For CIOs: 'It's All About Risk' - Page 2

Mar 25, 2004

Jeanette James

Sanchez's strategy is getting the most from Burger King's existing technology while introducing new products that cut costs and improve functionality. For example, when Sanchez first came into the CIO's role and realized the company was "under using" SAP's enterprise software, he immediately began a campaign to better exploit the software's capabilities.

"Software has become one of the biggest issues for the CIO," said Schwab's Lepore. "It is so complex and costs are escalating so dramatically."

Last year, Burger King also began implementing Oblix's NetPoint, an identity-management application in an attempt to cut costs and increase employee, franchisee and partner satisfaction. Burger King uses Oblix for authorization of employee, franchisee and supplier access to online information.

But as it brought new software on board and strengthened its use of SAP, another risk presented itself and required special CIO attention in order to be prevented: losing the Burger King customer focus.

"You don't turn around a company by taking your eyes away from your customers or your operations," Sanchez said.

Risk: Vendors

Other risks include the choice of key software vendors. What if you pick one that goes bust after you've based your business around them? "It's the same thing at every CIO's shop," said SAP's Agassi, noting that the choice of software vendors is a key CIO concern.

Sanchez said the best you can do to mitigate this particular risk is to investigate the vendor as thoroughly as possible. But, at some point, a decision has to be made knowing full well that new and possibly better technology may be around the corner.

"When you make a decision on technology, you have to put blinders on for a certain period of time," Sanchez said.

Want to discuss any of the issues raised here? Take it over to our IT Management Forum.

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