Exec Blueprints The Heart Of The Matter 27151


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IT innovation” used to either refer to developing the latest techie tool
that no one else in the company used or understood — or following orders
to design a specific product or service. Today, as the IT function is increasingly
expected to develop creative strategies that deliver direct value to the
company and its customers, innovation means not only being able to meet
today’s immediate needs, but also to proactively develop platforms, processes,
and products that will ensure the company’s competitive standing in the
future. In order to creatively meet the challenges and opportunities presented
by this new level of IT engagement in company strategy, this ExecBlueprint
focuses on how CTOs/CIOs can facilitate a shift in the company’s perspective
of IT from a “cost” center to an “investment and growth” center. The
process, according to the authors, must be initiated within IT: each team
member must be encouraged to view the company from a 360-degree
perspective, seek alternative solutions to system design and process analysis,
and fully embrace his/her evolution from “technologist” to “business

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Exec Blueprints The Heart Of The Matter 27151

  1. 1. www.execblueprints.com ExecBlueprints in partnership with Aspatore Books ™ Action Points Current and former IT leaders from Sprint Nextel, Bright I. What Are Recent Examples of IT Innovation? Horizons, and Oakwood Worldwide on: Increasingly, the IT function is evolving from managers of systems to managers of information, which means “innovation” now is occurring in collaboration with top-level company leaders. In this report, authors discuss new IT initiatives in the areas of testing procedures, project management processes, and The Heart of the Matter: global enterprise portals. II. The Bottom Line IT departments at larger companies today are devoting 5 to 10 percent of IT efforts to bringing Placing Innovation at innovative solutions and processes to the table. However, in today’s competitive world, these new initiatives cannot be “science-fair”-type projects, but rather must be linked with corporate goals and the Center of Your scrutinized to deliver value as soon as possible. III. Must-Have Approaches for Collaborating with Company Leadership For IT to truly earn a seat at the leadership table, the IT Strategy CTO/CIO must transform the role of his/her department from order-filling technologists to Dick LeFave innovation-generating business partners. IT leaders Former CIO, Sprint Nextel can accomplish this by learning the needs and challenges of the business and proactively offering value-laden solutions. Tim Young IV. The Golden Rules for Fostering an Vice President, Information Technology, Bright Horizons Innovative IT Team The impulse to innovate must necessarily originate with the “chief innovation officer,” but then it must percolate to every member of the department. The Ric Villarreal first step is to hire creative people, acquaint them with Senior Vice President and CIO, Oakwood Worldwide the needs of the business, and then encourage them to adopt an open approach to system design that is allowed to take measured risks. I V. Essential Take-Aways “ T innovation” used to either refer to developing the latest techie tool Only when IT is willing to step out of its box and view that no one else in the company used or understood — or following orders its role and contribution to the company from a broadened perspective can true, useful innovation to design a specific product or service. Today, as the IT function is increas- begin. While IT’s creativity must first be informed by ingly expected to develop creative strategies that deliver direct value to the the needs of the rest of the company, it should not be limited solely to products, but should also extend to company and its customers, innovation means not only being able to meet technology platforms and processes. today’s immediate needs, but also to proactively develop platforms, processes, and products that will ensure the company’s competitive standing in the future. In order to creatively meet the challenges and opportunities presented Contents by this new level of IT engagement in company strategy, this ExecBlueprint focuses on how CTOs/CIOs can facilitate a shift in the company’s perspective About the Authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.2 of IT from a “cost” center to an “investment and growth” center. The Dick LeFave. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.3 process, according to the authors, must be initiated within IT: each team Tim Young . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.7 member must be encouraged to view the company from a 360-degree Ric Villarreal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.12 perspective, seek alternative solutions to system design and process analy- Ideas to Build Upon & Action Points . . . p.14 sis, and fully embrace his/her evolution from “technologist” to “business partner.” ■ Copyright 2008 Books24x7®. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without the prior written permission of the publisher. This ExecBlueprints™ document was published as part of a subscription based service. ExecBlueprints, a Referenceware® collection from Books24x7, provides concise, easy to absorb, practical information to help organizations address pressing strategic issues. For more information about ExecBlueprints, please visit www.execblueprints.com.
