Before TeamTrack, it would take a Thomson salesperson four or five days to work up a proposal for a client, says Breakstone. Now it takes four or five minutes. Breakstone says sales pros simply fill out a Mad-Libs-style form with information about the client’s needs and requirements, and the system spits out a six- to 10-page proposal customized to each client.
The beauty of the software is that applying it to new business processes is a matter of changing configurations, not code, says John Hastings Kimball, Thomson’s vice president of workflow solutions. That means new apps can be rolled out in days instead of months, giving an instant productivity boost.
When the company recently integrated TeamTrack with Salesforce.com, integration was done by business analysts in partnership with IT, Breakstone says. But the business side isn’t encroaching on IT’s territory as much as the techies are reaching out toward business.
“The old model of throwing requirements over the transom to IT is gone,” says Breakstone. “Instead of talking in technology nomenclature, the conversation is more about business requirements and end-user needs. More than anything this change has empowered IT, bringing it closer to the business and to end-users.”
Getting a grip on managing change:
Mary Kay puts on a new face on internal processes
With five regional U.S. offices, 34 international locations, 1.6 million independent consultants, and three discrete internal IT organizations, Mary Kay had a lot of different ways to get things done. And that, says technology leader Steve Moore, was a challenge.
“Three or four years ago, we were disparate in the way we handled data operations,” Moore says. “We spoke different languages and used different systems to do the same things.” That in turn led to duplicated efforts and inefficiency.
That’s when the $2.2 billion skin-care manufacturer began to adopt a BSM (business service management) practice using BMC’s Remedy suite and ITIL to standardize its internal processes. It began by implementing BMC Remedy Service Desk to create a standard ticketing system for handling and monitoring events and service requests. In the past, Moore says, many requests were made on an ad hoc basis, via e-mail or face-to-face meetings.
“A lot of deals were done in the hallway,” he says. “We didn’t have a centralized service-request system, and when your requests are done via conversation or e-mail, it’s hard to report and even harder to measure. Now when people walk down the hallway and say, ‘You need to change something in Exchange,’ we tell them they need to put a ticket in. For the first time, we were able to measure the work our IT people did in supporting the organization.”
About a year after implementing the service desk, Mary Kay added BMC’s asset- and change-management products, built around BMC’s Atrium CMDB (Configuration Management Database). The CMDB integrates with automated discovery tools and databases throughout the organization, acting as a central clearinghouse for information on all of Mary Kay’s IT assets.
Because the firm leases all of its equipment on two-year lifecycles, getting an accurate view of its assets has been a challenge, Moore says. Though the company’s CMDB is still a work in progress, Moore says the system has given the company the ability to see a lot of what IT manages in a single place.