Running IT Like a Business - Page 1

Aug 26, 2004

Allen Bernard

In 1999, Bob Moore had a vision: automate the IT shop of a start-up phone company so it would run more efficiently, with fewer people, provide better service and cost half as much to run compared to its competitors.

At first, management was skeptical, said Moore, vice president of IT for New York-based CLEC (competitive local exchange carrier) PaeTec. But Moore's CEO believed in his abilities enough to at least let him try and today his biggest fan is the chief operating officer, once one of his toughest critics.

"It's a pretty amazing thing when ... you're deploying a multi-million dollar CRM system and the only thing (your COO) is really concerned about is how can he prioritize his business process stuff better," said Moore. "That's a pretty strong message for a guy that's not technical, who could give a crap about all the stuff ... on the technology side."

Moore's COO is one of his biggest supporters today because Moore's ideas worked.

By automating the channels between IT and PaeTec's 1100-strong staff as well as most of the company's other business processes using Mercury's IT Governance Center (formerly Katana until Mercury bought the company last year) IT costs PaeTec about half of the 6.6% of gross most CLECs spend.

Even on this budget Moore supports an annual growth rate of 2,500% and keeps IT head count under control. This enviable record has landed the company the No.2 spot on Deloitte & Touche's Fast 500 list.

Because of the business process, workflow automation and demand management capabilities inherent in Mercury's solution Moore's staff no longer has to answer emails and phone calls from its customers (the employees) wondering where a work order or trouble ticket is in the pipeline. Instead, employees simply click on an icon in their intranet dashboards (part of the Mercury offering) and they can see exactly where their request is in the process, who is handling it and what its status is.

If things take too long to resolve the request is automatically forwarded to a manager for review. This one feature has proved to be a great motivator. "So, that doesn't happen more than a few times before people start taking requests seriously," he said.

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