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Under the Hood: Business Unity

Saying that IT has to be aligned with business is easy. Achieving that symmetry takes assertiveness, flexibility and, in some cases, the ability to live in a world turned upside down.
Jan 4, 2005

ITSM Watch Staff

That's exactly the world Jeffery M. Marshall, senior vice president and CIO of The Men's Wearhouse Inc. in Fremont, Calif., occupies every day.

He says the retail chain, which has more than 700 stores, practices "servant leadership," which is literally the organizational pyramid upside down.

For sure, there is a CIO and CEO and direct lines of responsibility. But management believes that it's the company's job to "promote, provide and protect" its 12,000 employees, Marshall says.

This attitude fosters porous interaction among employees and managers. Communication at all levels of the company is encouraged. And the open-door policy isn't limited to senior managers -- it goes all the way to the top. "Our culture is something we are very proud of," says Marshall.

This customer-centric environment ensures that employees have the tools needed for success, he says. For instance, when workers complained that the password management system was time-consuming and inefficient, the IT department acted. "We now have a system that has streamlined and automated the password change management process," says Marshall.

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