Emcor CIO Makes Business Case for IT

The CIO of the $5 billion facilities firm tries untraditional tactics to demonstrate that IT exists to serve. (CIOInsight.com)

When Emcor Group CIO Joe Puglisi recently decided to upgrade his companys version of Lotus Notes, he quietly "pre-deployed" it with a cross-section of his companys business managers.

He plans, he said, on using the favorable comments from that group to act as a sort of viral marketing to make the upgrade come as more of a customer desire than an IT demand.

Shortly before the Notes effort, his department recommended and then negotiated extensive cell phone vendor consolidation, saving "a couple of million dollars."

And yet, the IT department has no jurisdiction over cell phones or telecommunications.

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When the company was looking at better ERP hosting options, Puglisis department was expected to add resources and handle it internally.

Instead, he declined the additional people and argued to outsource it, which was done. The project came in $300,000 under budget and was delivered 30 days sooner.

None of these moves is what would have been expected from the CIO of an almost $5 billion facilities and construction company. But then, that was the whole point.

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Puglisi has made a career of going into large organizations and creating traditional technology infrastructures. Today, though, the veteran IT leader is trying to change the corporate culture of Emcor Group Inc., which is an amalgam of about 70 different companies.

The bulk of Emcors revenue has come from traditional construction, which Puglisi readily concedes is not an especially tech-friendly environment.

"On a job site, if the computer goes down, someone is bound to notice within three days," Puglisi said, adding a quip that the last major tech advances in construction came from a pharaoh.

But Emcor is starting to change, with less growth coming from the construction side of the business and more coming from facilities management. The facilities management side uses a lot more technology and is likely to see huge growth, as companies try to cut energy costs. If those efforts work, Emcor could quickly morph into a company that needs to rely very heavily on IT.

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