CIO Straight Talk - Issue 3 - 19
Keep in mind, though, that any medal has two sides,
and with the benefits come increased responsibility for
the organization in operating such a concentrated hub.
For example, several countries in several time zones
(from the UK to Russia), each with many diverse
applications (from order entry to ticketing at the
weighbridge, or from plant maintenance inspection to
spare parts reordering), are all dependent on the data
center and its surrounding network. In our EMEA data
center, we now have more than 1,000 concurrent users.
So service level agreements, disaster recovery plans,
and business continuity scenarios have to be drastically challenged and regularly tested.
The Trends Supporting Our Vision
I think that a confluence of business and IT trends
supports what we are trying to do at Lafarge. From a
technology perspective, the advent of virtualization
and commodity servers helps a lot with any consolidation effort. From the business point of view, globalization drives centralization and uncovers opportunities
for consolidation, standardization, and large-scale cost
At Lafarge, we made sure that
the trade-offs between country
ownership and group ownership were clear to everybody.
Working with the business
leaders, we got everybody to
understand how the business
units would continue to maintain
important aspects of their
autonomy while enjoying the
benefits of standardization and
decentralized IT structure.
• In preparing to consolidate data centers, pay
attention to the many issues on the business side that
could make or break the eﬀort.
• With the beneﬁts of consolidation comes the
requirement of regularly testing your disaster
recovery plans and business continuity
In about three years, we hope to operate
only three data centers: one for the Americas,
one for Asia, and one for EMEA. The only way to
make this vision a reality is to get IT thinking like the
CIO Straight Talk
The structure of the business makes a big difference in
how the business and IT relate to each other. When I
talk to CIOs at other large international and
industrial companies, I find that some still
work in a fully decentralized business
structure. Each business unit does what
it wants – and doesn’t want to be told
what to do. It’s practically impossi• Even if standardization of key applications
ble in this kind of environment to
is mandated from above, it can’t work well in a
standardize and consolidate.