Three Steps for Surviving Chapter 11: A Guide for CIOs

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That’s also the approach at Federal Mogul, where CIO Gaynor is depending on EAI technology to help alleviate ERP costs.

The company has "many, many" different types of ERP systems, and has a long-term strategy to standardize on two, SAP and MFG Pro from Carpinteria, Calif.-based QAD. Now, says Gaynor, "we wouldn’t do that. If we had a system that was running well right now, we wouldn’t take it out just to get common." If an existing system was dying, Gaynor would replace it with one of the two standards, but otherwise he’ll leave it alone. "EAI technology is getting to where you can pull all the information from different sources together. Three years ago you couldn’t have done that. To replace an ERP system, you have a lot of expenses that we are not going to do right now. We would rather go with the EAI and pull that into a repository."

CIOs who are part of the executive team and have input into a company’s overall strategy are already in a position to take the steps mentioned in this article. But even if there’s a chance to replicate only one step, consider that charting the numbers that show the costs and benefits of IT projects make a compelling argument in any business climate. Compiling a database that tracks spending across the IT department and eventually an entire company is not a giant investment. "If you spend a little bit of time looking at the numbers, you can easily reduce the spending 16 to 20 percent," Emplit says. That’s the kind of argument that’s hard for a CEO to ignore.

Resisting the temptation to invest in Band-Aids also is critical. It simply doesn’t help move the company forward. Aside from the ability to break contracts, there is nothing about running an IT department in a bankrupt company that differs from running any other company. The stakes are just higher. In fact, Gaynor says that he is "running the department exactly the way we want to run it," and that when he emerges from bankruptcy in two or three years, he won’t change a thing.

"There are so many dollars out there," says USG’s Holley. "If you have good insight and control over them, your ship is going to run real tight. If you don’t, you are leaving money on the table, and you are sloppy."

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