In other words, what did the IT staff think it needed to do to transform the business and to position IT as a strong business partner that drives high-quality business value in everything they do? What steps might give IT the proverbial “seat at the table?” He hoped rendering the question in an open-ended fashion might cultivate valuable feedback that could help him figure out his next steps. It would also enable him to take the pulse off his IT organization.
Gerjets was correct. More than 60 percent of the staff provided feedback, and commented and voted on the best answers, which bubbled to the top of the stack. “What they were seeing as impediments were also the things that I was seeing as needing change,” Gerjets says.
Gerjets peeled off the top five answers and conducted an offsite planning meeting with his IT directors to hash out the strategy to tackle those challenges, which include concerns about process implementation and the consistency with which IT tools are used. His next step is to ensure that the team feels engaged in the process. Gerjets says he’ll use POPin to lay out the strategy and request feedback on those plans. He may also use it in the future to engage with TWC’s business leaders, and to foster leadership in his own IT department.
In the meantime, Gerjets is improving TWC’s IT “hygiene.” To ensure this, his team must boost quality, reliability, predictability and transparency, all of which are table stakes to becoming a valued, trusted partner to the business, he says. If this proves successful, IT will secure a that seat at the table to start understanding the business strategy, and then align IT to that strategy.
How much time Gerjets has to clean up TWC’s IT is unclear, as the Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department are scrutinizing the $56 billion deal. Some of his short-term priorities include pulling together CRM data to reduce customer churn and upgrading a legacy billing system.
“Once you understand the business you’re in and stop thinking like an IT person. You can start innovating in areas that make sense,” Gerjets says. “We’re starting at step 1 so we’re moving down the path.”
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