  2. 2. About the Authors Dick LeFave Former CIO, Sprint Nextel D ick LeFave is the former chief experience in IT, including more than Technology Council of the Billions Minds information officer (CIO) for 20 years as CIO for The Boston Foundation. He is a veteran of the U.S. Sprint Nextel, a role he previously Company, Thomas Cook Travel of Army as well as a published author. held with Nextel Communications Inc. American Express Company, Southern He was responsible for the strategic New England Telephone, and Sprint. deployment of information technology Mr. LeFave serves as the chairman of (IT) resources throughout Sprint Nextel. the CIO Council for the Alliance for Mr. LeFave joined Nextel in February Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) and is the co-chair for the ☛ Read Dick’s insights on Page 3 1999 and has more than 29 years of Tim Young Vice President, Information Technology, Bright Horizons A s VP of Bright Horizons’ infor- procedures; sustains availability, capacity, as software development programmer/ mation technology department and planning for growth; develops and engineer for Zircon Company Inc., where since 1997, Tim Young is charged executes global information risk stan- he designed and developed business appli- with the company’s technology vision dards; and delivers real-time information cations software for direct marketing strategy and developing business rela- and agile services for evolving business solutions. tionships on a global level. His leadership needs. Mr. Young has been quoted in emphasizes leveraging relationship man- Previously, Mr. Young served as man- Computerworld and CRN magazines, agement to synchronize IT with business ager of information technology for all of and has published works on Servant communities, and placing innovation at NSC Corporation’s U.S. operations (1992 Leadership, IT Innovation, and Vendor the center of IT strategy and vision evo- to 1997), and as senior programmer/ Relationships. He is also experienced in lution through servant leadership. analyst for Healthsource, Inc. where he speaking and teaching on these topics At Bright Horizons, the world’s lead- was responsible for the design, develop- in diverse venues. ing provider of employer-sponsored child- ment, and support of health care software care, early education, and work/life in the area of managed care and per- solutions, Mr. Young delivers strategic formed all user training for software appli- cations. He began his IT career in 1989 ☛ Read Tim’s insights on Page 7 long-term goals, budget, policies, and Ric Villarreal Senior Vice President and CIO, Oakwood Worldwide A s Oakwood Worldwide’s senior currently directs a formidable team in the training and video productions. He over- vice president and chief informa- information technology department and saw one of the first total quality man- tion officer (CIO), Ric Villarreal the program management office. agement (TQM) design teams that earned directs the strategic implementation of His latest initiatives include a complete Xerox the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige key platform programs and initiatives redesign of the enterprise reservation sys- Award. that enable Oakwood’s aggressive growth tem (a two-plus-year project that will be Mr. Villarreal has previously con- plans. Mr. Villarreal also leads completed by the end of this year); a cus- tributed to Aspatore Books’ popular Oakwood’s information technology team tomer information portal; and a series of C-Level Business Intelligence Series: The and is responsible for its technology strat- business intelligence projects that have Role of a CTO/CIO: Leading Technology egy, which includes the migration from already begun to drive organizational Executives on Setting Goals, Building its 20-year-old legacy environment to a change. a Strong Team, and Adding Value to a leading-edge .NET platform. Prior to Oakwood, Mr. Villarreal Company, where he provided insight and Mr. Villarreal joined Oakwood in enjoyed a successful 16-year tenure at approaches on the chapter, “Creating 1997 as the director of process engi- Xerox Corporation, where he worked in Strategic Momentum.” neering, championing a new direction various capacities within the printing and of business processes for Oakwood copier divisions during their peak visi- Corporate Housing, Oakwood’s third- bility years, including call center manager, ☛ Read Ric’s insights on Page 12 party corporate housing division. He an account executive, and a director of © Books24x7, 2008 About the Authors ExecBlueprints 2
  3. 3. Dick LeFave Former CIO, Sprint Nextel Approaching Innovation business and we capitalize on its in Business and IT energy. We also keep a tight focus on creating useful innovation, or Within the Sprint Nextel IT organ- driving innovated changes into ization, innovation is embraced in the business that address particular various ways: business challenges or untapped • Infrastructure changes potential. • Problem-solving approaches The Roles of Technology • Practices for working with our vendor partners Leaders in IT Innovation Sprint has always been focused on Specifically, we drive innovation innovative products and services — through our platforms, processes, it is ingrained in our DNA. In many and products. By building innova- ways, these innovative approaches Dick LeFave tive concepts into how we approach and creative attitudes that are char- Former CIO the IT architecture and the way we acteristic of the company as a Sprint Nextel “I have always believed IT plays the role of knowing how things work and When innovative solutions are balanced by therefore how things need to work. If simplified processes and systems, they are much you can inject innovation into that model as well, then the sky is the easier and sustainable to introduce. limit.” Dick LeFave • Joined Nextel in 1999 Former CIO • 29 years of experience in IT; 20 Sprint Nextel years as CIO • B.S., Boston University • M.B.A., University of Puget Sound whole have carried over into IT. • M.S., Systems Management, work with our business partners, we Although we maintain a formal University of Southern California are able to provide solutions that innovation group at the CTO level • Harvard Business School Advanced address the business needs for where IT has a seat at that table, Management Program (AMP) today — and tomorrow. We there- building innovation into the entire Mr. LeFave can be e-mailed at fore do not limit innovation to dick.lefave@execblueprints.com IT organization is the CIO’s job. It product development; we believe is part of building the team and that bottlenecking innovation keeping the mission on track. This The Role of IT Innovation in around products is too restrictive. is accomplished by applying an Overall Business Strategy Many books and articles have open approach to system design and been written about how innovation process analysis that allows the We focus on innovative activities in drives business effectiveness. IT professionals to seek out alter- platform, process, and product. Clayton M. Christensen’s impactful native solutions. This approach Our attention to these areas has work, The Innovator’s Dilemma does not represent a promotion of been quite specific since our recent (Harvard Business School Press), science fair projects in a hardened merger. In the past three years, we addresses the need to find innova- operational environment but rather have given special attention to tion beyond the product level and encourages the development of process, as well as growth within how work gets done looking nuanced ways to promote simplic- a platform and our vendor rela- through the innovation lens. ity and decompose burdensome tionships. In many cases, inno- bolted-together solutions. vation as a program can fall victim Innovation works well in IT to tough cost cutting. It is therefore when it cascades throughout the important to focus on justifying © Books24x7, 2008 Dick LeFave ExecBlueprints 3
