By: Chris Tabish
I was the program leader of a CIO visioning effort at a Fortune 500 technology company where the target was to demonstrate the use of its own products for internal operations, aka ‘drink your own wine’.
The project seemed to have everything needed to successfully showcase their exceptional networking and software products. The company was committed to carrying out the vision, and it dedicated the right leaders for the job—credible and very influential.
But the leaders also had a tremendous amount of pressure to deliver ‘drink your own wine’ quick hits, or short-term, tactical achievements. This quick hit delivery tempo was part of the company’s culture. The common belief was these quick hits would keep the overall vision program visible and credible.
One of the first quick hits was an internal ‘Service Operations Center’. This center would provide technical support to the rest of the company which would soon be using its own products per the vision. The initial plan was for the operations center to be deployed offshore. This way, the company could provide 24×7 coverage while saving 40% in labor. Smart, right?
Then, along came a vision…
Shortly after the quick hit project was launched, the company finalized the ‘drink your own wine’ vision. Part of this vision articulated a state-of-the art operations center with big-screen TV’s to display global maps monitoring the company’s products, capabilities and throughput. This operations center, in fact, would pin-point potential issues before any employee had an indication of the problem, all made possible by the company’s own products.
Best of all, visiting customers would see this slick, professional operation when they went into the onshore facility and—uhhh, wait a minute—-did you just hear a record scratch? (For those of you born after 1990, that’s a bad thing). If the company was going to have a state-of-the-art, onshore operation, then what was it doing building itoffshore?
This was a quick hit launched by smart people with great intentions. However, it still went awry. In fact, the quick hit had a spend upwards of $1 million by the time it was realized that it wasn’t in alignment with the vision. What went wrong? In short, it was not aligned with the vision. An integrated vision gives CIOs a broad perspective of the playing field so they can factor in all applicable considerations, in this case ‘marketing potential’ in addition to just ‘cost savings’. This is why having an integrated vision before launching costly implementations is so critical.
Chris Tabish is Executive Vice President for Bodhtree, which guides SMB and Fortune 500 companies in maximizing the long-term value of their IT investments. Bodhtree specializes in Product Engineering, Analytics, Cloud Services, and Enterprise Services, providing a cost-effective strategy to align IT with the enterprise’s core vision.