolving Workforce.)
[As a technology company] we're at the forefront of an appetite. My internal customers are technologists. They know what tools exist, they look at our internal portfolio and say 'We have Wyse and SonicWall and all these things to provide a good consumerization experience.' The business side is developing these tools for external users and we're trying to work together to provide the same options for our internal customers.
For example, we rolled out the connected workplace for employees some time ago. We've gone from a facilities perspective to a mobile, work-from-home environment. Our employees want mobility devices, they want consumerization, they want to have just as good an experience in the work environment as they do at home.