  4. 4. Dick LeFave Former CIO, Sprint Nextel (continued) innovation even at a time when Simple, simple, simple. This is the and vendors to keep the train on the investments are tight. mantra we strive for in our IT shop. track. It takes investment to clean In the past few years, innovation When innovative solutions are bal- up legacy solutions that are bad has become more focused and the anced by simplified processes and attempts at being innovative. implications better understood. In systems, they are much easier Managing such a situation requires many ways, you need to be con- and sustainable to introduce. balancing the value of fixing solu- cerned about what you wish for. Understanding the idea and then tions with an eye to simplification Too much complexity as a result of doing good IT work is a powerful against controlling costs. Old IT creative investment and the sup- combination when coupled with investments that work well may be porting infrastructure will stress process re-engineering. However, the best bet until new solutions under the weight and systems will the process still requires a mean- become available. fail. ingful partnership with the business The area often given short shift in this process is the enabling software — better known as middleware that supports applica- tions and infrastructure. It is com- The Many Facets of IT Innovation plex and often grows faster in complexity, thereby impeding the at Sprint Nextel operational effectiveness of the IT delivery function. Engaging in innovation across the 3 basic organizational dimensions results in innovation Best Practices for Exploring in the following areas: Innovative Solutions • Infrastructure platforms In the area of vendor partnering, we • Processes (e.g., streamlining evaluations of new technologies, revising system development closely link the deployment of new methodologies, and automating notification systems) technology to our internal practices • Products/services (and with the vendor’s policies, too). This involves more than just good control management: incorporating new testing approaches (by jointly exercising test scripts, capacity, and stress testing) and validating oper- ational readiness (by collaborating with our vendors) makes for a faster Systems deployment with minimal impact to O r g a n iz a t io n the business environment. This P ro c e s s ability to deploy clean and effec- tively has spawned detailed process approaches and tools that were cre- ated by the test teams. The goal is effective execution and minimal dis- ruption to the business. Another way that IT can focus on innovation is by working with the chief technology organization. The IT team assigned to work in this space at Sprint Nextel devel- oped an industry-leading capability © Books24x7, 2008 Dick LeFave ExecBlueprints 4
  5. 5. Dick LeFave Former CIO, Sprint Nextel (continued) using a cell phone that was linked part of its DNA and strives to main- Having recently completed a to the Internet for procuring serv- tain that position. Finally, the merger, we have made major ices and products. It resulted in a benefit of creative processes is self- upgrades in the infrastructure which deployed product for the company sustaining; streamlining processes to is fortunate. At this point we have and patents for the developers. allow for faster time to market, for a great opportunity to optimize and, We also make sure we recognize instance, is a home run. in a way, refine our investments in creative individual efforts and systems with the business. The patents secured at an annual recog- merger has provided very powerful Promoting Innovation within platforms that can be tuned to nition event. The creation of intel- lectual property is very much an a Company: Balancing deliver more impact to the business. asset for the company. Innovation and Complexity In exercising the three legs of the The blessing and the curse of pro- stool — systems, process, and moting innovation is “be careful organization — is where I see inno- The Role of Individual what you wish for.” If innovation vative opportunities can arise. I also Employees in Exploring spawns complexity and gets ahead believe IT can have a dramatic Innovation of the infrastructure, then you get impact in the process re-engineering dysfunctional business functions. areas by working with our business Innovation is not a monopoly; in Innovating products without seek- partners to better take advantage of order to stimulate it, you have to ing innovation in the supporting the system solutions. discuss it at multiple layers. You need to offer opportunities to exper- functions results in “camp run Other examples of IT innovation iment with new approaches, amuck.” To clean up such a situa- include: processes, or products. Balancing tion can result in impacts to the business operation and, at best, sub- • Streamlining evaluations of the idea of innovation with deliv- new technologies by incorpo- ering operational excellence is the optimal solutions. rating closer vendor R&D trick. At any point in time, we devote capabilities We have stressed the value of IP 5 to 10 percent of our IT execution and recognized the contributors. to bringing innovative solutions and • Revising system development Creating new ideas and solutions is processes to the table, which is methodologies to streamline valued by the company at all levels. probably typical for companies time to market Our employees, for instance, also that promote an innovative • Automating notification sys- value that we associate creative approach. I think this percentage is tems to address outages solutions with a vital IT operation. also affected by the extent of the This stance is very much a morale linkage between IT and the busi- As a result of these innovations, builder. They also value that the ness, which is something we have internal customers have seen company has made innovation a been growing within the IT function improved IT quality and delivery. over the past three years. We have international sites with our outsourced vendors. When a Expert Advice