So Long IT Specialist, Hello Full-Stack Engineer

GE Capital is rethinking the way it does IT and looking to well-rounded technology professionals to keep pace in a fast-changing business environment.

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Project Success

The project not only proceeded quickly -- the application was delivered within several months -- it established some new IT processes. They increased the amount of automation possible not only at the infrastructure level, but within the application layer at well. They also aimed for 60 to 70 percent reusability in developing the application, creating "lego-like" building blocks that can be recycled for future projects.

Business customers welcomed the new approach. In the past, "they would shoehorn as many requirements into the initial spec as possible because they didn't know when they'd ever have the chance again," says Reed. "Now it's a more agile process." The team launches a minimum viable solution and delivers new features over time.

For IT, "it was a radical change in thinking," says Reed. "We've operated the same way literally for decades. There were moments of sheer terror." And it wasn't for everyone. Some opted out of the project and went back to their day jobs.

But Reed is eager to apply the process to future projects and rethink the way some legacy systems are built and managed. "We had talked about services-oriented architecture, and now we have something tangible that shows it can be done," Reed says. "On the legacy side, we have to decide if we want to automate more of that infrastructure and keep application development the old way or invest in this."

Some employees remained with the fleet management app team. Others started a new project. And a few went back to their original roles. "We're trying to make disciples so more people can learn about this process," Reed says.

Reed can envision the IT organization changing eventually. "What we look for in people when we hire them will change. There were years when we went out in search of very technical people. Then there were years of outsourcing where we sought people who could manage vendors and projects," Reed says. "Now we need both, and we need to figure out how to keep them incentivized."

Stephanie Overby is regular contributor to CIO.com's IT Outsourcing section. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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