Who Should Read This: Anyone in an organization with a stretched, stressed, difficult-to‑schedule Information Technology group. Anyone whose valid requests for automation or new systems have gone unmet due to IT’s priorities or budgets. In many organizations, anyone whose department isn’t a revenue producer.
Client: Multiple clients ranging from Vice President to Manager within a functional department of a global organization.
The clients in this case lead a central functional department that is considered a non-revenue producer of their company. Numerous costs are allocated to the department: some are pass-through costs which are reallocated to the business units that benefit from the work; other costs are assigned to the department as “overhead”. All revenues are allocated to the business units.
Over the years, the company’s Information Technology group implemented mandatory software systems and common processes to manage overhead and administrative costs associated with serving the business units. On the whole, these efforts have proven beneficial, mostly by creating process efficiencies across the company. When business units request new systems or upgrades that will potentially impact company revenue or gross margin, they typically receive the IT group’s full cooperation—in the form of approvals, funding, and expert assistance—as long as they follow established protocols. Like many around the world, this company has prioritized the infrastructure and technology needs of its revenue-producing business units over internal administration. As such—through no fault of its own—the IT department typically has little bandwidth left for non-revenue-generating administrative departments.
Our clients contacted Abundiant seeking help to implement process and technology solutions within their department. When we asked why the company’s IT group wasn’t involved, the clients explained that they needed an implementation partner that could help them navigate meeting their own technology needs, while remaining fully compliant with IT’s policies, protocols, and infrastructure requirements. It was not a question of “going around IT”. The clients wanted to be able to meet all of IT’s requirements while also honoring IT’s priorities and responsibilities to the global organization. Practically speaking, this meant that buying and installing new packaged software was out of the question. Likewise, cloud solutions were limited to those already in place in the company.
The Abundiant team evaluated our clients’ goals and assessed their existing solutions to determine if any could be leveraged in different (but still compliant) ways to meet the department’s needs. We studied their data sources and data models, and we looked at how people were using the tools, not just within our clients’ department but also in the departments and business units that they served. Ultimately, we were able to identify several different ways our clients could achieve the desired outcomes—enough to allow them to choose a path that both met their conditions and promised measurable gains in productivity. As a bonus, we found that, because the company’s systems and solutions are interdependent, our path forward allows the clients to anticipate the impact of IT-driven global upgrades and software deployments by observing the experience of other departments.
During the course of the project, the department’s software costs were limited to a handful of additional licenses under an existing company contract. The software engine that Abundiant created using these tools is fully compliant with the company’s IT requirements. Is it also sustainable and meets the department’s needs efficiently and effectively. Because of our clients’ savviness and our ability to navigate their company culture, the department now has several robust, working solutions which have proven their value to the company over and over again. By hiring Abundiant, these clients managed to get the solutions their department needed, take work off the IT department’s plate, and forge trust and positive relationships on the journey.