Managing an IT Reorganization as Airline Takes Off

Todd Thompson is vice president of IT at JetBlue Airways, the low-fare airline whose business has soared to annual revenue of $1.3 billion since its founding in 2000. After 16 months on the job, Thompson spoke about his IT reorganization and an ERP implementation that's under way.

What changes have you made in the IT department? We've aligned IT around five key disciplines that are the key classes of assets in IT: networks, servers, applications, desktops and projects. We have an IT director focused on each of those disciplines, plus an IT director for operations in Salt Lake City. One of the things that we've placed emphasis on is project management, which allows IT to be directly aligned with the business.

What's next? I spent the first year making the organizational changes, so this year we're focusing on the technology. We're in the process of implementing SAP -- financials, HR, payroll, purchasing management. We're implementing Business Objects for BI. We have Business Objects for our data warehouse. We're in the process of moving our data center into an existing facility to improve redundancy.

During your first year, what was your biggest challenge? The pace of change and growth at JetBlue. And keeping up with that growth while dealing with applications and technology, and hiring a lot of people at the same time. We're a company that is growing 30% to 40% a year.

This was first published in June 2005

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