IT staffers dedicated to this effort collaborate with business leaders to develop IT strategies for responding to government RFPs. Hammonds wants to let everyone know what this group can do. In some cases, the IT role will make proposals stronger and increase the chance of winning the contract, and in others it will enable the company to compete for contracts that might have been out of its reach before.
Hammonds is also looking at how IT could increase the services sold by the commercial air sector. "We're working on solutions to help our airline customers," she says, "as planes become more digital and more data comes off those planes."
But Hammonds is aware that improving productivity within Boeing is IT's primary job. Only about 10% of her organization currently works on revenue-driving efforts, and the people who do so are mostly dedicated to that role. While that group may grow in the future, the rest of the IT organization is still focused on internal productivity, Hammonds says.
This kind of split is usually necessary, says Peter High. Chasing revenue could easily become a distraction from maintaining the infrastructure of the business. Balance is required. "CIOs must be cognizant of how they are going to divide their time," he says. Some of the IT leaders he works with assign days to work on core versus revenue-driving efforts, while others pick direct reports to have daily responsibility for each area while the CIO oversees them both. Whatever they do, they can't forget that IT is still in charge of maintaining the tech infrastructure or they will find that the trust that allows them to work on revenue-producing services disappears, High says.
Adapt to Customer Trends
Unlike aerospace, the housing market isn't a place people often look for IT innovation. But for Hovnanian Enterprises, as it adapts to today's home-buying patterns, technology is essential. Vice President and CIO Nicholas Colisto has formed such a tight partnership with his VP of marketing and sales that "these days, we finish each others' sentences," he says.
When the marketing group found that homebuyers like to research houses online, just as they research consumer appliances, the marketing and IT teams worked together to create a product called Style Suite, which launched last summer. This online design tool allows homebuyers to review options--such as available lots and floor plans, or design elements like cabinets and lighting--but does not provide pricing or allow purchases. The buyer portal is in a limited pilot in New Jersey, but will be rolling out to a wider group in the coming months.