Boeing: Supporting a Global Enterprise

By Alison Diana  |  Posted 2009-09-29 Print this article Print

Boeing’s IT organization has three primary goals: simplify the complex technology infrastructure, create the right alignment with business leaders and build a strong operation.

As CIO of the Boeing Co., a corporation that conquers outer space and the skies closer to home, John Hinshaw could be expected to have his head in the clouds. But instead, he has his feet firmly planted on the ground—one foot in business and the other in IT.

Since becoming the top IT executive at Chicago-based Boeing two years ago, Hinshaw has unraveled a complex IT infrastructure that operates in more than 70 countries for about 158,000 employees. Formerly the CIO at Verizon Wireless, he is now responsible for overseeing a vast array of software, hardware, networks, processes and cultures, along with the IT group that supports them.

“We have teams spread throughout the United States and the planet, in both direct Boeing labor and our key partners,” he says. “Verizon Wireless was very U.S.-centric, although there were some international aspects. But Boeing is very much a global enterprise, with a large percentage of sales to overseas carriers.

“Our customers are global. Our suppliers are global. So our IT environment is global to support all that.”

IT plays an integral role in the success of the $60.9 billion company, which has customers in more than 90 countries. To further enhance the ways in which IT supports Boeing’s businesses, Hinshaw developed three primary goals: to simplify the complex technology infrastructure, create the right alignment with business leaders and build a strong IT organization.

With its extensive repository of data, ranging from research and development to manufacturing, logistics to payroll and everything in between, Boeing needs nimble yet powerful IT resources to power, crunch and disperse information to the relevant departments and individuals, while simultaneously lowering costs and complexity.

Alison Diana is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.

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