CIO management problem solving skills

CIO management problem solving skills

The CEO of your organization is a driven and decisive character, known for engaging in dramatic and drastic mergers and acquisitions. She is also equally well known for cleaning house if she is displeased yet rewarding handsomely those employees who meet or exceed her expectations. As a recent beneficiary of her benevolence, you were recently promoted to the Chief Information Officer (CIO) position for the entire conglomerate of organizations that comprise your global company, which all specialize in one aspect or another of auto, truck, bus, and machine parts. Her helicopter has just landed on the roof, and you have been summoned along with other members of the senior leadership team to appear in a medium-sized conference room. Putting 2 and 2 together, you surmise that the arrival of the CEO and your order to drop everything and come upstairs are related, a fact that is confirmed when she and her entourage burst through the doors and begin to meet and greet. You are relieved to see that her mood is very upbeat—your job is probably safe, and if you’re lucky, your career may be about to get a much-needed boost.

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Looking around the room, you see that there are other representatives from the Leadership Team: Finance, Human Resources, the Global Mergers and Acquisitions Group, the Change Management guru, the Risk Management guru, the Governance guru, and several other people from an even higher floor that have corner offices and are known for their strategic prowess. These must be members of the Board.

Clearly, something is up.

The noise and chatter begin to die down as the CEO addresses the room. You are all there because you have been selected as the lead team for an exciting new venture that will be announced in 2 months’ time to the entire organization. As it turns out, your company has just acquired yet another organization, but this time rather than acquiring a smaller one and essentially cleaning house and apportioning the assets, this is going to be a true merger. Even the name of your company is going to change to reflect the merger of the two parts-manufacturing organizations—yours being the first of the two names of course, Zanzibar-Maxonparts Solutions. The new company with which you are merging, Maxonparts Solutions, is actually larger in terms of the number of employees. It has fallen on hard times but is structurally sound. It has a significant market share, a good bond rating, and boasts offices around the globe. In better times, this company might be the one swallowing up yours, rather than the other way around.

As you listen to the presentation and note the excitement among your new colleagues on the Senior Leadership Team, you begin to realize what your role will be and why you have been selected to hear this announcement. As you look around, you recognize that among the people in the room are all the members of what you informally call the “triage unit.” Each time an acquisition of significant importance or pressing timeline is undertaken, the same group is pulled together in order to evaluate the technical needs and infrastructure implications of the acquisition, then develop a plan. They are also sent off-site to visit the target organization, to see if the intelligence that has been gathered and the disclosures and information provided by the target organization are accurate. You are aware that their experience has been the smaller the company, the more accurate and reliable the data because they have less to hide and fewer opportunities to do so. The larger the organization, the more inconsistencies tend to be found. This company is the largest yet, and it’s technically a merger, not an acquisition.

The CEO finishes her presentation, shakes the hand of everyone in the room, and helicopters off, literally. You are left with a folder with some information to review and promises that more will follow. It looks like your career is taking off, but only if you are able to handle the IT aspects of this complicated merger—and do so in a timely fashion and at or under budget. You glance at the folder and note that the first thing you see is a cover letter that underscores the need for confidentiality. You are going to have to come up with a discreet plan in order to complete your assignment. Some of this cannot be assigned to subordinates because they cannot know what’s going on for 2 months.

Your role is obviously a technology role. However, throughout the entire merger process, you must keep in mind that your decisions have an impact on other departments within the organization. You must analyze the situation and propose a solution to merge the two organizations’ technological infrastructures. At this point, you will not address the manufacturing systems themselves, i.e., the machines that make the part within Maxonparts facilities. Your objective will be to integrate the employee, payroll, ordering, supplier, and Human Resources of Maxonparts with the systems of Zanzibar. You have a hard deadline of 12 months to perform this integration. Among the factors that must be considered are: direct cutover vs. phased approach, integrate one system at a time, and local vs. distributed systems. You will need to consider whether the systems must be the same or only hold a shared interface.

Maxonparts is not the first organization that Zanzibar has merged with, nor will it likely be the last. As you make your infrastructure decisions, you need to consider employee culture and relationships with the new organization, documentation of integration, and design a solution that is scalable and strategic.

CIO management problem solving skills

CIO management problem solving skills

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