IBM's new CIO may already be its most powerful

After massive consolidation, Toole takes over more centralized IT operation

IBM veteran Pat Toole was recently named CIO at at the company and given much broader responsibilities than his predecessors in the post, which now oversees a far more centralized IT operation.

Toole, who joined IBM in 1984 and was most recently general manager of IBM's intellectual property and global patent program, takes over an IT operation that has already gone through a multi-year process of consolidation, which reduced the number of data centers from 155 to five, and its application portfolio from 15,000 to 4,500 -- so far.

The technology consolidation also includes a shift to centralized IT management, a move completed this year by outgoing CIO Mark Hennessy, who now heads strategy and transformation for IBM's Sales and Distribution operation.

IBM's corporate CIO had previously focused on strategy and governance and worked with the CIOs in the company's business units. "The individual business units would prioritize according to their own unique criteria," said Toole, whose appointment was announced today.

Under the new model, Toole is responsible for IBM's overall IT strategy and operations. For instance, Toole will not only set IBM's emerging strategy for cloud computing, he will also deal day-to-day operations and any headaches that brings.

That responsibility can range from mundane tasks to assessing the impact an earthquake in the Indian Ocean on communications.

Toole said the change in focus allows for large scale IT transformation, such as a project now in place to redo its SAP application infrastructure to match global processes.

"In the past, SAP was optimized on a local level," he said. The value of IBM's new approach to IT operations was validated by the results of a survey of 2,500 worldwide CIOs conducted by the company recently, said Toole.

Among the core findings, he said, is that CIOs spend more than half of their time on activities that spur innovation, and therefore consider a central technology organization to be critical.

Three fourths of all the CIOs surveyed "anticipate having a strongly centralized infrastructure in five years," according to the survey.

If IT operations aren't centralized, it may be harder for an organization to use information for competitive advantage, the survey concluded.

And 83 per cent of the CIOs cited business intelligence and analytics as the top area to focus on to enhance competitiveness. Those functions require the integration and use of of data stored throughout the enterprise.

A concentration on business analytics at IBM have allowed the company to improve its understanding of market opportunity and to move resource to growing markets, said Toole.

When the market and opportunity change, "the CIOs office plays a key role in helping figure out what that means from internal process perspective," said Toole.

"Without question, our professionals can have a very strong impact on our business strategy," he said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags CIOsIBM

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Patrick Thibodeau

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?