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Case Study Overview - How Has LimNorris "Bridged the Gap" Between Objectives and Results?

  1. Cost Gap: The CEOs of two mid-sized companies directed their Vice-president of Information Services to further reduce his budget. Each VP felt that any further cuts would jeopardize critical business systems or support.

    LimNorris Solution - Co-sourcing Assessment: We worked with the two VPs to evaluate the impact of consolidating their data centers into a new third entity. We compared the financial results against an outsourcing estimate and their current in-sourcing costs. Consolidating data centers could reduce costs without sacrificing service. See case study.

  2. Cycle Time Gap: The marketing communications department automated their legacy process to produce datasheets but it still took six to twelve months and significant effort.

    LimNorris Solution - Process Re-engineering:
    Using ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) best practices, we re-engineered the process and cut cycle time by 75%. See case study.

  3. Quality Gap: Our client hired a vendor to develop an e-commerce web site. Release 1 was behind schedule and its planned functionality continually shrank.

    LimNorris Solution - Incremental Development Process: Our assigned LimNorris to Release 2. We hired a new vendor, implemented an incremental development process, worked closely with the business users to define Release 2 functionality. We completed the planned functions within budget and on schedule. See case study.

  4. Organizational Gap: A non-profit organization was growing rapidly. Funding increased five-fold over the past four years and staff members felt over-worked and were concerned about service quality.

    LimNorris Solution - Strategic Planning Process: We worked with the Executive Director and her staff to develop the long range strategic plan plus supporting near term operational plans. The organization received public recognition for their accomplishments and staff members are proud to work there. See case study.

  5. Planning Gap: E-business was revolutionizing our client's industry. Instead of being threatened by the change, our client decided to embrace e-business to maintain market leadership. The IT Department, however, did not have the people, process, or technology to support e-business.

    LimNorris Solution - IT Strategic Plan: We worked with the VP of IT and his staff to develop strategic and operational plans for each functional area. The Chief Financial Officer approved the plans and three web sites were implemented within a year. See case study.

  6. Performance Gap: Users were dissatisfied with help desk services. Based on anecdotal evidence, their perceptions were: "no one answers the phone when I call" and "no one is working on my problem". Users wanted to switch suppliers to raise quality but the IT Director wanted to keep the supplier since they were very price competitive.

    LimNorris Solution - Process: We worked with the help desk supervisor to address or dispel the anecdotal evidence. Together we defined the scope, communicated service level targets, documented procedures to assist inexperienced personnel, and aligned incentive payouts with service level targets. 90% of calls are now answered within 15 seconds and 95% of all problems are resolved within 5 days. The IT department is using the improved Help Desk service levels as a benchmark for other service teams. The Supervisor's view is "We completely turned around the help desk. Customers are satisfied, quality is excellent, morale is sky high, and other employees want to join the Help Desk team." See case study.

  7. Planning Gap: IT projects were continually behind schedule and over budget. New projects were delayed because resources were needed to finish up old projects. Vice-presidents were dissatisfied because they needed the new projects to meet their financial commitments. As a result, they began to bypass IT and use outside suppliers. IT, however, still had to integrate the disparate outside solutions into the company's infrastructure and business systems. Integration cost was escalating out of control. The IT Director's objective was to increase the predictability of IT projects to reduce the cost of integrating outside solutions.

    LimNorris Solution - Process: We worked with the IT Director to reorganize the department to focus on project implementation. We then developed project management processes, trained project managers on managing risks, and instituted cost/schedule/performance metrics. The status of each project is reported monthly. IT now manages all new projects and integration costs are under control. See case study.

  8. Performance Gap: A Mainframe-centric IT Department deployed Intel and UNIX servers only to meet specific business needs. An inventory assessment for the Y2K project unveiled over 100 Intel/UNIX servers worldwide, some of which ran critical business systems.

    LimNorris Solution - Operational Processes: We developed operational support processes and tools to improve availability to over 99.9%. See case study.

  9. Business Gap: The CEO of a mid-sized company recognized that e-business technology was changing the industry. He wanted to understand how his company was going to maintain or improve their competitive position in the new e-business environment.

    LimNorris Solution - e-Business Strategic Plan: We worked with business unit VPs, Finance, the CIO, and a leading technology supplier to develop an e-business strategy for the corporation. We also identified potential e-business opportunities, prioritized projects, and developed financial business cases for the top three initiatives. The CEO approved the strategy and the initiatives. We are currently helping them implement the strategy and initiatives.

  10. Structure Gap: A new organization was formed to take the overall lead on all e-Business activities. Since e-business is dependent on information technology, the new General Manager of e-Business and the CIO wanted to find the balance where their organizations would work together efficiently while retaining enough control and responsibility to meet their respective objectives.

    LimNorris Solution - Governance: We worked with the e-Business GM and the CIO to eliminate responsibility gaps and overlaps, estimate resource requirements, identify skill gaps, and develop training/hiring plan. We are currently working with their organizations to implement the plans.

  11. Growth Gap: A start-up company grew from 7 to 80 people in three years. The president's philosophy of "we will sell anything to anyone, anywhere" and "each employee should do everything and anything to satisfy the customer" was key to their early success. Recently, the president realized changes were needed since he and a few key managers were always needed to get a job out the door. They were inadvertently becoming a bottleneck to growth.

    LimNorris Solution - Company Strategy and Structure: We worked with the president, to develop a five-year strategic plan to focus their marketing and product efforts. Together we restructured the company to support the strategic direction and streamline workflow. He is very satisfied with the results. "LimNorris exceeded all expectations. The strategy and structure is worth two to three times its cost. We learned a lot during the process. I am very comfortable that the strategy will grow our revenues."

