From Windows 7 to being your own CIO, how IT is putting a tiger back in General Motors' tank

Interview: GM Europe CIO Alejandro Martinez Galindo on the role IT can play in turning a global business around...

...them developing strategy, setting budget, forming partnerships with other business units and developing talent.

"You cannot expect to achieve outstanding results without having the right team in place. I'm not referring to having the best collection of IT individuals, I'm referring to a high-performance organisation and guys who work extremely hard and can inspire others to deliver outstanding results and drive passion," he added.

Mexico-born Martinez Galindo has been part of GM's team for some years. Before taking the role of GM Europe CIO, he was GM's IT boss for Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, and before that, CIO for GM Mexico as well as Mexican truck and bus manufacturers Paccar México and Méxicana de Autobuses.

These days, he reports to GM's global CIO and the president of GM Europe. "In a global world where you're trying to buy and sell cars all over the world, you need to be connected to the entire organisation. My connection to the global team is very tight," he said.

Martinez Galindo also has a strong relationship with GM Europe's CEO. "I always talk to [the CEO] about how we can better serve the consumer, how we can optimise our revenue, how we can take advantage of our competitive advantage, how we can bring specific business models," Martinez Galindo said.

"I'm a strong believer that traditional IT has changed," he added. "We don't talk anymore about the IT and business alignment because that would imply a connotation of distance. In my view, we are the business. You can be the traditional CIO and be a way of operations or you can be on the front line with the business."

According to Martinez Galindo, the ability to reinvent IT every couple of years, if not more quickly, is a critical skill for the CIO.

"It's not just revisiting your strategy. You are dealing with a very dynamic environment in very difficult business conditions so if you're not able to generate new ideas and suggest different business models, you will not succeed. You will not be a successful CIO in any industry if you're not able to reinvent yourself. It's not just innovation or using the flavour-of-the-month technology - you name it, cloud computing or mobile - it's more fundamental in business values," he said.