new IT process is deployed inter- nally, it extends to our vendor part- Our recent merger instigated a significant focus on streamlining IT operations and ners, which is another reason why optimizing the infrastructure. An adopt-and-go model (that used the best existing a close linkage is necessary with the policy/method instead of creating a new one) was used to achieve significant sav- vendors. ings and cost reductions. This was especially useful in the computer operations space. While server consolidation and application rationalization are a part of every good IT shop’s tasks, a merger provides unique opportunities to accelerate this Measuring ROI for New streamlining. The IT professionals working in this area incorporated solid man- Innovative Solutions agement techniques with creative steps to assist the business to support this effort, and were thus able to achieve synergy targets in excess of $1.4 billion in a two- Adding new solutions represents rather than three-year timeframe. another investment within IT. We do set aside a fund to promote © Books24x7, 2008 Dick LeFave ExecBlueprints 5
  6. 6. Dick LeFave Former CIO, Sprint Nextel (continued) experimentation in a program and measurement along with the these solutions to a roadmap that directed by the CTO organization. understanding that once deploy- anticipates impacts to complexity As a company we also allocate cor- ment occurs, something has to be at all layers. A great new product porate funds that any function can accomplished (e.g., reduced costs or that cannot be billed or commis- participate in. a new product or service). sioned is a problem looking for a We look to incubate solutions home. similar to a venture capitalist model Words to Remember Finally, simple, simple, simple. but on a smaller scale. Business Do not automate bad processes cases come along with major Not every idea is a winner and the because the dialogue process with approvals for large-scale programs. leaders driving it must make sure the business owner has been However, we exercise a disciplined that the unintended consequences of broken. ■ approach to these investments. incorporating a new solution are Monthly reviews provide oversight appreciated. It is also key to align © Books24x7, 2008 Dick LeFave ExecBlueprints 6
  7. 7. Tim Young Vice President, Information Technology, Bright Horizons Defining Innovation information risk is becoming more One of the aspects embedded in the of a challenge to organizations DNA of innovation in a simple globally, we are positioned as lead- word — “arrive.” As IT leaders in ers at the epicenter of this infor- the 21st century we are challenged mation age. We have to be able to to ask the question, has IT arrived? solve and balance the adaptive A piece to solving this puzzle of capacity equation: communications innovation and what it means is to plus availability plus planning. understand that IT is undergoing a Solving this equation gets to the fluid and mission-oriented journey heart of information freedom and from relationship management to actionable platforms while balanc- demand management. It involves ing the need to manage information risk and profitability. IT is undergoing a fluid and mission-oriented Tim Young Vice President, Information Technology journey from relationship management to Bright Horizons demand management. “We look for people who are leaders Tim Young first, technologists second, and man- Vice President, Information Technology agers third. Leadership is the key.” Bright Horizons • With company since 1997 • Responsible for company’s technol- ogy vision strategy the expectation and realization that Two Sides of IT • Previously manager of information IT will sit at the table and be viewed technology, NSC Corporation Like a person, IT must realize that as a strategic partner to the organ- it has internal and external persona • B.S., Computer Science, Fitchburg ization that adds value to the busi- State College with communication and relation- ness. It also means that IT is poised • CIO Pocket MBA, IT Executive ship at is core. In an evolving land- to journey into uncharted waters Management, Boston University — scape where business value and School of Management without fear through what I call knowledge capital are so critical, IT Mr. Young can be e-mailed at “servant leadership” or being others- has to take an introspective look to tim.young@execblueprints.com oriented! When faith eclipses fear, better understand and determine a team is released that feels free to who we are. We also have to take risks. It is critical that IT understand how we are viewed and with the rest of the company and it changes its perspective from a lin- utilized by the community we serve. is up to us to help others clearly ear view to one encompassing 360 However, at the end of the day, understand that IT is journeying degrees so that we can see the those two sides should be relatively with them even though the final des- world and the community we serve congruent and unified in order to tination may not be in sight. through a different lens. create a sense of authenticity. The While people and process are IT team has to see themselves as front and center in any organiza- Creating Alignment service-oriented and builders of tion, technology is the lifeline of any relationships to be embraced by the Alignment begins by embracing company. The paradigm shift hap- organization and the communities the philosophy that a team without pening within IT today is a three- IT serves. In attempting to be a vision will perish. Creating this step evolution from managers of “others-oriented” through servant single focus or centeredness began systems, to managers of technology, leadership, this is our greatest chal- about six years ago with the incep- and on to managers of information. lenge and many in IT struggle with tion of what we call “IT Vision In an ever-changing disruptive and this concept. There should almost Week.” The main goal was simply turbulent business landscape where be an active transparent partnership to align IT with the business © Books24x7, 2008 Tim Young ExecBlueprints 7
