Premier 100: Jumbo Projects, Big Risks

The bigger the project, the bigger the risk. These IT leaders kept up with multiple stakeholders and deadlines.

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For instance, Butler discovered that Accor's training department was in need of additional network bandwidth to support its use of e-learning tools. Through his legwork, he found that other business divisions also required additional network capacity. So he worked with leaders from those departments to solicit their support and began communicating those requirements to the company's top executives.

Butler's efforts included determining what changes Accor needed to make to its network infrastructure to support its expanding business and operational requirements. He did this in large part by listening to business advocates, Accor's technical teams and other people throughout the organization.

To devise a new network strategy, Butler put a lot of energy into educating business executives and key stakeholders on the need for a new network infrastructure — in terms they could understand.

"I spent a lot of time at the beginning to make them comfortable with the language," he says. That included avoiding technical jargon and clearly explaining the benefits that a network upgrade could deliver.

Accor also wanted to increase its network bandwidth to support new customer relationship management and point-of-sale applications that are currently being added. For instance, Accor is beta-testing property management systems that will be rolled out to 100 Motel 6 locations by the end of this year, says Butler.

Around the same time it was upgrading its network, Accor was working on a separate project to encrypt customers' credit and debit card transactions as required by the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard.

Accor's CEO regarded the PCI effort as an organizational priority. And since Butler's project team was able to deliver encryption capabilities over the new network, the PCI effort, which earlier this year was named a winner in Computerworld's Honors Program, would be a side benefit of the network upgrade.

It took Butler a few months, but he eventually rounded up the support he needed in October 2006.

It certainly helped that he was able to gain buy-in from senior management, starting with his own boss, Accor North America Executive Vice President and CIO Jeff Winslow. "My boss was instrumental in being a sounding board," says Butler.

"Adrian's strategic and technical leadership, vision and ability to align business objectives with IT strategy are keys to the success of this project and our organization," says Jim Amorosia, president and chief operating officer of Motel 6.

"[The project] maps directly back to our customers' perspective," says Butler. "[So] when they come to Motel 6, their data is going to be safeguarded."

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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