IT leaders who shatter the mold

Some technology executives don't simply defy convention; they craft a whole new definition of leadership. Learn who was named to the Premier 100 class of 2009 -- and how they're blazing new management trails.

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Now, Freescale is in the midst of an enterprise business intelligence program in which manufacturing and supply chain data from multiple plants and other design and engineering locations is collected into a single central repository.

"Typically, you'd find a lot of data being kept about each plant, and then you could optimize operations at that one plant," Coursen explains. What Freescale is doing is centralizing data from seven manufacturing sites in the U.S., Europe and Japan; consolidating assembly and test sites in Malaysia and China; and combining major R&D, design and support centers across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

"We now have visibility of a single product through the entire flow," Coursen says. As a result, manufacturing problems are spotted and resolved more quickly.

"The big change now is that we can see the product all the way through the process. We can track the yield from end to end," Coursen says.

A critical prerequisite to the success of both the AIM and BI initiatives was a huge process-mapping project that essentially laid out, step by step, the company's entire value chain. "We matched hundreds and hundreds of applications to that process map," Coursen says. After that, IT champions were designated for each process group and directed to work side by side with the business owner of the same process group.

"It's the joint expertise of IT experts and business experts that enables you to find and focus on the pain points," Coursen says. "If you just go in with IT, you don't have enough knowledge to know what will really change the game."

Tapping Young Talent

In their drive to make businesses more collaborative, agile and responsive, IT leaders such as Jerome Oglesby, chief technology officer at Deloitte Services in Atlanta, say some of their strongest allies come from the growing ranks of Gen Y employees.

"Corporations have to figure out how to be more real-time," and younger workers definitely have a real-time mentality, says Oglesby. "They don't want to send an e-mail, then wait a day and get a response. IM, texting and videoconferencing are how they communicate."

At Deloitte, "we have started focusing a lot on immediate-gratification tools and technologies that take advantage of [Gen Y's innate real-time tendencies]," he says.

Deloitte has set up a social networking site called D Street, where employees can build and upload personalized Facebook-like pages. In its initial iteration, D Street contained structured templates that employees were supposed to fill in with required information. "We did it this way because of our old mentality of wanting to control the information that was being put out there," Oglesby says.

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