Outourced and cloud IT

FLSmidth has nearly all its IT in-house, and Madsbjerg Hansen does not see any reasons to change this. Historically, it has been a bit of a religion not

to outsource, but I do not really care if we do it in-house or not – I just want it as good and cheap as possible. And since I already have most of my IT staff in India, it is cheap and they are doing a really good job.”

Madsbjerg Hansen does use outsourcing to handle work load peaks and to get some expert help, however. And we are using the cloud where it makes sense. For example, we are moving to Microsoft Office 365, since we had a business case for doing so. But cloud can be legally complicated when you are a global company, since different countries have different laws.”

Over the past 15 to 20 years, FLSmidth has acquired lots of companies, which means the IT applications across the company are very broad, according to Madsbjerg Hansen. The challenge when moving people to the same IT platform is not technological – the big challenge is the fact that it means that they have to adopt the same way of doing their jobs,” he says.

Under the overhauled IT strategy, Madsbjerg Hansen only replaces an IT application when there is a strong business case for it. IT should not push systems down people’s throats. We are working with pull instead, and the businesses will get new IT systems when they need them to meet a business objective.”

FLSmidth has also decided to move towards two global enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, rather than a single one. Earlier, the ambition was that the single ERP system would manage everything in every corner of the globe, and dictate how things should be done. But now we are respecting the fact that we have very different business needs, and that forcing everybody to work in exactly the same way would not be very efficient,” says Madsbjerg Hansen.

“IT should not push systems down people’s throats. We are working with pull instead, and the businesses will get new IT systems when they need them to meet a business objective”

Mads Madsbjerg Hansen, FLSmidth

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In three to five years’ time, most of FLSmidth will be using one of the two global ERP systems, according to the CIO. But there will always be some small systems left around the globe. If, for example, we have a small unit with 23 people who have a system that works for them, there might be no need for them to have a global solution.”

Part of the new IT strategy is also to work with lots of small projects instead of a few large ones. Theoretically, this is less effective, but big projects always tend to get so complex and expensive that I believe this is the best strategy. And the world is dynamic, which means you end up building for the past if you embark on big projects – the business will have moved another way while you were working.”