Premier 100 IT Leader profile: James McCoy

Sometimes you have to put the brakes on a project

Most CIOs think risk-taking is about boldly saying "yes."

James McCoy knows firsthand that sometimes you need to boldly say "no" as well.

To improve competitiveness and efficiency, Tewksbury, Mass.-based Raytheon recently committed to deploying a common ERP system across the company.

The first order of business was to migrate and consolidate several older configuration-management systems into one common product data management system. As vice president of IT and CIO of Integrated Defense Systems, McCoy, 48, was responsible for that first phase.

Because Raytheon had several large design systems that relied heavily on the existing systems, McCoy made the decision to break Phase 1 into several smaller pieces.

The first two migrations went well, McCoy recalls. Then the project hit a snag. The final migration had additional requirements that McCoy and his team felt had not been tested sufficiently. Backed by the opinion of an independent assessment team -- part of Raytheon's Six Sigma-based quality-assurance methodology -- McCoy made the call to put the last migration on hold for more testing.

"The team felt it was the right decision," says Dan Frasca, who reports to McCoy as an IT business partner leader. "But obviously the business side was disappointed. Jim was able to make the bridge between the two groups."

In the end, the system was rolled out flaw-free. "Looking back at it, the independent assessment played out pretty well," McCoy says. "It was tough at the time, but I know I made the right decision."

— Tracy Mayor

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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