  12. Performance Gap: Users were dissatisfied with the 4 to 8 weeks it took for the IT Department to install new personal computers. The integration team's proposed solution was to increase staff but the IT Director's objective was to reduce cost so he was reluctant to increase staff and expenses.

    LimNorris Solution - Process: We worked with the integration team to streamline workflow and uncovered several areas where multiple people were performing similar tasks. Together we partitioned responsibilities, developed procedures, defined service level targets, and tracked performance. The integration team is now delivering 95% of all PCs within 2 weeks and user feedback is very positive. The Director's assessment was, "LimNorris showed the team how to use process to raise productivity and quality. The results speak for themselves. We received great value for LimNorris's work."

  13. Management Gap: Infrastructure costs were rising and employee morale was declining. Employees felt that there were too many "#1 priorities". The Manager of Technology Services position was open which exacerbated the concerns. The IT Director's objective was to fill the position and focus the group on meeting the company's initiatives.

    LimNorris Solution - Interim Management: We temporarily filled the position while the Director recruited a manager. We developed the Technology Services long-term plan (strategy, architecture direction, priorities, and responsibilities) and coached team leads to develop near term plans. Priorities are clearly documented and the decline in employee morale halted.

  14. Value Gap: VP's were questioning the value of Information Technology. They wanted to know what services were provided by IT to offset its cost and how technology could help the company to be more competitive and profitable in the future.

    LimNorris Solution - Strategic Plan: We worked with the Director of IT to develop the department strategic plan and then with each of his managers to develop supporting strategic plans. Each plan included a mission statement, strategies to support the mission, and current year plans. The strategic plans have improved understanding within the user community. After a meeting with users the Helpdesk Manager said, "The strategic plan is great. We are using it to communicate and review our direction and plans with our users. For the first time we are receiving their support."

  15. Expertise Gap: The VP of a chemical business received an inquiry to acquire his software controls group. His objective was to maximize value to his corporation - either by keeping the group or by selling it. He understood the group's value to his company but needed to understand the value to the potential buyer.

    LimNorris Solution - Valuation: We reviewed the software group's operating plan, interviewed managers to assess risks and opportunities within the plan, analyzed the competitive environment, and quantified the financial value to the potential buyer. The VP is prepared to respond and is happy with the valuation study. "LimNorris delivered a lot more than I expected".

  16. Expertise Gap: A company internal resource was assigned the position of Disaster Recovery and Security Manager. Given the individual's lack of expertise in these areas, the company decided to seek consulting assistance to reduce the start up time.

    LimNorris Solution - Coaching: We led the development of the Disaster Recovery plan and the Security policy and procedures using LimNorris owned Lotus Notes databases. We developed performance objectives and a personal development plan for the Manager and are currently coaching him to assume the full responsibilities of his new position.

  17. Planning Gap: A company wanted to develop a proactive growth strategy including supporting information technology. The client hired a consulting firm who served as the lead consultant with two alliance partners, one of whom was LimNorris. The lead consultant worked with the company’s leadership team to develop the growth strategy and gap analysis while LimNorris worked with the CIO and key staff members to develop the information technology recommendations to support the strategy.

    LimNorris Solution - Assessment: We developed a current state assessment of the technology (planning, architecture and business systems), processes (system development, service management and operations controls) and people (leadership, charter and structure) for the company’s IT department. We then worked with the alliance partners to assess the impact of the proposed business changes on the IT organization and to incorporate the technology, process and people recommendations for the IT department to support the expanded business in the overall project recommendation.

  18. Expertise Gap: The Senior Vice-president responsible for $800 million in sales wanted to hire a top tier management consulting firm to conduct a product rationalization study. Most manufacturing businesses produce some products that are more profitable than others and eliminating the least profitable ones could potentially increase overall profit. His business unit Vice-presidents believed the benefit provided by the top tier consulting firm would not offset their cost of $1 million dollars. Instead they proposed they use internal resources to conduct the study. They realized, however, they still needed someone to challenge their traditional business processes as well as drive the overall project.

    LimNorris Solution - Business Consulting: We worked with the business unit VP’s to manage the overall study plus provided business consulting services. We identified products and customers that could save the company over a million dollars within a year. In addition we completely changed how marketing/sales evaluated new proposals. Instead of evaluating just manufacturing margin, they now evaluate pre-tax operating margin including the: cost of inventory, cost of accounts receivables, transportation cost, and other selling costs. We developed automated, on-line tools to estimate the pre-tax operating margin by product, by customer, and by product and customer.

  19. Expertise Gap: The General Manager for a traditional bricks and mortar company became responsible for a new ".com" business to sell products over the Internet. One of his first objectives was to develop the business plan, the 5-year financial plan, and functional requirements. The Internet environment was changing rapidly, far faster than the bricks-and-mortar company had ever imagined. The General Manager needed to quickly develop his plans to succeed.

    LimNorris Solution - Business and Financial Consulting: LimNorris led the development of the business and financial plan. The General Manager of the new business was the project sponsor and approver. The company’s CEO and CFO approved the business plan. Web site development began in March 2000 (in parallel with detailed financial planning) and the site went live in October 2000.

  20. Human Resource Requirements and Technology Gap: On one hand the VP of Human Resources couldn’t believe it took days for his managers to answer simple questions. They installed a new HR system a couple of years ago. Did they need to replace the system or something else? On the other hand the IT department couldn’t believe the HR department wanted “yet another HR system”. How many HR systems could the company afford? See case study.

    LimNorris Solution – Assess, Plan, and Implement:
    LimNorris worked with HR Managers to define the root cause requirements and worked with the IT department to develop a cost effective solution. It took four person weeks to design and implement a solution that cut Diversity Reporting by 95%, from two weeks to four hours.

Copyright 2002 Lim, Norris & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.