The Skills to Match

Adriana Karaboutis, Dell's Global CIO, is aiming to create a highly mobile, efficient information environment for the company's 103,300 employees. A look at how she's accomplishing these goals offers a lesson for CIOs in a variety of industry sectors.

What did these changes mean to the skillset you needed in your IT department?

We created an incubation team. This group has all our use cases and is aware of what all our mobile and consumer users want. Right now, we have an incubation in the works around an internal cloud. We're building mobile apps for our travel and expense system. We're also looking to make our time-keeping system mobile for smartphones, tablets or PCs.

So, you need people who understand mobile apps, you need people who understand cloud, but we want to incubate those things internally for internal employees. We had to either bring in those skills or take employees who were interested in these areas and apply them to those projects.

Our IT organizations will many times focus on the business roadmap: We need apps that will enable us to go from being hardware-selling company to business solutions-selling company. But, we also have another side of the shop that we've strengthened, and that's our infrastructure. How do we take all these ideas we're incubating, and turn them into part of our infrastructure?

With all the tools we have [as a technology company], everything we do we try to use our company's products to leverage these capabilities. Our IT org is about 4,000 strong. We've taken 3,500 of those people and they are now in our Dell Services organization, which is the engine that powers Dell IT. I have about 500 people doing enterprise architecture, strategy, governance, program management and the like. We work very closely with the business to help transform Dell. This goes very much along with the blurring lines between IT and business. This approach lets our IT Services team do development, testing, provide infrastructure support and data center support. It's an internal outsourced model.

What results have you seen to date?

We just finished the final transition to that structure in the first quarter of this year, and we're already seeing a lot of efficiencies. 

The BYOD model is also bringing results.  Employees love having the choice to bring whichever smartphone device they like to work and we expect as strong a reaction when we rollout tablet and laptop options.

Ed. Note: Susan Nunziata was the editor in chief of CIO Insight until September 2012.

This article was originally published on 09-12-2012
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