Executive Briefs

Expert Voices: John Kotter
With Edward H. Baker

For leadership guru John Kotter, creating a culture of alignment often means changing a company’s culture at its roots. But cultural change isn’t just a matter of holding two or three “change management” meetings. It requires specific efforts that bring specific benefits before those new habits sink into the organization’s bloodstream, says Kotter, a longtime professor at Harvard Business School who retired in 2001, and the author of numerous books on corporate culture, change and leadership, including Corporate Culture and Performance, Leading Change and The Heart of Change. But for that to happen requires emotion and heart, and strong leadership at every level of the company.

Case Study: Tyco International Ltd.
By Edward Cone

Dana Deasy’s first day on the job as CIO of Tyco International Ltd. was a lonely one. The $36.8 billion company, just emerging from the scandal surrounding ex-CEO Dennis Kozlowski, had never had a corporate-level CIO. Deasy’s brief: to create a new IT structure to help Tyco change its culture from a holding company loosely assembled from hundreds of acquisitions over the past ten years into an operating company that hopes to leverage its size and shared assets around the globe. The effort, reports Senior Writer Edward Cone, demands sharing information, processes and practices across the company, and using shared IT services whenever feasible.

Case Study: MetLife Inc.
By Jeffrey Rothfeder

MetLife Inc. Chief Executive Robert Benmosche is in the midst of a critical effort to transform his $35.8 billion insurer from a leader in the old-fashioned, door-to-door world of insurance sales to a high-tech, high-response financial services giant. To that end, under the direction of Bob Marzulli, MetLife’s vice president of information technologies, the company is putting together an enterprisewide client information file that for the first time will make a centralized customer database available to MetLife units for cross-selling and pitching new business. The project’s success depends as much on revamping the company’s heavily product-oriented culture, notes Contributing Editor Jeffrey Rothfeder, as it does on getting the installation right.

Case Study: Harrah’s Entertainment Inc.
by Edward Cone

When it comes to the rapid consolidation of the gaming industry, Harrah’s isn’t taking any chances. The company has acquired seven competitors in seven years and is now looking to add Caesars Entertainment Inc. The $9.4 billion deal would make Harrah’s the largest casino company in the world. All of which makes Senior Vice President and CIO Tim Stanley’s job a constant challenge. Senior Writer Edward Cone profiles Stanley’s confident and measured approach to acquiring and integrating new properties without missing a beat. Through trial and error, Harrah’s has learned which questions to ask before and after a major acquisition—and makes sure to completely assimilate the resulting combination.

Expert Voices: Marianne Broadbent and Ellen Kitzis
With Ellen Pearlman and Edward H. Baker

It’s already well understood that CIOs are standing at a crossroads, straddling strategic irrelevance and true synergy between business and IT. What’s not so clear is how to avoid the former and achieve the latter. Marianne Broadbent and Ellen Kitzis—two Gartner Inc. veterans who have spent most of their careers working with CIOs trying to solve that very problem—have developed a lucid strategy for CIOs looking to redefine their roles. In The New CIO Leader: Setting the Agenda and Delivering Results (Harvard Business School Press, 2004), Broadbent and Kitzis explain that by understanding the business context of their jobs, learning to change as the competitive environment changes, and managing with “soft skills,” CIOs can evolve into a new breed of executive, more relevant to business strategy than ever.

Research: IT Alignment
By the editors of CIO Insight

The state of alignment is not as strong as it seems. About 80 percent of the 588 IT and 533 business executives we surveyed this month say IT is well aligned, yet just 30 percent of business executives say IT is “very effective” at working with the business, and CIOs are rosier in their assessments than either business executives or the IT executives below them. While vague strategies and weak IT leadership are two of the reasons, the other critical factor is corporate and departmental culture. When a collaborative rather than autocratic culture reigns, and companies can adapt quickly to change, IT is much more likely to be aligned.

CIO Insight Staff
CIO Insight Staff
CIO Insight offers thought leadership and best practices in the IT security and management industry while providing expert recommendations on software solutions for IT leaders. It is the trusted resource for security professionals who need network monitoring technology and solutions to maintain regulatory compliance for their teams and organizations.

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