Cutting costs with a dedicated automation team


By Frank Hayes

One way to squeeze operational costs out of IT systems is to assemble a technical team that's focused on doing exactly that, says Paul Cassell, U.S. CIO of NYSE Euronext.

"We put together an eclectic group of people who understand business problems and who know that you do not need to build the Taj Mahal when all you need is a pine box," Cassell says. The group includes developers, database administrators, former QA testers and, because NYSE Euronext operates financial markets, specialists in market data analytics.

This software automation group has eliminated more than $60 million in hard operational costs over the past five years. One example of the team's work is an automation tool that automatically moves new software from coder to testing to operations to installation. Replacing what is traditionally a manual process has taken out hundreds of hours of planning and emails. But a centralized automation group is likely to hit political interference.

"In a company with several major lines of business, you will get pushback from the IT people who work directly for the business," Cassell says.

"The worst possible scenario is when you have IT fighting with IT and convincing their own business leaders that a centralized group is a bad idea and that it will slow IT delivery to their particular business." The best solution: Sell the automation group concept to the business leaders first--so business leaders can see how the new group will help deliver technology to them more quickly--and only after than to IT.

For more:
- see Martha Heller's post at CIO

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