IT Decision Making
After exhaustive research, we determined that large enterprises around the US follow different strategies, timelines, and processes regarding IT decisions about desktop software. We found that such decisions were finalized by a team in some enterprises, while only a single individual could be responsible for the overall direction of another company's software implementation. Examples of this include how an entire team of IT seniors were responsible for the decision-making regarding Mars' adoption of Windows 10 Enterprise, in contrast to Shaw Industries where just the Chief Information Officer's decision to adopt a cloud-based ERP ultimately convinced the rest of his team despite them initially criticizing his proposal. On the other hand, we found that all enterprises included in this write-up underwent several stages of evaluation and testing of their options prior to finalizing their decisions.
With more than 10,000 employees worldwide, Virginia-based Mars is a globally-recognized manufacturer of food and beverages, and is the parent company of famous brands such as Pedigree, Snickers, and M&M’s.
According to a case study published by Microsoft in 2017, Mars recently decided to adopt Windows 10 Enterprise, Microsoft Office 365, and Microsoft Azure.
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Mars Chief Information Officer Vittorio Cretella believed that the digital transformation of Mars, which includes the implementation and use of the aforementioned Microsoft Enterprise software solutions, will provide the company with a “fantastic opportunity to get closer to their customers and provide an even better value proposition.” The importance of this is more evident when considering that the company already has around 400 locations within 78 countries and over 80,000 associates, and is still exhibiting accelerating growth through acquisitions and the launch of new products. Previously, enterprise-wide upgrades were stated to have gaps of up to four years and cost over $4 million. Mars Senior Manager for End User Technologies David Boersma decided that it would make more sense to “spend time and money optimizing their work environment, finding new ways to safeguard high-value corporate data, and delivering other strategic contributions to the business.”
The initial phase of the digital transformation began on February 2016 by installing Microsoft Office 365 and the Windows 10 Enterprise operating system within all computers of the global organization. The objective was to provide all their associates with the tools needed to keep up with new innovations and workflows in "today's connected workplace." A chosen few mobile associates were provided with Microsoft Surface Pro 4 devices. According to Mars Digital Workplace and Corporate Systems Director Jonathan Chong, the plan was to "drive the right digital behaviors" through Windows 10 by building a technology environment "comparable to or better than what Mars Associates use in their personal lives.”
According to Mars Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Core Services Paul L'Estrange, he announced to his team that he decided to never "do a big-bang operating system migration again". Xceed Group defines a big bang migration as the process of transferring an entire dataset from source to target systems in one operation. This served as the primary reason for why Mars chose to migrate to Microsoft's "Windows-as-a-service" model.
By September 2016, over 5,000 associates were using Office 365 and Windows 10 Enterprise. In addition to this around 500 mobile associates and high-level executives were given Surface Pro devices.
The case study states that by the first months of 2017, over 12,500 associates used Windows 10 and Office 365. Boersma anticipates that by 2018, Mars will be able to fully-implement this enterprise-wide digital transformation.
Based in California, UST Global is an Information Technology company with more than 10,000 employees across four continents.
According to another case study published by Microsoft in 2017, UST Global was in dire need of a business intelligence platform. This is due to the very dynamic needs of the nature of their business. Upon evaluating several options, UST Global decided that Microsoft's Business Intelligence Platform (MBIP) was the best fit for their company.
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UST Global Senior Data Architect Manoj Padmakaran believed that the company needed to find a solution for four growing challenges in providing better and more efficient visualization and modeling capabilities.
1. License cost per user
2. Capabilities of self-service analytics
3. Dashboard sharing and secured data handling within business user groups
4. "Dependency with IT team for any analytics needs"
It was stated in the case study that prior to the migration, UST Global was already using Microsoft's SQL Server before they found out about MBIP. Because of this, UST Global worked with Microsoft to better familiarize themselves with the platform. Aside from realizing that MBIP is a more capable and cost effective platform, the company also developed an interest for Power BI—a part of MBIP. Power BI is a new data visualization tool "with the ability to use the natural language type of queries for slicing and dicing the data."
Upon finalizing the decision to implement MBIP enterprise-wide, UST Global gathered a specialist team for its implementation, customization, and development. At the same time, Microsoft conducted training sessions and had Microsoft Premium Field Engineers on standby to provide support and further guidance.
After the implementation was completed, Microsoft conducted a final round of training programs to make sure that MBIP would work and be used as intended and needed for UST Global.
According to UST Global Director of IS Applications Vikram Kumar BT, he saw that Microsoft understood the needs of their business. Aside from this, he also mentioned that Microsoft has an "inclination to provide innovative solutions and technologies" to address these needs.
Currently with over 20,000 associates across the globe, Shaw Industries is one of the largest carpet manufacturers in the world.
According to a case study published by Netsuite, Shaw Industries found the need to implement a "two-tier Enterprise Resource Planning system."
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The case study states that Shaw Industries Chief Information Officer Roddy McKaig decided that the company needed an ERP to both support and manage international expansion. Initially, McKaig was deciding whether to keep relying on the company's "existing system in China" or to finally invest in a new software vendor capable of meeting the growing needs of Shaw.
It was stated that the company's search for an ERP began as far back as 30 years ago. Unfortunately, none of them met the expectations of McKaig. In light of this, Shaw decided to create its own customized system.
By 2011, Shaw begun to prioritize international expansion. One of the biggest challenges involved was implementing a common ERP system for all locations. Unfortunately, their current system did not have the capability to support the scale of operations involved. McKaig got into discussion with an Australian subsidiary who had implemented a cloud-based ERP system and found that they were very satisfied with how things turned out. Despite receiving criticism from his team, McKaig decided to turn to Netsuite and implement a similar cloud-based ERP.
After several product demonstrations, the team was eventually convinced that Netsuite's ERP could provide Shaw with a two-tier approach by being implemented alongside their existing legacy system.
US-based enterprises follow different decision-making strategies, timelines, and processes regarding IT decisions about desktop software. While multiple IT seniors were responsible for such decisions in Mars and UST Global, the Chief Information Officer of Shaw Industries was able to convince his entire team about decision despite them initially being speculative about his idea. One commonality among all three was that they underwent varying degrees of evaluation and testing of their options before settling on their final decision.