CUSTOMER STORY: Eric Hanson, Global VP of IT, Husco

Innovative IT Leader Helps Enable Growth Opportunities for Automotive Manufacturer

IT as a Strategic Business Partner

Husco is a privately-owned company specializing in high-performance hydraulic and electro-mechanical components. The company has over 70 years of experience designing and manufacturing components for automotive and off-highway applications.

Husco focuses on delivering superior customer service for its clients and is adept at navigating through a rapidly changing manufacturing industry. One reason for its success is a tight strategic alignment between the IT organization and the business. Eric Hanson, Global VP of Information Technology, has grown his department into a strategic business partner with an innovative mindset that helps the company easily adapt to changes and leverage new opportunities.

To assist the IT department with their ambitious agenda, they leverage Info-Tech Research Group to provide strategic advice and practical research and tools to get projects done better, faster, and cheaper.

photo of eric hanson

Member Name

Eric Hanson, Global VP of IT, Husco

Industry

Manufacturing

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Creating an Innovative IT Mindset

Eric Hanson began his assignment at Husco with a clear mandate for change to turn around an underinvested IT department that did not have a clear set of priorities. “My first opportunity when I started at Husco 6 years ago was to create a strategy that aligned with the business, provide a clear vision, and then match that vision with the right organizational and operating models to achieve success,” said Hanson.

One of Hanson’s first accomplishments was an analytics solution that was designed for business users to easily create their own dashboards and reports and was quickly adopted across the organization. Another big focus for his team at the outset was developing an effective technology strategy for communication and collaboration capabilities, an initiative that paid off during the COVID-19 pandemic when the company moved to a remote work model.

To assist with the transformational initiatives Hanson and his team are engaged in, they recently began using Info-Tech Research Group after previously using another IT research and advisory firm for several years. “My original driver for the change was cost, but one of the aspects I really like about Info-Tech is that it does a better job of empowering my staff. On a regular basis my staff has ready access to practical guidance, toolsets, templates and analysts for expert guidance on a range of important topics. That has been huge for us,” said Hanson.

Info-Tech workshops and blueprints connect strategic vision with practical advice and tools

To help turn strategic ideas into actionable plans, Hanson and his team leverage Info-Tech workshops and research blueprints. Their first Info-Tech workshop was Optimizing IT Project Intake, Approval, and Prioritization, where the team learned best practices to improve portfolio management. In addition, Hanson leveraged Info-Tech research blueprints to create his own action plans to roll out new projects for a range of topics, including risk management and cloud strategy.

The difference in value of the research and roadmaps from Info-Tech versus other research firms was illustrated to Hanson when he was a panelist with other CIOs at a recent symposium. The other panelists referred to their cloud migration strategies by just focusing on the physical requirements, but Hanson approached it with a completely different mindset. “Through my research and engagements with Info-Tech, I was able to easily communicate this completely different way of looking at it by pulling up the Info-Tech playbook and showing that the focus for cloud migration strategies should really center on business alignment and driving business value. By presenting the topic in this fashion I was able to shift the tone of the whole symposium,” said Hanson.

"I was able to easily communicate this completely different way of looking at it by pulling up the Info-Tech playbook and showing that the focus for cloud migration strategies should really center on business alignment and driving business value."

two peices of paper showing IT research

Info-Tech Vendor Contract & Cost Optimization Services lead to significant contract savings

Hanson also noticed a big difference between Info-Tech and his previous research and advisory firm when it came to vendor management services.

Whereas his previous advisory firm would have charged 20% on any of the savings they helped to negotiate, Info-Tech does not include this kind of add-on fees. “We recently used Info-Tech contract negotiation services for a major software renewal contract. As a result of the insight and advice they provided us, we were able to save around $600,000 over the life of our next contract,” said Hanson.

Assessing IT’s Impact on the Business

Eric Hanson values his partnership with his business stakeholders and views his IT leadership role as being less about technology and more about business enablement. “IT practitioners in general are being challenged to elevate their thinking, be more business oriented, and not just throw technology at every problem they come across,” noted Hanson.

One of the tools Hanson leverages to assess the IT department’s impact on the business is the Info-Tech CIO Business Vision survey. “The CIO Business Vision survey requires minimal tweaking and minimal time on my part to administer. Once we release it and get feedback from our stakeholders, it has been really valuable to then sit down and get insights from Info-Tech experts to examine the data and parse it in a meaningful way. We can then make adjustments where needed,” said Hanson.

"Once we release [the CIO Business Vision survey] and get feedback from our stakeholders, it has been really valuable to then sit down and get insights from Info-Tech experts to examine the data and parse it in a meaningful way."

two people working on a machine at husco

Bridging the Gap Between Business Priorities and Impactful IT Initiatives

Husco is well positioned for the future as it navigates through current challenges such as the global chip shortage as well as future developments such as the oncoming major shift from combustion engines to electric vehicles. Hanson leverages the Info-Tech Manufacturing Industry Roundtable to network with his peers and gain some tailored advice on topics such as supply chains and other top-of-mind issues facing manufacturing companies.

Hanson has an ambitious set of IT priorities that includes topics such as organizational collaboration, adoption of a new ERP system, talent acquisition and retention, and engineering manufacturing excellence. “We really view Info-Tech as a partner because we utilize their research and guidance on all of these strategic initiatives as we move forward,” concluded Hanson.

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