CIO Straight Talk - Issue 4 - 27
The idea that you have some
space to play...is very healthy,
and that's something I want to
keep within IT.
being able to integrate that into the rest of what the company
IT-Driven Business: Create New Revenue Streams
The investments we made in IT strengthened Covance's
technical profile. But they also did more than that - they
opened up entirely new business opportunities.
A lot of companies haven't made the kind of investments
we have and may not want or be in a position to do so
themselves. Now we're considering whether we can offer what
we've got to others doing clinical work in a software-as-aservice or platform-as-a-service model in a private cloud
If everything comes together, a year or two from now we'll
also be selling IT services to enable clinical trials. We're
already selling the provision of those services - clinical trial
processes, central lab work, and preclinical work. And we're
selling the analytics capabilities to help with decision making
and portfolio optimization. The technology capabilities allow
us to offer a different set of services than our competitors and
to differentiate our services in a way that becomes compelling.
We become a one-stop shop. If you can get from Covance
something that allows you to perform better on your clinical
trials and do the trials faster and more efficiently, and we can
get the capacity to do the work - that's powerful. The
customer gets high-quality work and the analytics to do the
work more intelligently.
IT is often process-intensive and subject to a lot of
structure - systems development life cycles, releases, testing.
But as we've seen, there's a time and a place to be more nimble
and innovative. We started the informatics group as part of
Resource Management when I was CFO, and we began to look
at predictive models to balance supply and demand. We've
approached some of this like it's a sandbox where we can try
different things and explore what's possible. It's about how we
come up with new tools and ideas to better manage our
At the time, I was accused of running shadow IT;
fortunately for us, it's now all part of the same group. But this
is a cautionary tale for CIOs who aren't taking the initiative on
Now that Informatics is part of IT, we're strengthening
that capability and exposing the innovation lab aspect to our
operational people and our IT people. It's starting to generate
a little bit of a buzz internally. The idea that you have some
space to play - some air to go try things out just for fun and
see how they work - is very healthy, and that's something I
want to keep within IT.
* Now that business leaders can
procure technology on their own,
from multiple sources, companies
can end up saddled with ineffective
and incompatible products. CIOs can
head off that scenario by engaging
business stakeholders in transparent
discussions about their needs and
what IT can offer.
* Substantial investments in IT don't
just strengthen a company's technical
capabilities - they can also open up
new revenue streams and
opportunities for differentiation.
* IT is a process-driven, structured
endeavor, but it needs to be an
integral part of initiatives aimed at
innovation and experimentation.
31 CIO Straight Talk