  8. 8. Tim Young Vice President, Information Technology, Bright Horizons (continued) through vision. Because the land- call ourselves technologists; how- this universe and evolve with it to scape is always changing, we pick ever, our challenge is to be perceived better understand potential con- a new theme each year which our by our community as business part- nections that can add business global team orients around. This ners and not technologists. value. So, to better understand the year the theme is “Evolve,” with the Toward this end, we try to social network, we plan on launch- tagline that IT leaders in the 21st understand the people and process ing an experiment. Our initial step century need to evolve! At the ele- side of the business, which is where is to start a blog detailing our jour- mental level, if you were to dissect the value propositions are realized. ney into the social networking this journey through all the power One of the most exciting areas of space. The goal is that other teams points and keynotes, one would dis- innovation focuses on security and (such as marketing) can leverage cover that, at our core, we have privacy. Our CEO sees our ability this information to better under- reduced IT to communication and to understand and maneuver within stand how our consumers view relationship. One of the key meth- this space as a competitive advan- us, connect with us, and interact ods that we have chosen to keep our tage. In partnership with the legal with us. focus on vision is to utilize a man- department, IT has actually taken agement scorecard process. We a lead role to make information split the score across three specific Rooting Out Innovative risk a priority. areas, which are: Needs We just went through a stakeholder 1. Strategic Planning Ahead review process where we identified 2. Projects To be true to our vision, we must be the stakeholders for the U.S. cor- true to ourselves; we must evolve! porate division of the company. We 3. Relationship In order for IT to survive in the discovered this was a great way to We are in the process of lever- 21st century, we must become create partnerships within the aging what is learned through this more strategic by thinking three to organization. During this process, process to expand the scope to five years out. One area we chose we had dialogue around pivotal include applications, partners, and was how to free information for questions about communication vendors. The connective tissue that our community’s consumption — and relationship during which binds this process to the community specifically, how to converge the we drilled down and asked more we serve is what we call a social networking world with what pointed questions about their “Commitment Statement.” We we do in the corporate space while perception of business challenges grade ourselves against those score- balancing information risk. So we’re and how they align with global cards, and report to our community now trying to get our arms around challenges. what we’re going to do, how we’re the evolving social network com- A solid derivative of this process going to do it, and what end results puting space by asking ourselves was that we were able to invite the to expect, which provides full visi- how we can leverage: community into the IT vision and bility and transparency into IT. process. Often, IT teams live, exist, • MySpace? and remain in a utility and imple- • LinkedIn? mentation mode. While these are Innovative Activities foundational attributers of an IT • Blogs? Our first step toward being seen as team, staying there stifles growth innovators within the organization • External technology in real and innovation. We are changing was solving the concern of how we time within the organization? that perception by stepping out of are perceived within our commu- our box and pointing out ways we nity; we needed a plumb line. We We have quickly realized that this can augment profitability by iden- needed to position our team as space is evolving on its own in real tifying efficiencies that can be adding business value to the organ- time and if IT doesn’t come to bet- gained in business processes. For ization by defining our impact on ter understand it, it will continue to example, this year, through part- profitability. Fundamentally, we evolve without us. Our only hope nership, we successfully rolled out is to totally immerse ourselves in © Books24x7, 2008 Tim Young ExecBlueprints 8
  9. 9. Tim Young Vice President, Information Technology, Bright Horizons (continued) a global enterprise portal. This plat- form, still in its early stages, will provide a framework for global business processes, service-oriented architecture, single sign-on, and global identity access management. Digital Watermarking Enhancing Security To maintain freedom of information Signature Tracking within a world where informa- and and Audit tion is at risk is an ultimate para- Notification dox and challenge. Most organiza- tions have done a good job keeping the bad guys out using a perimeter- centric approach to security. However, in this converging world where information is more fluid and INFORMATION Authentication Digital growing at exponential rates, our Authorization Rights focus needs to evolve into a more Accounting Management information-centric perspective. This is not a new idea, but it’s a checkpoint on our journey in a dis- ruptive landscape and many organ- Vault/ izations are becoming more aware Recovery of this challenge. For example, it is Encryption Management relatively easy to determine the busi- ness value of a laptop by adding up the cost of the operating system, the applications, and the asset itself. It is far more difficult, however, to accurately determine the business value of the information contained inside. Best Practices without knowledge is a dangerous My laptop, for instance, may Because they’re intrinsically differ- trait. For example, jumping out of have an intrinsic business value of ent within each organization, it’s an airplane is risky; jumping out around $2,000, but a financial serv- tough to pinpoint specific tried-and- of an airplane without a parachute ices broker’s laptop that contains true best practices for exploring is foolish. financial portfolio information for innovative solutions. I can share one But in order to evolve, we do the company’s top ten clients can of the barriers that has been essen- have to push the envelope! There translate into a million-dollar asset. tial for us to overcome and that is are forces at play in the landscape Adopting an information-centric fear! We have extrapolated fear to all around us, such as new organi- perspective (see diagram above) is mean false expectations appearing zational and leadership capabilities. the new evolving pathway to pro- real and have attempted to over- Our job is to become as strategically tecting the company’s information come this by creating an environ- agile as we are operationally effi- by securing, identifying, tagging ment that embraces a willingness to cient to thrive in this disruptive and understanding how that infor- take managed risks. However, this landscape. At the end of the day, we mation flows in and out of the does not mean to blindly launch are a business and we have to safe- organization. into the unknown, because zeal guard our margins. © Books24x7, 2008 Tim Young ExecBlueprints 9
