I.T. Pros Share Their New Year's Resolutions

By Debra D'Agostino  |  Posted 12-22-2006

Jeff Peterson, CIO of UNICCO Service Company, a $700 million facilities and equipment management company, has big plans for 2007. He'll be laying the technology groundwork for the Newton, Mass.-based firm, which maintains offices, production plants and heavy equipment for more than 1,000 clients, to increase its revenues to $1 billion in the next few years. To make it happen, Peterson is adopting some new year's resolutions:

  • Stick to an I.T. "diet" of doing more for less.
    Peterson says his staff of 36 is geared to execute projects that deliver high customer satisfaction inexpensively. The result will be a "drastically reduced" budget: In fiscal 2006, UNICCO's technology budget was 0.7% of the company's overall revenue; Peterson wants to drive that number down to 0.6% in 2007.

  • Drive home the message that I.T. matters.
    In the last three years, Peterson's staff has developed technologies that differentiate the company strategically, such as a Web portal for customers that allow them to manage accounts and track finances and work progress. "We want our employees and customers to know that I.T. is a critical component of our services," says Peterson. Technology is embedded into the company's processes, he says, and contributes to UNICCO's ability to increase profit margins in a low-margin industry.

  • Take time to recognize the contributions of individuals and teams.
    It's easy to get caught up in the work and forget to acknowledge the people who are doing the work, Peterson says. "It's important to let people know, both formally and informally—in status meetings and in the hallway—that they're doing a great job and that I'm here to support them."

    Peterson isn't the only one making big plans in the coming year. Jan Vink, CIO at Boekhandels Groep Nederland's Selexyz, Holland's largest book retailer, says RFID will be his primary focus. Selexyz is one of the first retailers around the world to implement RFID at the item level, completing a pilot program in 2006 that tagged all inventory at its 1,000-square-meter store in Almere, Netherlands. Now, he says, it's time to roll out RFID throughout the company's 42 stores—a huge effort he believes will mean millions in increased revenues. In addition, he says, "we plan to integrate our retail processes with those of our logistical partners, and reduce complexity."

    Sean Curry, manager of infrastructure engineering for San Jose, Calif.-based energy company Calpine Corp., says that after years of driving costs out of his IT systems, "2007 is the year to really look at how the systems are working, to make sure they are delivering on the promised benefits." Curry also plans to automate as many operational tasks as possible.

    What are your new year's resolutions? Let us know at editors@cioinsight.com.