When Bruce Leidal accepted the position of CIO at Carestream Health, he was given the mandate to transform the global company’s sprawling IT operations.
Leidal selected these three strategies not only because they were appropriate for the situation, but because he had experience in all of them. "I learned the first one, IT strategy and implementation, at GM," he says. "I learned the second, strong processes, at AT Kearney, and I learned the third, management style and leadership, at EDS."
Efforts in these seven areas have been successful. "Executives in the various business units have told me that IT has been able to do some valuable things for them," Leidal says.
One valuable contribution has been to allow for business growth by extending IT's capabilities directly into customer organizations. "For example, we do cloud computing, where we take IT products that we developed for our marketplace, then put them in a data center environment with a cloud offering. We have also extended some of our capabilities, such as back office accounting and inventory replenishment, into a services area for our customers."
A second contribution resulted from spending a lot of time focused on creating business efficiencies. "When I joined, we had almost 700 core applications, 11 of which were financial," says Leidal. "You can imagine what it was like at the end of each month, trying to do consolidation, as well as people trying to manage the business as the months progressed, but flying blind until they reached the end of a month and only then seeing everything all rolled up. By that time, it was too late."
To address these weaknesses, IT worked with finance to implement a single global financial system, an advanced business planning and consolidation system, and other initiatives designed to emphasize the importance of using common processes and systems across the entire company.
"Third, we have placed a lot of emphasis on personal productivity," Leidal says. "Within the first two or three days I got here, I had already accumulated about a dozen user IDs and passwords that I needed in order to get to the various places I needed to be." To eliminate inefficiencies like this, IT installed a single sign-on platform. It also installed an external portal so that salespeople and other Carestream employees could gain access to some of the company's critical systems from anywhere, as long as they had Internet access. "We have also implemented mobile device management and backed it all up with 7x24 service desk," he says.
Having successfully addressed the majority of the important elements of the seven initial areas, Leidal is now focusing on further improvements. "We have two primary platforms that need to be completed," he says.
One is a global service platform. "We have a large field-service group in our organization, which is responsible for servicing our equipment installed in customer sites around the world," Leidal says. "By working on the service platform, we can make sure that we get the customer experience right and line ourselves up for what we want to be, as a company, for the future in terms of service and support."
A second platform is to further extend the company's internal capabilities to its customers, such as cloud computing and expansion of new services. "We are currently focused on some unified projects that can be customer facing," he says.