IT Executive Vandy Johnson Speaks at Siouxland IT Symposium

 Vandy Johnson noted IT executive, spoke at the Siouxland IT Symposium in Sioux Falls recently with Blake Abdella, of Xigent Solutions, at a break-out session called Delivering the Promise of Business Efficient IT.  During the session Vandy shared insights gained from his experience as the top IT executive at Medtronic, General Mills, and most recently XRS, about how to improve the efficiency of IT and enable it to deliver transformational value to the business. Throughout his career Vandy delivered results that were amazing, garnering accolades in the form of industry awards from Computerworld and Nemertes Research Pilot House. So, how did he do it? Here are a few highlights from his informative talk:

IT Maturity Levels and Capabilities

Understanding the maturity level and capabilities of your IT organization is critical to getting on the path to Business Efficient IT. Some companies spend up to 90% of their IT budget on simply keeping IT running indicating a lack of maturity and low capability levels that results in little or no IT focus on helping transform and grow the business. This isn’t uncommon because many businesses, across all market segments, have not had the opportunity to assess their IT against a sophisticated maturity assessment model.



IT is a team sport

Recognizing that IT is a team sport is one of the first steps toward improving the maturity level and capabilities of your organization.  To achieve the greatest results IT must extend the team sport concept to how IT and the business interact.



6 areas IT leaders should focus on

Vandy has followed MIT’s guidelines for effective IT planning and operations:

  1. IT Budget planning
    • Developing an IT budget and using it to guide downstream decision making is a critical step toward improving maturity levels.
  2. Investment planning
    • What will IT be doing in 5 years? Don’t wait to start thinking about this.
  3. Benchmarking
    • What are your current performance metrics? You need to know where you are now to show improvemen
  4. Cost optimization
    • The majority of your IT expense isn’t in the equipment.  It is managing and maintaining your IT environment
  5. Process improvement
    • Having robust processes in place makes IT more efficient and able to deliver greater outcomes to the business (see next bullet)
  6. Showing business value— “That’s why you’re there”
    • If you use IT as cost measurement that’s all you will be measured on. This should be avoided because what happens to costs? They get reduced, so present IT as a value to the business, not just a cost center.



What if I don’t have the resources to focus on all 6 areas?

You’re not alone. If your resources are limited, here are two that Vandy recommends:

  • Budget Planning which will raise your maturity level
  • Cost optimization—Gets the most attention
    • Reducing platforms and complexity
    • IT procurement
    • Joint business and IT cost savings
    • What can IT do together with the company to reshape the way it does business?—This is a rare opportunity.



To learn more about Business Efficient IT visit

To watch Vandy Johnson's break out session at the Siouxland IT Symposium visit Xigent Solutions YouTube Channel.