  10. 10. Tim Young Vice President, Information Technology, Bright Horizons (continued) Being Innovative Within our IT team we constantly try to test our own and our orga- nization’s assertions which some- times end up essentially going Innovation Demand Management against the grain. We’re looking to discover rule-breaking innovations that create better business alignment and partnerships within our com- munity while driving profitability. Investment & Growth Center We’re accomplishing this by simply Adaptive Capacity looking at our world and commu- nity differently and not being so myopic. There’s no scale or process Cost Center to this way of thinking, but it is crit- ical to identify people who think this way and then hire them; we Implementation Relationship Management look for people who think outside Utility of the box without even recogniz- ing that there is a box. Hiring Innovators We never have a problem finding Role of Management investment and growth centers. Today, at its core, technology has The journey from one perspective people who can work with tech- to be viewed as service-oriented. to the other is called relationship nology. The challenge is to find peo- People who work in this field management. It’s critical for IT to ple who can move from acquiring must possess more than just com- find better ways to relate to its technology to acquiring knowl- puter skills, they need to be pro- community and add business value edge. We need to find the intellec- gressive, mission-oriented, and in order be seen as an investment tual capital inside each and every relational. While some of the and growth enter. Once you move person on the team. While we emerging technologies require peo- into the correct space, you have to expect all new hires to be diligent ple with a specialized skill set, they continually update and improve and intelligent, there are three spe- also require a more innovative your skills, or increase demand cific qualities we look for in an IT management style. Instead of lines management. The demand man- employee: representing levels of reporting, our agement style invites IT into the dia- 1. What is his level of organizational chart has evolved logue. It gives IT a seat at the table, initiative? into a unified circle. We want more holds our chair, and asks our of a collaborative lattice structure thoughts about ways in which we 2. What is her level of can initiate innovative growth creativity? rather than a hierarchy. This new style of management allows us which translates into business value. 3. And is this candidate to constantly live in a 360-degree (See diagram above.) passionate? environment. As a realist, I understand that Creating Innovative employees work because of the pay- Become a Business Partner Solutions check, but can we find people who When defining business value or Through IT vision, we’re working are mission-oriented and not totally impact to the bottom line, compa- on solutions for business operations oriented to what’s in the paycheck? nies conceptually segment depart- and other departmental problems. ments into cost centers or Our focus is to create actionable © Books24x7, 2008 Tim Young ExecBlueprints 10
  11. 11. Tim Young Vice President, Information Technology, Bright Horizons (continued) systems that will become richer in experience and more consumable by Expert Advice those inside our internal and client- Benefits of IT Innovation IT innovation has benefited our company tremendously facing community. Our goal is to over the past three years, which has produced credibility and trust within the organ- create converged systems allowing ization. For example, the leadership has asked us to define a project management information accessibility based on methodology that embraces our company’s language and culture and they were user identity. Every person who nav- very happy with the end result. We are a very relationship-based company and igates or participates with our sys- Sarbanes-Oxley and change management adds several layers to those relation- tems will become a specific identity. ships. We had to find ways to immerse compliance practices into the company With this vision, the next phase in culture. The company is looking at IT to help drive process because we have been the evolution process is to create able to create processes that reflect our culture. richer experiences within this space based on your own personality. your fridge to alert you to the fact shifting times. No matter what is This process of enhancing expe- that you do not have all of the going on in the landscape around rience based on identity can be illus- ingredients. It may even offer us, we need to know that our organ- trated by a trip to the grocery store. alternative recipes that incorporate ization is moving in the right direc- Currently, every item in your cart is different ingredients already pur- tion. Managing business velocity scanned so that the grocery store chased. Imagine that? that is moving in the right direction can charge you for the food. In requires a flexible and agile tech- many stores, the grocery store then nology architecture that is capable prints coupons that correlate to Final Thoughts of delivering accurate and real-time those purchases. In the future, the The key to innovation in the IT information. This, in turn, enables food may be further tagged so that space is that IT leaders in the 21st us to rapidly adapt processes and your refrigerator is aware of what century have to evolve. Everything services to meet our evolving busi- food is placed inside. If you go is changing around us, and respond- ness needs. I once heard it simply online to find a recipe, your com- ing quickly is not always enough to stated as “shift happens!” ■ puter will work in partnership with succeed in these exponentially © Books24x7, 2008 Tim Young ExecBlueprints 11
  12. 12. Ric Villarreal Senior Vice President and CIO, Oakwood Worldwide Company Background innovation. True innovation requires Oakwood Worldwide is the global more collaboration between the leader and provider of furnished customer, the business unit’s knowl- apartments. Serving one need or edge workers, the business’ strate- many, local or around the globe — gic objectives, and IT. Because IT Oakwood offers flexible, easy-to- tends to have the process discipline use, custom solutions to meet the to pull it all together, it should drive housing needs of any organization. the initiative using best practice proj- ect management practices. Of course Whether relocating, or traveling IT’s other role in the initiative is as for business or leisure, Oakwood a contributor. Our challenge is to has remained the international strike a balance between the short- leader by consistently providing out- and long-term benefits of the ini- standing quality and reliability that tiative. In today’s competitive times, Ric Villarreal Today, innovation means implementing strategic Senior Vice President and CIO Oakwood Worldwide initiatives that clearly deliver direct value to our “Every CIO should strive to be a ‘Chief customer and/or the organization. Innovation Officer.’ ” Ric Villarreal • With company since 1997 Senior Vice President and CIO • Previously Oakwood’s director of Oakwood Worldwide process engineering • Conducted redesign of enterprise reservation system every initiative needs to be scruti- • 16 years at Printing & Copier our clients can trust. With more nized to deliver value as soon Divisions, Xerox Corporation than 3,500 Oakwood associates, as possible. The project team must • Certified Process Engineer (CPE) 23,000 apartments, and more be accountable for determining how Mr. Villarreal can be e-mailed at than 300 network partners, Oak- to get some ROI from the first ric.villarreal@execblueprints.com wood meets clients’ unique needs iteration. worldwide. Our staff of trained profession- example, myOakwood is a portal als, innovative technologies, and Recent Innovations designed to help our guests get unparalleled customer service have Oakwood recently implemented information about their apartment, made Oakwood the premier choice the Serena Team Track, a customer its amenities, services in the area, in temporary housing solutions for service innovation. I realized that local shopping, etc., in order to help nearly half a century. while our customer service scores them acclimate to their new tem- were excellent, we had some oppor- porary home. We also implemented tunity in our ability to follow up. a business analytics application. By Innovation and IT The pilot program now running is helping us measure our effectiveness The meaning of the word “innova- focusing on centralizing customer in meeting customer needs and fore- tion” has changed — at Oak- service calls. All calls after a certain cast trends, it has proven to be a wood Worldwide and within other time of day funnel into one central phenomenal tool for customer ser- customer-focused organizations. customer service center, allowing the vice improvement. These tools Today, innovation means imple- center to log all calls and then push enable improved short-term service menting strategic initiatives that them out and escalate them to the recovery and longer-term strategic clearly deliver direct value to our correct office. process and product changes. customer and/or the organization. We’ve also built a couple of In the past, IT efforts focused customer-facing applications. For mainly on automation rather than © Books24x7, 2008 Ric Villarreal ExecBlueprints 12
  13. 13. Ric Villarreal Senior Vice President and CIO, Oakwood Worldwide (continued) IT Innovation: Different Business Units Require Different Approaches Department: Need: IT Role: Innovative and Strategic To Design, Implement, and Sales and Marketing Long-Range Planning Prioritize Various Innovations Department: Need: IT Role: Well-Planned Change To Discover the Opportunity, Operations Management Strategy Implement Without Disruption, and Stabilize the Process Managing Innovations in IT Because of operation’s need to issue resolution processes and our Our role in managing innovation is deliver a consistent level of product customer surveying systems allow sometimes dependent on the busi- and service, there is more need for the entire organization to look at ness unit. With some operational a well-planned change manage- customer feedback and understand units, IT’s role is to constantly look ment strategy. how our customers perceive their for opportunities to apply innova- experience with Oakwood. The tion that helps achieve business final area that has seen real benefit Five Benefits of Innovation is analytics. Our leadership team, objectives. Other business units, Innovation has benefited Oakwood the sales force, and our operations such as supply chain/logistics, tend Worldwide in numerous ways over managers have access to analytics to drive the next innovation more the past 40 years. In the past three and reporting that help them make independently. In these areas, IT’s years, the most valuable innovation better decisions. role is more to help determine tech- has been with our sales force. I have experienced many successes nical efficiencies that prevent us Innovation has allowed us to during my career, but I think the one from building applications that are become much more strategic and that is the most meaningful is tran- siloed and difficult or expensive to sophisticated in our approach to the sitioning our information technology integrate later. marketplace. This, in turn, has (IT) team from the days of the The sales and marketing business helped us to segment our clients and units are usually very innovative automation-focused information sys- stratify our own sales force so that tems (IS) department into a driving, and more strategic. Our sales we can approach each prospect and department has gone through innovative force with a leadership customer using valuable, targeted role among the business units. ■ incredible resurgence in the last information. We have also seen phe- three years as they drive innovation, nomenal innovational advances in and they have eagerly turned to IT accounts receivable and accounts to help them design, implement, and payable. All the bills that we pay in Expert Advice prioritize various innovations. order to maintain our thousands of Role of Employees Our employ- Because the prospecting time and furnished apartments around the ees consistently tell us what they sales cycle are longer, they tend to world have to be on time or cus- need in order to improve. We look at be very involved and committed in tomer service suffers. Innovation their needs from the help desk per- the planning stage. On the other has also improved our ability to spective, and bring them into the ini- hand, the operations units have a invoice and collect much more effi- tiative very early in the process. Our higher priority to discover the ciently and with a much higher level next step is to put a formal process opportunity, implement without of customer satisfaction. in place that actively pursues inno- disruption, then stabilize the process vative suggestions and proposals We have also seen a real boom from our employees. and get on with the business. in the area of customer service. Our © Books24x7, 2008 Ric Villarreal ExecBlueprints 13
  14. 14. Ideas to Build Upon & Action Points I. What Are Recent Examples of IT • Adopt the best policy/method currently • Instilling the important relation between Innovation? available — as opposed to unnecessarily creative solutions and a vital IT operation creating a new one? • Developing designated “innovation For IT, expectations surrounding “innovation” at many companies have changed from being able groups” at larger organizations to competently build and implement business sys- • Valuing and considering new ideas and III. Must-Have Approaches for tems to working directly with top management solutions by employees at all levels that to evolve strategic initiatives that manage busi- Collaborating with Company have been inspired from acquiring a more ness information. In this ExecBlueprint, authors Leadership comprehensive, less myopic, understanding discuss how their teams designed and launched The process for effecting the most useful IT inno- of the organization technology solutions that delivered direct value vations is energized by needs that cascade • Creating an environment that embraces a to their customers and organizations in areas throughout the business and is able to remain willingness to take measured risks such as: focused by addressing particular business chal- • Developing