Intel CIO says spend more on computers

Intel's information chief, Doug Busch, says CIOs should persuade their bosses to spend more on computers.

Intel’s information chief, Doug Busch, says CIOs should persuade their bosses to spend more on computers.

If that sounds a convenient message for a top executive of the world’s biggest chip maker to be spreading, he admits there’s plenty of scepticism about the value of spending on IT.

“I’m not a completely unbiased observer, but I operate under the same scepticism as CIOs everywhere,” says Busch, speaking in Sydney.

“Scepticism is natural and it’s not just confined to IT; it’s the same in manufacturing.”

While he professes to not having carte blanche, Intel is steadily increasing its IT spending, at 4.25% of revenue today, “because we get value from it”.

Being able to demonstrate that value is the CIO challenge, he says.

“The first thing I get asked is are we going to get a return on the investment,” Busch says. In his case, the people asking the questions are Intel top brass Andy Grove and Gordon Moore, who, as computer industry pioneers, you might imagine wouldn’t take much convincing of the payback.

The company has a well-established process for coming up with spending justification: it’s a matter of sitting down with the owner of the business process concerned to understand the desired outcome.

“You then commit together to achieve the result and be jointly accountable to achieving it.”

Busch says proof of Intel’s IT investment payback is the 100-fold increase in transistor density the company manages on today’s chips compared with 20 years ago. Over the same period, the company’s engineering headcount went up 10-fold.

“The application of computers enabled that order of magnitude productivity gain. IT investment allied to sound management is the recipe for productivity growth.”

Doesburg travelled to Sydney courtesy of Intel.

  • Intel New Zealand is rolling its processor business back to Australia. Sales staff Colin Purkis and Grant Finer have been offered redundancy. Intel Australia sales manager of channels and distribution Philip Cronin says the company’s research and division team, which works on computer telephony integration products, will remain, leaving 40 people at Intel NZ. Intel says it conducted a review of the New Zealand market and decided to combine both Australia and New Zealand business units into one.

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