Bausch & Lomb reduces IT boundaries

The commonly used phrase "lack of IT alignment" suggests communication problems arising from dysfunctional boundaries between IT and business groups inside an organization. Bausch & Lomb has shattered boundaries by merging IT and customer service under the CIO.

Bausch & Lomb removes IT boundaries

The commonly used phrase "lack of IT alignment" suggests communication problems arising from dysfunctional boundaries between IT and business groups inside an organization.

In a move apparently designed to reduce poor alignment and create strategic opportunity, Bausch & Lomb, the eye care company, has merged its customer service and information technology functions together under CIO Alan Farnsworth.

Larry Dignan comments:

[I]t appears that Bausch & Lomb has linked IT and customer service and given one guy the ball to integrate the two. The move is also an example of how business executives–not technically trained types–are taking over the role as CIO.

Disconnects, gaps, or communication issues that might arise between these important groups now have a built-in resolution mechanism. With a single of point of responsibility, there are fewer cracks into which issues might fall and disappear. Of course, this also puts CIO Farnsworth into the hot seat when the inevitable conflicts arise.

On the positive side, by bringing together IT and customer service under one roof, Bausch & Lomb creates stronger connections between two critical information-related functions. Eliminating the boundaries creates tremendous opportunity for the company to bring strategic IT to bear on customer service. That's got to be good for customers and therefore great for Bausch & Lomb.

In contrast, I recently spoke with a CIO who lamented IT in his organization is viewed as little more than "people who keep the computer lights shining." Wow, that's a vastly different perspective on the role of IT!

This will be an exciting, and I suspect challenging, time as Bausch & Lomb integrates the functions. It's good news and bears watching in the future.

[Image via Library of Congress]

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