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ITIL Hands on Deck

By Rob Garretson  |  Posted 02-07-2007 Print

ITIL Hands on Deck

When J&J turned to ITIL six years ago, the company was already five years into its sweeping overhaul of technology operations that centralized infrastructure services under the newly created NCS. Then-CIO JoAnn Heffernan Heisen set out to rein in IT costs by $50 million per year by 2003. More important, she wanted to trim the percentage of spending on basic infrastructure to free up funding for applications that would drive J&J's business, such as those that could accelerate the pace of pharmaceuticals research.

By the end of 2001, Shea's infant NCS division had succeeded in annexing half the infrastructure supporting J&J's globally far-flung, loose-knit collection of operating companies. Yet with the other half of IT services still under control of local operating companies, and with lingering cultural resistance to centralization, Shea needed more weapons in his arsenal.

Enter Sylvia Weaver, who joined the newly created NCS in 2000 from J&J's Independence Technology subsidiary, where she designed the business model for the sale and delivery of the IBOT, a gyro-balanced motorized wheelchair similar to the over-hyped Segway scooter (but available only by prescription to people with mobility impairments). The challenge Weaver faced at NCS was not only how to wring costs out of J&J's IT spending through the efficiency of centralizing, but also how to win the hearts and minds of CIOs at the operating companies, as well as thousands of employees annexed in the creation of NCS. The division had to deliver services better and more cheaply, all while improving the working environment for hundreds of IT support personnel who now had new bosses.

Shea and his leadership team—which, in addition to Weaver, included regional vice presidents in charge of the company's four key geographies: North America; Europe; Africa and the Middle East; and Asia-Pacific—met in early 2001 to hash out a number of process improvement initiatives aimed at increasing efficiencies, driving down costs and improving customer satisfaction.

ITIL isn't the only process improvement methodology J&J adopted in that meeting five years ago. Also coalesced under the J&J rubric, Process Excellence, were the trendy Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing disciplines for eliminating waste in business processes. Yet ITIL is specific to IT service management, and as such remains central to the massive and ongoing overhaul of J&J's IT operations.


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