Championing the Enterprise with Business Process: Approaches to Buying IT

By Luc Hatlestad Print this article Print

Recognized worldwide for his work on organizational change, IT management issues, process management and reengineering, Jim Champy of Perot Systems is now writing books on competition, customers, people management and business execution. In this interview with Baseline, Champy finds that IT is major enabler of business change and tells us about the companies who are experiencing real growth through smart IT and business initiatives.

How should companies think about buying IT?

Champy: A lot of good ideas get incubated in IT companies—very sophisticated ideas for things like network security or automated process redesign—but very few of them survive because they don’t fit the way companies really work or make decisions. So no matter how ingenious a new technology is, it will work for you only if it fits the way you do business.


How would you advise a company that has soared and then tanks? How can IT execs help a company respond to that kind of market challenge?

Champy: It’s a very tough business issue. When you ride a market phenomenon and do nothing else, and then a competitor steps in and does it better, faster and cheaper, you’re in trouble. I’m not sure even IT can help that.

IT might make you efficient enough to keep you in the game for a while, but ultimately, what you need is a different business model or a different business focus. To the tech folks I say again: By watching the marketplace, you may be able to contribute to the next big trend, but the unfortunate, hard fact for [some companies] is that they need a new business.


How do you feel about the economy in general and how companies can respond to it?

Champy: I really believe these tough times provide opportunity for aggressive companies. You have to be careful and manage your resources more closely, because adoption times might get even longer, but what companies have to do is almost counterintuitive. If you develop a bunker mentality, you will shrink. You have to be out looking for new markets—sometimes new products and services, but mostly new geographies.

Also, in times like this, everybody is looking for a better deal, so there’s a chance to unseat your competitors. It just means you have to be smarter and more aggressive. But if you go into a siege mentality, you’ll be smaller by the time the world comes out of this economic turmoil—and it will come out of it.

This article was originally published on 2008-11-26
Luc Hatlestad is a freelance writer for Baseline magazine.
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