FCI USED CONTINUED COST CONSTRAINTS DURING THE LAST DECADE TO SPUR INNOVATION IN ITS IT OPERATION.
By Scott McDonald
HOW DO IT ORGANIZATIONS FACED WITH reduced budgets and personnel innovate and prosper? How, when the business demands more services and an expanded portfolio of business applications, does IT expand into new technolo- gies and deliver innovative solutions for the enterprise? Renowned urban planner/architect Jaime Lerner offered this advice: “Do you want innovation? Cut one zero from your budget. Want more innovation? Cut two zeros from your budget.” Can IT leaders take their cues from Lerner? Can they take advantage of constrained business conditions as an impetus for innovation? Can they become more innovative by cutting costs? That’s precisely what FCI, a global connector manufacturer based in Versailles, France, did in its IT organization. In the face of economic constraints over the past decade in the communications, automotive and other markets it serves, FCI applied Learner’s principle of “innovation by removing one zero from the budget,” and has continued to take innovative approaches
to delivering IT services and solutions alongside budget reductions. Here’s a look at how
FCI accomplished this.
YEARS 1 AND 2: Overnight, FCI’s IT organization reduced its budget by 10 percent. Initially, the
reactive measures hit all discretionary costs, trimming fat and putting projects on hold. Six months
later, there were further budget cuts. With the fat trimmed, the cuts dug into personnel: employees
deemed “discretionary” and without whom IT could still be sustained.