Integrating IT

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.

Integrating IT

Since IT plays such a pivotal role at Boeing—helping the company design and manufacture its airplanes and defense systems, as a service offering to other organizations, as a means of measuring and improving processes—Hinshaw spends a good deal of time interacting with all of the company’s main components: the IT group, Boeing executive management and clients, as well as suppliers and business partners.

“I would say it’s a four-way split. Time-wise, I spend about 40 percent with IT, 30 percent with business leaders, and 15 percent each with customers and household- name suppliers,” he explains. “These relationships are much more strategic.

“We have very large, complex relationships with these household names and are fully embedded into their road maps and strategies. They develop their road maps based on Boeing’s needs. Because of our scale and scope and long-standing relationships, we’re able to have a stronger partnership and take advantage of their road maps.”

To keep in touch with Boeing’s approximately 10,000 IT employees, Hinshaw publishes a monthly newsletter and an interactive blog, and he’s hosted about 100 town hall meetings in the past two years. “That’s really important,” he says. “It’s easy for IT employees to get disconnected, especially in a troubled economy, and we try to avoid that. For me, it’s all about people, and that’s how you have a great IT organization.”

“I know a lot of the CIOs from big companies around the globe,” he says. “Many of us want to spend time with employees, so there has to be a strong discipline to do it.”

Looking ahead, Hinshaw foresees several more years of standardization and of recruiting and retaining individuals with a strong mix of business and information technology acumen. With these controls in place, hands firmly steering the helm, Hinshaw will continue aiming Boeing for the sky.


Company: The Boeing Co.


2008 Sales: $60.9 billion

Total Employees: 158,000

IT Employees: About 10,000

Business: Commercial airplanes, integrated defense systems, shared services

Business Challenges: To simplify complex, multi-national software applications; align business and information technology strategies; build a strong IT organization

Key IT Projects: Standardizing software within company divisions such as manufacturing, engineering, payroll and human resources; reducing costs through standardization; improving productivity

IT Infrastructure: Mainframe, Unix and Windows servers, Linux clusters; global network with WAN acceleration; VoIP telephony; streaming Web media; secure video conferencing and enterprise applications from major providers.

Read a list of the top 100 companies.

Alison Diana is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.

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