Case Detail

Case Summary

CEMEX: Information Technology, an Enabler for Building the Future

Case Number: 5-315-502, Year Published: 2017

HBS Number: KEL992

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Authors: Israel Feuerberg; Lorena Sanchez Garcia; Santiago Trevino Villasenor

Key Concepts

Business Process Improvement, Competitive Strategy, Control Systems, Decision Making, Global Strategy, Knowledge Management, Information Technology, International Business, Mergers and Acquisitions, Risk Management


The case examines the role of IT in CEMEX, a giant Mexican building materials manufacturer in an industry categorized by low margins and high costs. In the early 1990s, CEMEX made significant investments in its IT systems, resulting in a data-based management operation that put it at the forefront of the industry. As the company grew through acquisitions, it integrated IT through "The CEMEX Way," a set of standardized processes, organizations, and systems implemented on a common IT platform.

In 2007, when CEMEX acquired Rinker, a major Australian concrete company, aligning Rinker with CEMEX IT systems was critical to quickly streamline operations and realize efficiencies. The CIO of CEMEX had developed a new integration process called Processes & IT (P&IT) that he was considering using for the Rinker integration. However, P&IT required additional resources, including significant upfront fixed costs and investment in new personnel teams at a time when the company was already struggling with the integration of another acquisition. CEMEX could either align Rinker to The CEMEX Way or use the opportunity to invest significantly more in evolving to the new P&IT approach that focused on business process management.

Learning Objectives

After reading and analyzing the case, students will be able to: recognize the importance of process methods and goals in ensuring harmony between processes and technology platforms, speeding up solution deployments, and enabling continuous improvement and innovation; understand the impact of IT processes in integrating a large acquisition; and recommend an appropriate model for integrating an acquisition.

Number of Pages: 9

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Operations

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: Mexico, Global

Industry: Building materials manufacturer

Organization Name: CEMEX

Organization Size: Large

Year of Case: 2007