\u201cWhat motivates people is to feel like they are part of the answer, no matter what the challenge is.\u201d\n \n That\u2019s CIO Jeff Keisling of Pfizer, talking about how IT staffers are \u00addiving into the tough transformation work under way at one of the world\u2019s largest pharmaceutical companies. In an industry where business models are eroding, IT can be a huge differentiator in finding new markets and connecting with consumers.\n \n Stories about business transformation sometimes suffer from the rosy glow of overblown optimism. That\u2019s not what you\u2019ll find in Senior Editor Kim S. Nash\u2019s cover story (\u201cPfizer's Future Depends on IT Transformation\u201d), which explores how dramatic business-model shifts are stretching Pfizer\u2019s IT beyond its old supporting role and into that of valued business contributor.\n \n Like Pfizer, the pharmaceutical industry can no longer count on a future of blockbuster drug sales to fuel expensive R&D operations. As patents expire on bestselling drugs, waves of cost-cutting, layoffs and R&D cutbacks follow. \u201cThe industry is facing desperation,\u201d as one industry expert bluntly put it.\n \n Arriving at Pfizer in 2009 with the acquisition of Wyeth, Keisling reorganized the IT staff to emphasize business skills and used the merger integration work as a catalyst for transforming corporate IT. A big part of Keisling\u2019s work, Nash writes, has been unifying technology standards and inserting his people into business units to \u201cinfuse IT into conversations about new business ideas from the start.\u201d\n \n He created hybrid IT-business managers in the upper ranks of Pfizer\u2019s nine business units. He championed the cause of open innovation with the use of a virtual R&D system that connects more than 500 outside organizations. He launched successful consumer-focused projects such as a loyalty discount card and a cloud-based patient-management system for doctors.\n \n What\u2019s fascinating to watch as Pfizer\u2019s story unfolds is how new business ideas are generated from the cross-pollination of IT and non-IT roles. An economist quoted in our story points out how much IT and business people can learn from each other by \u201creimagining how consumers and companies are able to connect and relate.\u201d\n \n Rather than limit IT to providing cost-efficient operations and meeting that tired old clich\u00e9 of business alignment, Pfizer seems to be finding a new formula for IT success. \n Maryfran Johnson is the editor in chief of CIO Magazine & Events. Email her at email@example.com.