Dream or nightmare? IT dept from scratch



blog It’s not often that you see a whole new IT department and associated systems set up from scratch, but that’s kind of what appears to be happening at ice cream giant Peters, which was recently bought by a private equity firm and is currently separating its systems from global food manufacturer and ex-parent Nestle. iTNews reports (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“The ice cream giant … was given just 12 months to cut its ties with former owner Nestle, including transitioning out from the Swiss giant’s IT and accounting shared services environments. A key project in the transition-out is to stand up a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system”

In one sense this kind of situation would be highly attractive — as an IT manager or CIO, you’d obviously have the chance to escape legacy systems and do away with many of the mistakes of the past, implementing the best available new technology. However, of course, and especially in this case, where there’s a definite corporate cut-off date, it is also quite a daunting prospect; if things go wrong, there’s no legacy to fall back on. And manufacturing and retail ERP systems are notoriously tricky to get right; just look at what happened with Ansell’s new platform over the past several years. The whole thing could be a blessing or a curse. Either way, it sounds like whoever is engaged in this kind of situation would be living in ‘interesting times’.


  1. For an IT administrator or an IT manager, this would be Dream – (with a capital deal) – but you have to have an open mind from upper management, and the right CIO to push the strategy in the right direction.

    Everyone in the business will have an idea of what they think is the best thing to use in the various categories – (file and print, database, messaging, and the applications required) – but the best file and print doesn’t necessarily match the best database, or the best messaging platform.

    Sometimes it’s a matter of choosing the second best in one category, to suit the best in another category, and using some smart integration to make the best possible solution – which is often “better” – (in upfront costs and later operational costs, for example) – than having chosen the “best” in each.

    I’ve done a couple of “near greenfield” builds, and it’s a political exercise in keeping everyone as happy as possible, as much as it is a technology battle.

  2. Indeed Michael, as long as they have some execs with decent experience, it could be a very good thing for them.

  3. Adam – agreed. BTDT with Qld Rail and Aurizon, QUU, AllConnex and the other water authorities (and back again in some cases), and will be on the cards for recent local government de-amalgamation (if that is a word). It’s because these are not in Sydney, Melbourne or Canberra they do not get any coverage.

    • Unfortunately I cant go into great detail exactly about how it happens

      Most organisation set themselves up in trust relationship domain and simply remove/add it. Along with network settings changes

  4. The biggest challenge with setting up a fresh IT group might be too much experience.

    A bunch of experienced IT execs with an understanding of how all the components of governance will interact and the things they personally want to avoid could mean a lot of disconnected activity. Isolation of accountability at the expense of overall effectiveness.

    The second challenge will certainly be understanding that the IT function will look very different in two years – cloud trends, etc – so they will need to try and build to that future model without the constraints or safety nets of current organisations.

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