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Cisco Case Study

992 words - 4 pages


1a. How did Cisco find itself in trouble with regard to its intended IT prior to Brad Boston's arrival?

Prior to his arrival, CISCO had a decentralized approach to IT spending. Independent business groups were making decisions in fuctional silos. Each group their own funds for IT, therefore, redundant applications such as CRM systems were created. This was a global issue as well as a localized issue.

The Cisco philosophy regarding IT was simple: As long as someone was willing to pay for it, the IT department would work on whatever process/project specified. This is not only a waste of money, but it also creates problems when trying to work across teams. If two teams use two different processes to come up with the same information and it is communicated differently, then they are going to have difficulties communicating.

b. Why didn't the single ERP System help the situation?

The ERP system became somewhat obsolete since each business group created customized software applications that each had different interfaces. Also, business groups were inconsistent with their organizational definitions. Some units defined a shipment as the product moving from the manufacturer to the distributor, while others defined it as the distributor sending the product to the customer. This inconsistency caused the departments to create their own software that would pull specific information as they defined it.

c. Why didn't this ensure more consistency?

There was no consistency because the process was decentralized. The lack of consistency was inevitable considering the number of functional silos established with Cisco. As stated in the case there was "no centralized group checking for conflicts and redundancies". This lead to a number of processes trying to gather the same data for different business units.

In 1993, when Peter Solvik took over as CIO of Cisco, he reallocated the IT budget to each individual department. He also took the power away from an IT steering committee and gave it to departments. This gave each department the ability to function independent of each other. There was no need for them to communicate with other departments in order to achieve similar objectives and goals.

2a. What is BPOC's role?

The BPOC's role is to get together biweekly to review and prioritize key initiatives that impact the company as a whole. BPOC would categorize each initiative and then make recommendations for the different projects.

b. How much formal authority does it have?

While they demonstrated no "formal" authority; the recommendations carried a great deal of weight. These are senior executives and they do have a vast knowledge of what is needed for the company to continue to be successful.

c. How much IT funding does it control?

It does not control funding for any initiatives, it merely has strong influence and promotes its recommendations.

3a. Would you approve the...

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