Transforming the Internal IT Environment: a Conversation with Bernie McVey

Bernie McVey
Bernie McVey

A central tenet in the business world is to ensure that operations are being conducting in the fastest, smartest possible way. Northrop Grumman is currently working to transform the internal IT environment “to create a more performance based culture in the company,” according to vice president and chief information officer Bernie McVey.

In 2009, McVey was placed in charge of Northrop Grumman’s information technology strategy. He believes that consolidating the IT environment will provide the company with a less expensive, more agile environment.

“[IT consolidation] will result in a more agile environment. A simplified environment is a more supportable environment,” he said.

While there are clear benefits to IT consolidation, challenges still remain in implementing changes.

“Change is very difficult,” McVey said. “We’ve done business in the IT space for quite a long time a certain way so getting people aligned with this change, having leadership to drive it and breaking down the barriers of the people who would like to continue business as usual.”

However, these obstacles are far from insurmountable. According to McVey, “We are making sure our entire leadership team is aware of and aligned with the vision and…the benefits of going in this direction.”

“It’s really all about alignment and leadership when you are talking about change. That’s really what we’re trying to accomplish,” he said.

So far, the efforts at Northrop Grumman have been largely met with approval by employees and the leadership. McVey has found an ally in the financial leadership of the company as well.

“I am very well aligned with the financial leadership of the company and that’s been very helpful in terms of some of the change that we are making. They understand the benefits so I’m actively seeking their support along with the sector Presidents,” he said.

In terms of timeframe, McVey is remaining flexible. “We are looking at this as a journey,” he said. “I set a three year timetable. We put together our plans around that type of a window.”

In the current business landscape, companies are continuing to explore ways to streamline operations and reduce costs while increasing efficiency. McVey advises other executives considering IT consolidation to communicate effectively and get leadership on board with the project.

“You need top-level support for the changes you want to make,” he said. “I think you need to communicate broadly and often about what you are trying to do and why.”

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