Ram Reddy espouses a business-first approach to IT. He believes that business needs must be thoroughly investigated, and business processes charted and understood, before anything else is considered.
Now vice president of projects and strategy at Jacobs Engineering Group, Reddy says he developed that outlook earlier in his career when he took part in an enterprisewide personnel resource management project. "We spent a lengthy period of time working with our business stakeholders identifying the business needs and processes," he recalls. "After that, the technology itself was trivial to implement. Any project that's not a good business project is not a good project."
More recently, Reddy has been focused on his company's One Jacobs initiative. An $11 billion engineering, architecture and construction firm, Jacobs Engineering employs 70,000 people in 28 countries and has more than 250 offices. The multinational scope has made it difficult for Jacobs to present a single face to its customers across countries and industries. Reddy says, "we needed to create an organization that follows the sun' and supports our customer projects across multiple countries and time zones."
The first priority was to reorganize IT, moving from technology-based groupings to a geographical model in which teams are set up by time zone. Another important step was to create a centralized global service desk by pushing accountability for, and leadership of, all IT operational services to the regional office level, creating one point of contact for IT problems — irrespective of the technology. Somewhere in the world, one or more of Jacobs' regional offices is open and available to provide global support.
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