Optus and Goodman bridge divide between IT and business

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Optus and Goodman bridge divide between IT and business

Candid experiences from both sides of the fence.

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Two case studies presented at the IBM Cognos Forum highlight the compromise required between business and IT when building new solutions.

Representatives from telco Optus and property giant Goodman explained the horse trading that went on to enable them to meet the needs of their shareholders.

The change management delivery manager for Optus' consumer marketing team, Kerry Williams, and Goodman's head of applications, Ritesh Deshpande, revealed how they forged connections across their businesses.

Optus' presentation discussed how a lack of a shared vision for what business and IT were trying to achieve often stalled projects before they began.

For instance, Optus has a business intelligence environment consisting of a Teradata data warehouse, IBM Cognos 8.2 business intelligence and reporting software and statistical package for the social sciences or SPSS Clementine analytics software.

"Although the infrastructure was there it wasn't something the consumer marketing team had exploited," Williams says.

The team had access to about 30 Terabytes of customer data, including call, customer service and network records. This was used to create and measure consumer marketing campaigns, such as for the iPhone 3G S.

But it took a team of 20 analysts to pull down the data, export it to Excel and then PowerPoint packs to report it.

Williams says they had "more work requests than they could ever fulfill" leading to long lead times on reports despite shrinking consumer-marketing cycles.

"When the iPhone launched, we had to turn around the campaign in a matter of weeks. The only constant we have is change and information is the lifeblood of the consumer marketing business. We wanted to do what we could to nurture [its availability]".

Given Cognos business intelligence and reporting software was bedded down in other parts of Optus, it seemed on the surface logical to find a way to exploit that existing infrastructure.

"[But] IT was a little hesitant to do another decentralised BI [business intelligence] project," Williams says.

"Their preference was for a strategic BI solution led by IT and embedded at the enterprise level. They weren't keen on the idea of setting up BI [just] for consumer marketing and literally pleaded with us not to go against their strategic BI roadmap."

Believing the consumer marketers couldn't wait for the rest of the business to catch up, Williams and her division "pushed and pushed".

"It took weeks of presentations, meetings and discussions with IT but in the end we came to a position where they were and are largely supportive of our approach," Williams says.

"We came up with agreements with IT to settle their nerves".

These included reports branded from consumer marketing - quashing confusion over their origins - and an agreement that consumer marketing's customer knowledge team would be the first port of call for any support issues.

"Any intellectual property we developed would be handed over to IT for their strategic BI project," Williams says. "In return, they supported us."

Williams says she will have to keep going back to IT: "We're going to need to keep nurturing the relationship to keep them on board with what we're doing".

This was necessary because the project's early success "kicked up a huge amount of demand" for more reports, says Steve Jackson, principal consultant for implementation partner, Focus.

Read on to see how Goodman handed-off IT application development to users.

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