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Business Strategy: Problem was ever-increasing losses in a previously successful technology business. We conducted a thorough analysis of the problem and identified several projects that aggregated to a solution including: leadership coaching, performance measurement tracking, consolidation strategy. Also dealt effectively with a major public relations crisis. Results: moved from a $50,000 annual loss to a $500,000 annual profit. Year subsequent to the project netted 1.2 million dollars in additional sales.
Change To Services Organization: A mid-sized systems integrator faced a special challenge. They needed to increase margin on consulting while navigating the transition from a product distribution focus to a services focus. We took on several projects to successfully make the transition: 1) Consolidated management of internal computer systems of the main office, two training rooms & three branch offices (Pittsburgh, Washington DC, and New York). 2) Streamlined purchasing by enhancing vendor relationships and integrating the use of the Internet into vendor processes. 3) Oversaw a major upgrade to finance and inventory control software. 4) Created a more effective method of warranty processing and software shipments. The results were very positive. Net margins for consulting and training increased to 47%. Services income increased from 3% to 15% of revenues. Fill rates increased to 86%, and "dead" inventory was cut by 73%.
Mainframe Conversion from VSE to MVS: Turnaround project for a top financial organization. The project was challenged with both technology and personnel issues. Our solution had several components: Mitigated divisive team dynamics; Integrated several unconnected plans into one cohesive whole; Rearranged resources for better production. During the previous six months, the project had missed several deadlines. Within one month the project was back on track. The CIO noted that it was the smoothest conversion in the history of the company.
Software Development Improvement: This project resulted in improved software development methods in order to increase efficiency and quality. We implemented a five-step process for designing, developing, testing, maintaining, and retesting web code prior to publication. After implementation, the development team focused on re-usable components, repeatable processes, and an SEI level 5 (Optimizing) of the Capability Maturity Model. New methods enabled the company to apply job-costing analysis to customer accounts. Also - increased potential gross profit margins from 25% to 63%.
Collaboration project: a Fortune 500 company construction and building services firm with many independent operating units, was faced with uniting the CIO's of 40 subsidiary companies. Centralized web-based communication capability (Domino) enabled the CIO's to work together towards a common goal. Standards and procurement procedures agreed upon will save millions for the company in the coming years.
Data Center Integration: Problem was a failed project to move a mainframe computer from Wilmington DE to Tempe AZ. Revamped the plan and moved the mainframe computer from the Wilmington data center to the Elgin data center. Result was $10,000,000 in annual savings on maintenance and resources. Ongoing maintenance costs were also lower, as well as using resources optimally.
Capital and Project Budget Process: Problem: What to do until the Oracle budget software could be implemented in two years? An interim system was designed and developed quickly to meet the need. The resulting system streamlined approval and forecasting process through teamwork and technology. Improvements included elimination of reconciliation issues, time reduction for major expenditures from 18 days to less than 2 days, and from 41 days to 2 days for minor projects. Also increased accuracy in depreciation forcasts allowing each department to reallocate millions of dollars. Soft cost savings calculated at $800,000 annual savings. Hard cost savings include $340,000 in Fed Ex costs annually. Cost avoidance was calculated at six million dollars: the proposed Oracle-based system was scrapped because the interim system met 95% of project requirements.
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Improved Quality of Services
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Time Tracking: Time-tracking projects were undertaken at several clients for more effective resource management. At one client, a major financial organization, the project facilitated a change from ad hoc staff allocation to company-wide resource planning. The results were measurable. Unplanned time decreased to less than 10% of aggregate staff time. Productivity increased by 25%. At another company, a technology startup, results were apparent within a very short time. Our management stabilized the development team. Retention rate increased from 40% to 91%. After resource planning was implemented, 95% of the employees marked "very satisfied with job" in a survey (compared with less than 20% prior to the project). Resource planning also enabled the company to identify missing skills so that they could hire more effectively.
Work Request Process Improvement: At a major financial firm, we implemented a company-wide work order system for all departments (Networking, Desktop, Help Desk, Development, Facilities, and Intranet). Compliancy rate went from 64% to 81%, and early fulfillment rate went from 59% to 83%. The staff needed to maintain their systems was reduced by 50%. Scorecard (business unit assessments of customer satisfaction scores for system support) went from C- to B+ within 3 months of the change.
Financial System Integration: A major financial firm needed improvement on their $600 million capital budget procedures. We streamlined approval and forecasting process through teamwork and technology. We designed and implemented new software for tracking capital and project budgets. We integrated fixed assets (FAMS), purchase orders (Oracle), resource planning (PeopleSoft), and expense tracking (Excel spreadsheets) so that they could reconcile monthly with work in process accounts in general ledger (Oracle). Improvements included reducing the time needed for approval of major expenditures from 18 days to less than 2 days, and from 41 days to 2 days for minor projects. This also increased accuracy for depreciation estimates.
Customer Relationship Management: Advised on strategy for implementing customer relationship management system. We conferred with the senior leaders of disparate business units, evaluated both in-house and vendor-based systems, developed business requirements, obtained senior management buy-in, recruited a development team, and managed implementation. Some systems focused on contact management and sales proposal automation. Other systems focused on work order tracking and customer communication.
Finance Information Repository: A major financial institution needed a centralized repository for all finance information. We polled senior leaders to develop requirements, obtained necessary resources, and implemented technology at a very low cost, with extremely high value. After implementation, over 200 budget analysts were able to get up-to-date and accurate information within seconds (previously only available with a 30 day lag). The centralized system streamlined communication and increased compliance with published deadline dates.
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Improved Technology Strategy and Use
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Enterprise Application Data Security: Problem was a failed audit from a government agency regarding application security. As a response to meet regulatory requirements, we designed and developed a project encompassing individual plans for over 70 applications and third-party service providers. We influenced 17 senior leaders of autonomous business units and vendors to provide resources for mandated security projects on their individually managed applications. We provided security recommendations, training, tools, support, and expertise to the teams implementing the work. We distributed tools and published training and information utilizing a low-cost web-based solution. We also implemented web-based tools for project reporting and aggregation. We also provided advice to ensure the security of data in over 700 applications running on dozens of platforms across the enterprise. We implemented new policies, processes, and procedures as well as more stringent password protection and network protocol safeguards. The result was lowered risks on 30 Billion dollars of assets. Board of directors successfully passed the audit and avoided major fines. In a follow-up survey, 16 of the 17 senior leaders recommended further work based upon the project success. (The lone dissenter was highly satisfied- but did not feel her part of the project was long enough for an assessment)
Network Security & Leadership Coaching: Problem was difficult-to-handle IT Director, and the fear that firing him would result in sabotage of the network systems. Documented and ensured the security of the network, but also worked with leadership so that the achievements of the IT Director were recognized. Saved the company five times our fee - the cost of recruiting and replacing the existing IT Director.
Executive Decision System: Integrated PC-based executive information (Dashboard) and decision making systems with legacy technology. Automated the export of information that is then consolidated, summarized, and presented graphically - using already-installed Office products.
Enterprise Network Management: Needs assessment done at a large medical center/health organization. Analysis and report on data collection phase including questionnaires, personal interviews, and documentation of telecommunications, network, and application standards. Network included 60 remote sites and multiple protocols including VTAM, DecLAT, TCP/IP, and IPX.
Data Services Group: A reorganization of all local IT departments for a major research firm. Project included standardizing and consolidating systems from 20 countries (including 50 sites, 12 mainframes, and 7000 desktops) into a globally led Data Services Group.
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