“The real difference that IT leaders [can
make] is being able to leverage information to
create competitive advantage in the marketplace,” Martin said.
Six years later, Chipita is still a pioneer
in cloud adoption, and Martin still has to
defend the approach in front of his peers.
“I feel like a lot of CIOs are in the process
of a kind of empire-building,” said Martin.
An IT empire-builder, he said, believes that
maintaining in-house services helps justify
his importance to an employer. Such beliefs
are “really irrational and not in the best interests of the company,” Martin added.
Forrester Research analyst James Staten
called Chipita forward-thinking at a time
when IT executives at many companies, par-
ticularly large ones, are “server huggers” who
resist cloud deployments. Such IT leaders, he
said, “have significant concerns about their
ongoing value to the company if they don’t
run [IT systems] themselves.”
Staten noted that many CEOs “don’t know
anything about technology, so their trusted
adviser is the guy trying to protect his job.”
Michael Barr, chair of the business psychol-
ogy department at The Chicago School of
Professional Psychology, agreed that fear of
losing control is one reason an IT executive
may shun a move to the cloud.
He added that I T executives also fear their
status would change due to a perception that
someone managing vendors has a lower rank
than someone managing direct reports.
Martin, however, argues that by eliminat-
ing IT tasks “that are becoming commodi-
ties,” CIOs can focus on being more produc-
tive. “For us, that’s increasing our sales and
decreasing our costs — two things that make
manufacturing companies more money.”
With the move to the cloud, Chipita’s IT op-
eration can also focus on improving the company’s sales tools, and
on finding new ways to integrate customer information, he added.
Martin said that, in many ways, he feels he has more control
and protection over his systems.
The IT operation can control the firewall, for instance, while he
can work with the services vendor to ensure the system is secure. “I
believe that these cloud partners really have better security in place
than what you can do internally,” said Martin.
Martin said he routinely re-evaluates
Chipita’s relationship with CenterBeam and
keeps an eye on an ever-changing cloud
market. He can end a contract in 30 days.
His contract limits price increases to the
consumer price index, he added. “Our risk
is if the market changes and those services
become cheaper,” said Martin, but that has
not been an issue thus far. u
Slow Cloud Adoption
Many IT execs are said to fear that a move to cloud
would cause them to lose status. By Patrick Thibodeau
CHIPITA AMERICA may be as close to a serverless company as one can find today. Its ERP, EDI and BI systems, Office and Exchange applications and file servers are all hosted in the cloud. About six years ago, when many IT managers
were debating the merits of Nicholas Carr’s book Does IT Matter?,
Chipita CIO Scott Martin was moving the Tulsa, Okla.-based
snack food maker’s email to service provider
CenterBeam’s cloud-hosted platform.
Chipita, a midsize, privately held business
whose product lines include Old London
Melba Toast and New York Style bagel and
pita chips, has since moved the rest of its
core systems to the cloud.
Martin reasoned that managing internal
systems doesn’t provide a competitive advantage to Chipita, and that his time would be
I feel like a lot
of CIOs are in
the process of a kind of
SCOT T MARTIN,
CIO, CHIPITA AMERICA