Lenovo's 2005 acquisition of IBM's PC operation set up a far-reaching business challenge-how to create a new global operating model that would meet two critical goals. The first was effectively managing the company's business diversity: a range of customers in more than 160 countries, two distinct product brands, and multiple marketing models. The second was how to meet senior management's desire for greater standardization and efficiency by consolidating supply chains and financial management and coordinating product sales more tightly.
For Lenovo's IT organization, charting how to support the new operating model was daunting. Inherited legacy IT systems had to be replaced by an enterprise resource planning system that could foster standardized processes yet remain flexible enough to handle important variations in local markets. Rolling out a global IT system is an enormous challenge that many CIOs have taken on but few have managed to pull off. Xiaoyan Wang became Lenovo's CIO in 2009 to lead the company's global transformation. She understood that to introduce it on time and on budget, she would have to prioritize tasks and wouldn't be able to accommodate every business demand. Her slogans became "Schedule is king" and "100 percent IT solutions aren't possible."
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