By Kim S. Nash  |  Posted 2005-02-01 Email Print this article Print

The first global chief information officer of the $9.1 billion auto parts supplier attacked his job as if it was a critical technology project. Here's how Bruce Carver spent his first 100 days.

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Nov. 1: Carver-speak is heard in casual conversations, including such terms as "fact-based," "go-forward plan" and "not a big idea." This suggests staff members are adopting his ideas.

Spending tally reaches $105 million as more data flows in. Carver estimates it will hit $131 million when far-flung groups in Europe and Asia report their figures, and purchasing-card and petty-cash buys are traced through accounting records.

Carver needs a solid number for a meeting with Burns in five weeks. In 2005, Carver will trim costs by nipping low-hanging fruit. For example, 45 of the 236 Lotus Domino servers can probably be turned off, freeing up hardware and perhaps some of the 47 full-time equivalents supporting them.

But no major systems can be shuttered until new enterprise manufacturing and financial software is bought, tested and installed. That will take at least two years, and Carver must prepare Burns for that.

Nov. 6: Carver and Endsley fly to Hannover, Germany, for four days. They study the SAP implementation at Dana's gasket plant there. No decision has been made on which enterprise software vendor to choose; Carver wants to learn more.

Mid-November: Carver interviews four internal and five external candidates for the operations director job. To each, he poses the same 13 questions. One example: You have a technology organization split up in 12 pieces. How would you think through a centralization strategy?

He hires an outsider. The choice, Jerry Fox, is a former colleague from Reynolds and Reynolds. Recently, Fox had spent 18 months building a central technology group at medical products firm Cardinal Health. "He's been through what we're about to go through. He knows how to do it," Carver says.

Senior Writer
Kim has covered the business of technology for 14 years, doing investigative work and writing about legal issues in the industry, including Microsoft Corp.'s antitrust trial. She has won numerous awards and has a B.S. degree in journalism from Boston University.

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