Intuit forces IT, engineers into room until they get it right
Experimentation groups could be no larger than two pizzas could feed
Computerworld - SANTA CLARA, CALIF. -- Prior to instituting a change management program, the IT group at financial and tax preparation software company Intuit took eight weeks to complete a business developer's service ticket.
As in many businesses, at Intuit IT and business rarely if ever mixed. IT did what it thought it needed to in order to fulfill requests and advance technology, and business users did what they could to avoid IT.
But, after a radical change management program was instituted by Intuit's new CIO, the eight-week project fulfillments dropped to one day.
Intuit CIO Sasan Goodarzi spoke at the SNW Fall 2012 conference here today and said that when he came into Intuit 15 months ago, he asked the IT team how they thought they were delivering for its customers: the software engineers, sales and customer care personnel, and ultimately the external customers.
"They showed me dashboards that were yellow and green and said things are going sort of OK. Here's what's not going well," Goodarzi said.
Then Goodarzi asked the same of the business side.
"What I heard from them was, 'We do everything we can to get around working with you. You do nothing but slow us down,'" he said.
Inuit used both internal and external cloud services to fulfill user requests, along with a set of service-level agreements, or SLAs.
We own the hosting platform in the cloud, whether public or private, on which the applications get built, along with the monitoring and the running of it," Goodarzi said. "We also own the business platform, from the Web capability to the CRM (customer relationship management) solutions for our sales employees to the back-end office tools."
Goodarzi told his IT team there would no longer be any IT projects and even changed his group's name to Global Enterprise Solutions (GES).
"The change has been driven from the fact that we had to really understand what it mean to go mobile ... social ... global," Goodarzi said.
The holder of an MBA from Northwestern University, Goodarzi had special insight into the business operations at Intuit. He had previously led several major businesses in the company. He had also been CEO of clean energy company Nexant.
Intuit's GES group got an education in mindset from Goodarzi. Every worker was required to understand Intuit's business strategy and what the business outcome would be for any project. Somewhat more radical was Goodarzi's requirement that IT and business get into the same proverbial boat, and take equal responsibility for the outcome of any project.
Goodarzi was serious about the boat thing. He forced server, storage and network administrators, software engineers, service delivery workers -- among others -- to get in a room and experiment with ways to streamline projects. The goal? Get projects completed in one day.
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