Transforming IT: VF Corp.’s Martin Schneider

Basically, the only part of IT left in-house (at least in the Americas) is project management, governance, and strategy. All boxes, servers, etc. are owned by IBM on a global basis. Their domestic IT infrastructure group is very small. They’ve retained architects and project managers and they partner with IBM on strategy. In Europe, they still do PC break/fix, though.

While they’ve partnered for the day-to-day support, they won’t outsource strategy, standards, or project management. The resources, however, to execute on their strategy and projects are external. In house, they do things like application selection, vendor management, business analysis, program management and enterprise architecture. It’s a virtual model or cloud model, depending on your definition of each.

New Era, New Job

It’s all about how to apply technology to get the result they want, said Schneider. How it’s done is a lot less important than it used to be. What is done and why, is what they focus on. “We’d like to think we are doing best practices. That’s the story. We are implementing best practices on a global basis based on internal and external experience. We want to run IT to enable to the business. Our driver is to be aligned with the business and drive value.”

So, what, you ask, does Schneider actually do? Well, being the CIO isn’t about technology as much as making technology work. Schneider spends most of his day dealing with people, not things. He focuses on value vs. ROI. Strategy, not tactics. Results, not implementations. His job today, unlike the VF’s former CIOs, is making sure IT is, to use an overworked cliché, about the business and not the technology.

“What I do different is making sure we are well connected to the business. Better connected than ever before. That absolutely is a leadership function.”