CIO Update ‘1-on-1’ With Eric Bischoff

After 12 years in the music business, Bischoff, CITO for Quick International Courier, has spent the last 22 building the infrastructure that fuels a $100 million-dollar specialty courier company. To do this he has, at times, been on the cutting edge of technology development, yet, at other times, shunned current trends, preferring the ‘old-school’ way of application development and management.

In this exclusive conversation with CIO Update, Bischoff lets us into his way of managing IT and shares his views on getting things done, current trends like offshoring and what it takes to succeed as a IT manager.

Q: First of all, CITO? Where does the title Chief Information ‘Techknowledgy’ Officer come from?

Because I manage technology and knowledge. So it was a play on words. It’s about the knowledge in the company, which is one of our assets; we know how to get things moved so we have a lot of human knowledge and we’re trying to manage that. It’s not just about managing equipment and software.

Q: What are some of the pressing IT projects currently on your plate?

Integration of three different companies — we have the Sterling (a company purchased several years ago that specializes in assisting aircraft on the ground (AOG)) branch in Washington, D.C., and we have a (Quick) branch in London and we’re currently in process of getting them off their own system software and getting them on our system. We’ve already started and we hope to have it all done in next six months.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges involved in these integrations?

Matching the databases in the fields, so we can match the data. We have to do gap analysis; they may do some things differently than us so we have to do analysis. What’s driving this is their customers want to get on our Quick online extranet, which is far superior to anything anyone else has. So, in order to use that, they have to get on our Quicktrack database.

We have a pretty sophisticated … extranet to allow customers to place orders, receive updates and manage parts inventory and then there are some specific applications that are designed for managing clinical trials for the drug companies.

(Pharmaceutical companies) need someone to send out the drugs and they use us to deliver them safely and securely. And they have to get the samples back. So we deal with the labs or clinical sites and they use our extranet to enter information and we manage it for them.