When I have been appointed CIO of Renault mid-2006, the IT faced numerous fundamental problems. The overall quality of the service was insufficient and the department experienced a problem of image within the company. Our management thought that the IT was expensive and did not provide the expected benefits to the business lines. This is why, since my arrival, we designed an ambitious project to transform the IT over three years and with three objectives.
The first was to improve the quality of the service provided to the company in the framework of the ‘Renault 2009 Contract’ growth plan. The second consisted in reinforcing the alignment between the IT and the business lines in order to better support the latter in their projects. This presupposed reinforcing the geographic proximity between part of the IT workforce and our internal client to reinforce the dialogue. The third objective was cost optimization while improving productivity but without decreasing the number of our projects; all of it while implementing our three outsourcing contracts which had just been signed.
In order to orchestrate the transformation, we rallied the support of IT operational teams, then the one of the executive committee to the transformation plan we finalized and 2006. We then split the effort among 11 work groups, each one provided with a mission and clear objectives, but also with a certain degree of freedom in the way they would achieve them. In order to inculcate the rigor and discipline required for the good course of the project, we performed a weekly team follow-up during meetings in which decisions were agreed upon.
The results were quickly there. Our IT transformation project allowed for a significant improvement of our service quality. The users’ satisfaction rate proved it with a 26% increase according to the monthly barometer.
The cost reduction would also allow consolidating the technical base. It was not about renunciation but about transformation: working differently. Thanks to our cost optimization efforts, we have been able to reinvest 100% of the economies achieved over the first year in new projects and in the modernization of the infrastructure. This quickly made our action credible. Overall, we reduced our budget by 17% while improving the productivity: three years after the launch of the initiatives, we succeeded in completing a greater number of projects with a better level of service.
Today, I draw three major lessons from this large-scale project.
- The most important concerns the definition of performance objectives and indicators: “what gets measured gets done.” We had defined the key performance indicators that we monitored over the three years.
- We had the support from the general management which had understood the purpose of the plan and was following it up regularly.
- Lastly, the plan had been co-built with 150 employees split in 11 work groups and followed-up by the management committee every weak.
That transformation required a lot of energy and daily involvement. One must show to the field troops that it is possible by taking the problems one after the other with a classical ‘business’ approach.
This book illustrates the good practices to be implemented in an IT transformation. By applying them, the CIOs will outlive
Christian Mardrus, CIO and Senior Vice President in charge of Information Systems at Renault from 2006 to 2009, currently SVP Global Supply Chain, Renault-Nissan.