a circular organizational chart • Leveraging social marketing channels to lenges or untapped potential. Maintaining this that is structured as a collaborative lattice better understand and communicate with sensitivity to the business requires building and rather than a hierarchy the company’s customers maintaining a meaningful and transparent part- • Regularly recognizing the efforts — • Streamlining IT operations and nership with company leaders by: including patents — of creative IT optimalizing infrastructure through server • Adopting a “servant leadership” stance individuals through formal events consolidation and application that transforms the perception of IT rationalization from that of “technologist” to “business • Designing new capabilities for procuring partner” V. Essential Take-Aways products and services through the use of • Inviting the business community into the To truly succeed at placing innovation at the cen- cell phone technology linked to the IT vision and process ter of your IT strategy, you and your entire Internet • Conducting dialogues with company department must be willing to emerge from the • Improving project management processes stakeholders around their perception of classic IT silo and view the company you serve through the development of scorecards to business — and global — challenges (and through multiple lenses that capture its current evaluate progress in building strategies, thereby endeavoring to understand the requirements, ongoing challenges, and future projects, and relationships people-and-process side of the company) potential. You then must be able to simultane- • Collaborating with vendors to incorporate • Adopting roles, practices, and change ously listen and respond to articulated needs, as new testing approaches that minimally management strategies that specifically well as offer proactive suggestions that your non- disrupt business operations address the culture and technology technical colleagues could never have conceived. requirements of each client department Specific strategies that have proven effective in • Revising system development enhancing IT innovation include: methodologies to streamline time to • Communicating unintended consequences market of incorporating new IT solutions • Looking beyond product development to also seek creative solutions in platforms • Automating notification systems to address • Aligning solutions to corporate roadmaps and processes outages that anticipate impacts at all layers • Ensuring that all initiatives address all • Creating global enterprise portals to enable • Identifying ways that IT can augment three aspects of IT’s work: systems, secure access to company resources and profitability by creating efficiencies in process, and organization information business processes (and thereby proactively adding business value) • Promoting simplicity — and reducing complexity — as end-goals for all IT • Increasing demand for IT services through II. The Bottom Line initiatives continually updating and improving skills At the end of the day, most IT departments work • Not neglecting the development of new for businesses that have to safeguard their mar- supporting middleware in the drive to innovation gins, and for this reason IT programs that focus IV. The Golden Rules for Fostering on developing innovative processes and products • Adopting more identity-oriented and an Innovative IT Team can be vulnerable to cost-cutting. Therefore, in information-centric (as opposed to order to maintain viability, your new initiatives While it has always been every IT team member’s perimeter-centric) approaches to data must reap tangible — and preferably rapid — job to know how things need to work, building security and management gains for your company. To assess their intrin- actual innovation into the entire IT organization • Evolving IT’s approach with other sic value to the organization as a whole, ask if is the CTO/CIO’s responsibility. This requires departments from one of “relationship these programs: creating a climate of “openness” to system design management” to “demand management” and process analysis (where IT professionals are • Address an emerging business-case need? encouraged to seek out alternative solutions) by: • Soliciting and considering innovative • Simplify your operations and control costs suggestions and proposals from employees • Hiring qualified people who have also appreciably over your existing systems? (If across the company ■ demonstrated initiative, creativity, and not, it’s good to wait until a better solution passion toward their work becomes available.) • Assessing both internal and external • Create synergies in your operations (e.g., personae to understand what IT is — and by streamlining functions or using the how it is viewed and utilized by the infrastructure more efficiently)? communities that it serves © Books24x7, 2008 Ideas to Build Upon & Action Points ExecBlueprints 14
  15. 15. Ideas to Build Upon & Action Points (continued) ? 10 KEY QUESTIONS AND D ISCUSSION POINTS 1 What does “innovation” mean for your IT department? Does this meaning differ from your company’s definition? 2 What types of innovative activities has your department recently engaged in? What subject areas do they focus on? How has this mix changed in the past three years? 3 What are your department’s best practices for exploring innovative solutions? What steps led to the evolution of these practices — both in your industry and at your company? 4 What role do your employees play in the exploration of innovative solutions? What training and knowledge base are necessary? How do you motivate people to take an innovative approach to problem solving? 5 What are the top five ways that IT innovation has benefited your industry in the past three years? How have they specifically benefited your company? 6 In the next 12 months, how does your company plan to use IT innovation to grow market share? How will you forecast trends and changing customer demands? Do you plan any changes in your research and development efforts to meet this objective? 7 What is the CTO/CIO’s role in providing leadership over the development of innovative solutions in the department? How do you communicate your performance expectations? What challenges are you likely to encounter? 8 What percentage of your current IT human and technology resources is presently devoted to developing innovative solutions? How is this typical or atypical for companies in your industry? 9 How do you measure the ROI for your IT innovations? Improved efficiency? Increased revenues? Growth in market share? 10 What other benchmarks do you use to determine the impact that IT innovations have had on your company’s business? What impact have they had on sales? Company profits? Internal operations? ExecBlueprints is a subscription-based offering from Books24x7, a SkillSoft Company. For more information on subscribing, please visit www.books24x7.com. © Books24x7, 2008 Ideas to Build Upon & Action Points ExecBlueprints 15