by Meridith Levinson

Enhance Collaboration Between Business and the IT Department

Aug 15, 20062 mins
Collaboration SoftwareSmall and Medium Business

What’s the best way to inspire a high level of synergy and cooperation between IT and the business? Two CIO 100 winners offer a clue.

Goodyear achieved that ideal of shared passion and commitment by putting the together the brightest, most talented employees across departments and letting them run with a project. Monsanto did it by making it easy for employees in one department to move into another to enhance their knowledge and build relationships.

Dave Glemming and Loren Miller are the two Goodyear employees who originally advocated for using computers to design and test tires. Separately, the two men, who both hold PhDs and had been working for the company for several years, approached Goodyear’s then vice president of tire technology Joe Gingo with the idea in 1992. Using computers to test tires was a radical concept at the time. Gingo, who is now CTO, initially thought it sounded crazy but another part of him thought it just might work. Gingo went with his gut, and gave them his blessing to figure out how to use computers to simulate tires, trusting that the smart, dedicated veterans would come up with a solution. They did.

At Monsanto, CIO Mark Showers jumped on a serendipitous opportunity to enhance collaboration between IT and Monsanto’s breeding organization. Jason Bull was a plant breeder who was assigned to work on a project that looked at using technology to identify particular genes in plants and then predict the best plants to breed. After working so closely with the company’s software developers, he wanted to try a career in IT. He spoke with Showers about his desire. Showers created a role for Bull, recognizing a unique opportunity to get a key stakeholder’s perspective on the project. Bull is now managing the project on the IT side. Showers says he’s since welcomed several other scientists like Bull into his shop. “It tends to be the best way to get the business analyst liaison roles on a project like this,” he says.