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IT is the support structure businesses are built on

GE's appliances division was once plagued by a multitude of outdated IT systems that did not integrate with one another.

GE's appliances division was once plagued by a multitude of outdated IT systems that did not integrate with one another.

Throughout this blog we have discussed how IT is the backbone of any company. In the modern business world, lack of an IT infrastructure is akin to lacking a pulse.

GE's historic Appliance Park was knocking on death's door at one point because the company's appliances division was running a hodgepodge of outdated software systems that weren't compatible with one another and made simple tasks into complicated nightmares.

In 2009, as a recent TechRepublic article points out, GE committed to reinvesting $1 billion in U.S. factories and creating 1,300 new jobs by 2014. But, if the IT systems aren't in place to support those new workers and keep productivity high, how long would it be before cutbacks are necessary?

According to the article, GE Appliances had 2,673 disconnected workflows, 530 applications, 444 IT platforms and databases numbering in the thousands – all with virtually no integration to speak of. Kevin Uhls, IT director of GE Appliances, told the news source that they hadn't really invested in IT for 20 years.

So, the company brought in a new CIO to spearhead the massive technology restructuring needed to keep Appliance Park running. His name is Alan Kocsi.

"I sat down with the CEO and the CFO and they told me that the thing that they loved about the IT department here is that it did everything that they asked," Kocsi said. "The thing that they hated was the IT department did everything they were asked. They were looking to us to provide guidance as opposed to just following orders; to take a swing and do something different."

Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) rarely have the money to throw at high-powered executives in order to have them come in and revamp their IT infrastructure. But, that's not much of a pain point, considering that SMBs can't survive long anyway with such disjointed technology "assets" that serve more as impediments.

However, quality SMB IT support providers can offer the guidance Kocsi talked about and make sure that companies don't face the near disaster GE Appliances found itself staring at.