2007 InfoWorld CTO 25: Nicola Gazzaneo

CTO, Grandi Stazioni

Two million people rely on Nicola Gazzaneo every day. That’s the number of passengers that pass through Italy’s 13 largest terminals, and Gazzaneo’s work affects every one of them. As CTO of Grandi Stazioni -- the redevelopment, operations, and maintenance arm of Italy's state railway group -- Gazzaneo oversees IT initiatives for the country’s major managed railways, including stations in Rome, Florence, Milan, and Venice.

Recognizing the need to streamline operations, improve operational efficiency, and bring all processes under a single management umbrella, Gazzaneo concluded that the system needed a BPM platform in place to stay competitive. After a lengthy evaluation period, he selected a solution that used Savvion BPM software, then set about installing, customizing, and implementing everything in 2000. The rollout, with new projects phased in each successive year, reached the final stage -- which brought all 13 railways into the BPM system -- in the fall of 2006.

A wildly ambitious undertaking, Grandi Stazioni now uses its BPM software and reworked business processes to orchestrate the flow of all its operations processes, from contracts, purchase orders, payments, and schedules to managing end-to-end claims processes (which are typically complex, long-running, and require human interaction to complete).

Six years in, Gazzaneo’s big bet has been transformative. The BPM initiatives are now key to managing all areas of operations, such as HR, forecasting, compliance, claims (including those related to security), maintenance, repair inspection, and cleaning services. And efficiency is up across the board. For example, it now takes Grandi Stazioni 30 percent less time to get contractors to make repairs than it had before BPM was in place.

Though Gazzaneo’s efforts were focused on the back end, the effect on the user interface -- the train stations themselves -- has been equally dramatic. Because of a combination of highly functional software and a commitment to continuous process improvement, Grandi Stazioni has been able to remake dark, old train stations into bright, modern urban plazas.

Like any good manager, though, Gazzaneo isn’t resting on his laurels. His latest undertakings -- integrating the BPM software with Grandi Stazioni's corporate portal and using PDAs and SMS (again integrated with the BPM system) for maintenance applications -- are currently underway. And Gazzaneo seems just the guy to keep all these train projects on track.