Maynooth IVI’s best practice to evolve into a global MBA for CIOs

4 Feb 2010

One of the first major outputs to come out of the NUI Maynooth-based Innovation Value Institute (IVI) is a new MBA-style qualification that 250 of the world’s top CIOs, including the US Department of Homeland Security, want to see rolled out to business schools across the globe.

Last year, Maynooth University opened the doors of the Intel, Boston Consulting Group and Irish-Government-backed Innovation Value Institute (IVI) at the National University of Ireland (NUI), Maynooth, which includes large companies such as Microsoft, The Boston Consulting Group, Chevron, Northrop Grumman, BP and ESB.

Speaking with yesterday, the CIOs of Intel and Analog Devices revealed that the IVI is now working hard to see that business schools across Europe and eventually the rest of the world will introduce syllabus built around the IT-CMF (Capability Maturity Framework).

With worldwide annual spend on ICT estimated at US$1.6 trillion, leading companies in every business sector will come to rely on the IT-CMF set of practices.

The IVI was established in 2006 and is now an international open-forum learning consortium that has attracted more than 40 blue-chip members including Microsoft, Chevron, BP, Ernst & Young, SAP and Axa.

The IT-CMF is expected to be used by two-thirds of all Fortune 500 companies within two years.

CTOs and CIOs under pressure

Speaking with, Intel’s IT chief technology officer Gregg Wyant, said CTOs and CIOs are under pressure to show how IT has matured and move the perception of IT from being a cost centre in any business to being a value centre.

“It’s fundamentally about managing practices of organisations and measuring yourself and benchmarking with others and then sharing best practices with other organisations. It transcends what businesses are doing with their enterprise architecture, procurement practices and through all of this get a good benchmarking connection.”

Wyant said the need for a globally recognised set of practices is paramount at the present time. “Investment levels in IT across the world have actually gone up because there’s a recognition we are in a global economy, organisations are doing a lot more and they realise that by connecting seamlessly between suppliers and the customer – the enterprise to the extra-prise – IT is the core enabler.”

“What is needed is a three-pillar model – research, assessment and certification – and putting that into an MBA-type approach is important.”

Railf Dreischmeier, managing director of Boston Consulting Group, said that IVI is approaching business schools in Europe and the US about deploying the IVI-CMF. “We are running educational master classes and Maynooth University is putting together the curriculum. At the moment we are identifying the right educational partners, the right universities and the right business schools.

“Our aim is to see this become part of a MBA-style university degree in IT,” Dreischmeier said.

Wyant added that the key is to help CIOs from large blue chips right down to SMEs actualise themselves as business-change drivers in their organisation. “IT is reaching a maturity level and the advantages CIOs will get from improving their business – simplified governance, reuse of assets, maximising capital and utilities – will put IT at the heart of business change.

“In one year, the enterprise architecture practice at Intel saw a 19pc improvement because we showed an improvement in things like reuse of documentation. The investment is time, not a massive capital investment, to create shared goals and targets and back it up with programme management and changes over the course of the year.”

CIOs and IT managers may look at professions differently

The CIO of Analog Devices, Peter Forte, explained to that it is time that IT managers and CIOs across the world began to see their own profession differently. “An assessment of IT as a profession would say we are relatively immature. Computers have only been around a few decades but we actually see ourselves going through a maturity curve. A qualification or assessment that aligns the individual with the business goals of any organisation would be useful in accelerating or advancing a career.”

Forte said that many companies around the world have had to scale down because of the recession. In Analog Devices’ case, 25pc of the company’s IT workforce were let go. “That’s a lot of knowledge to walk out the door within 30 days. Disciplines like the IT-CMF could help ensure that knowledge is not impacted.

He sees the competencies and disciplines in the IT-CMF as helping Analog shift the balance back to where it should be in terms of managing IT processes and helping to accelerate movement of the business.

Dr. Brian Donnellan, Professor of IT at NUI Maynooth and academic director of IVI, also works with the IVI and said the IVI-CMF is “being used in anger as we speak” by CIOs around the world. “The next step is dissemination and diffusion of the practices around the world.

“We are very much focused on the content development process and what we will release to the market this summer has to be bulletproof.”

He said an MBA-like qualification for IT professionals would raise the bar for the industry. “We have met with the EFMD which is the clearing house for business schools and I have been involved in the standardisation process in the US around content for a Masters level qualification.”

Among the results of companies using the IVI-CMF are:

– Merck – 8pc saving in total operating budget for technology innovation and 20pc saving of total budget for experiment execution (Merck)

– Intel – 25pc improvement in IT capability, for 10pc reduced spend

– Chevron – Significant success with initial applications has led to a decision to use IT-CMF’s 36 process framework to organise and unify the IT function across the corporate group

– Axa-Tech – 96pc reduction in set-up working time for new servers; and -81pc (-63pc) reduction in total cycle time for set-up of virtual (physical) servers

By John Kennedy

Photo: One of the first major outputs to come out of the Maynooth-based Innovation Value Institute is a new MBA-style qualification

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years