Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dell Business Business Secrets

When Michael Dell went out to hire his current CIO, he wanted the best in the US. He found Jerry Gregoire at Pepsi, and convinced him to come to Austin, Texas to run Dell's huge Information Technology organization. Jerry accepted the offer, and he has been impacting Dell's business practices ever since. Last year, Jerry was named Information Technology executive of the Year by Austin AITP. He was honored at a citywide event keynoted by CIO Magazine publisher, Joe Levy.

Recently, Jerry made an insightful speech to about one hundred IT executives at the regular monthly Austin AITP chapter meeting. He began his presentation, "Keeping up with Fast Company", by observing that "working for a High Tech company like Dell is a little weird. Many of Dell's key vendors are also some of our key customers, and these relationships can be little challenging". He also noted that at a technology literate company like Dell that "everyone thinks that they are a CIO". Jerry said that he has given up trying to achieve "hero status" within the business, and he then admitted that "deep within a IT profession's heart he or she knows that his or her customers are generally dissatisfied and unsure of the competence of the IT department". He stated that this situation is probably true for most IT departments in general.

Jerry also pointed out that the IT Department is under constant attack by outside vendors. No other department in the company faces the "high powered marketing effort which is aimed directly at information technology". End-users and executives hear a constant drum beat of marketing messages that something better exists other than the approach now taken by the current IT department. IT strategy is put into a light of constant doubt by vendors and consultants all aiming to capture a part of the lucrative IT budget. Jerry referred to these industry "seers" as "guys with big hats and no cattle".

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