Insights | Clients
Individually and as a group, we've worked with companies and organizations of all sizes to achieve significant, tangible improvements in organization, infrastructure, and operations, solving problems that may have looked intractable from the inside. Representative examples of what we've done for other clients are summarized here.
For the Financial Services Technology Consortium (FSTC): The Image Quality & Usability Assurance Initiative
Problem: Manage a team of financial industry check imaging experts assembled by the FSTC to define industry-standard quality and usability metrics for check images in anticipation of the new requirements and procedures of the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act (Check 21).
Solution: Working collaboratively with MorSecure and the FSTC team: (1) Develop a common terminology for describing image quality and usability; (2) Develop a set of metrics to communicate image quality defect and usability information between institutions; (3) Develop a model to understand the industry cost of poor image quality in an exchange environment; and (4) Determine next steps to define specific metric values and thresholds for defects and to facilitate industry adoption.
Result: A successful conclusion of Phase 1 of the project was announced by the FSTC on September 16, 2004. The Project Report includes the project background, definitions, an Impact of Poor Quality model, usability requirements, and key legislative and rules references; the Image Defect Metrics report outlines the 16 standard metrics that the FSTC team developed and defined, and provides the basis for a Phase II analysis to empirically test their effectiveness and establish quantitative thresholds to derive usability.
For the Internet Society (ISOC): A new Strategic Operating Plan
Problem: Collect ISOC's many individually worthwhile but strategically unrelated activities under a comprehensive and compelling strategic operating plan that defines the future of the organization.
Solution: Working collaboratively with ISOC's management and staff, its Board of Trustees, and its individual and organization members, and consulting many other members of the broader Internet community, distill and express the fundamental values and mission of the Internet Society in a form that is both comprehensive and compelling (at the level of vision) and achievable and consequential (at the level of action).
Result: ISOC's new strategic operating plan was adopted by its Board of Trustees in August 2005, and has begun to serve as the basis for the Society's budget and program-priority decisions for the 2006 fiscal year and beyond.
For a Major Capital Markets Organization: Network Strategy, Business Plan, and Architecture
Problem: Conceptualize, architect and develop plans for a highly resilient data network in light of new threats posed by global terrorism and opportunities presented by rapidly advancing network technologies.
Solution: A series of working sessions and research activities, as well as interviews with customers, partners, competitors and others to understand the needs of major participants, and the requirements for network design and operation.
Result: Implementation of a new network with robust participation from the client's customer community.
For a Major Pharmaceutical Company: Comprehensive IT Strategy
Problem: Reprioritize IT investments to improve physician outreach, manage a complex managed-care approval environment, and support other new sales and marketing efforts.
Solution: Helped to distill the new sales and marketing strategy into business requirements and IT initiatives, and re-align the IT project portfolio with this new environment to 'fast-track' the highest-impact initiatives.
Results: Fundamental change in external communications capabilities, emphasizing electronic links with physicians and managed-care providers, carefully hedged against a variety of identified potential changes in the larger healthcare environment.
For a Leading Software Company: Knowledge Management Strategy
Problem: Sales, product development, and support processes appeared to fall well short of industry best practices for effective knowledge management.
Solution: Examined the use of KM best practices across a wide range of companies, and developed a taxonomy to identify high-return areas for KM initiatives.
Results: A vision for the role of KM in the organization, a plan to leverage existing knowledge resources, and a program of organizational change to improve KM.
For a Southeast Asian Cross-Industry Consortium: eBusiness Education
Problem: Accelerate the adoption of leading-edge eBusiness practices among major firms based in a particular Southeast Asian nation.
Solution: Conducted a workshop to help executives and other senior managers better understand a range of complex, emerging business and technical issues in eBusiness.
Results: Participating firms were able to identify critical areas for investment in individual eBusiness initiatives as well as shared infrastructure and capabilities.
For a Multi-Mode Utility Service Provider: eBusiness Portfolio Strategy
Problem: Deploy limited funding and staff for maximum impact on shared eBusiness initiatives across a group of utility service subsidiaries (gas, data, electric.)
Solution: Developed and facilitated a high-level decision-making workshop for business unit heads and corporate executives to agree on a common strategy for eBusiness funding, management, and priorities.
Results: Corporate leaders agreed to a major shift in eBusiness priorities and approach.
For a Leading Communications Equipment Manufacturer: Strategy for Collaborative Engineering
Problem: Maintain high levels of productivity and reduce development cycle times across a complex, growing and distributed product engineering organization.
Solution: Advised on how to make best use of existing collaborative technologies, developed requirements for a next-generation collaborative engineering solution and formulated new work processes to take advantage of these capabilities.
Results: Mangers agreed on a common technical and process roadmap to evolve the client's approach to both intra- and inter-company engineering collaboration.
For a Consumer Products Company: Supply Chain Model
Problem: Optimize the stocking of stores and warehouses to minimize costs, maximize sales, and reduce the incidence of stock-outs and stale merchandise.
Solution: Developed an easy-to-use, real-time, agent-based simulation tool representing shoppers, stock clerks, store and warehouse managers, truckers, and factories to confirm, reject and fine-tune key managerial assumptions behind the channel stocking process.
Result: A more competitive inventory planning and management process, and the ability to address new stocking situations as they arose.
For a Major Government Agency: New Approach to Reduce Drug Smuggling
Problem: Develop new 'out-of-box' approaches to reducing illegal drug trade flows into the United States.
Solution: Built agent-based tools that helped senior strategists to think about how to raise the traffickers' costs of doing business, moving away from military metaphors and measurements to gauge progress. A complex adaptive systems approach, plus techniques from the field of machine learning, helped planners probe the dynamics of "cat and mouse" interactions that occur between smugglers and interdiction forces as they learn about and react to each other.
Result: Teaching tool has helped client to develop new strategies for effective law enforcement.
For a Single-Industry Network Service Provider, a Value Added Services Platform
Problem: Pressure from low-cost commodity networks and the public Internet threatened the client's traditional revenue base on its private network.
Solution: Helped to identify the client's comparative advantages (deep knowledge, extensive contacts, and long-term relationships in the industry), and develop a new menu of network services that capitalized on those advantages based on a program of in-depth research and industry interviews.
Result: A thriving business providing high value-added, industry-specific services that its customers cannot easily obtain elsewhere.
For a Leading Investment Bank: Product and Information Distribution Strategy
Problem: Ensure that new up-start competitors wouldn't run away with the client's core business using new auction-based models for distributing IPO shares.
Solution: A rapid, high profile scenario planning engagement to formulate a strategy for electronic distribution of shares and information to institutional, retail, and high net-worth clients while minimizing conflict with the client's established distribution channels.
Result: A decision that it was not necessary to meet new start-up competitors head-on, prioritization of partnership opportunities and development initiatives, and an improved approach to global information distribution.
For a Regional Commercial Bank: Data Management Strategy and Architecture
Problem: Define data management processes and governance guidelines to better integrate data sources across the enterprise, and present a more coherent face to the bank's customers and partners.
Solution: A structured engagement bringing together business and IT constituencies to make explicit decisions on key principles for data management and governance.
Result: A reduction in duplicate efforts and costs across departments and divisions, streamlined decision-making process, clarified IT approval authority, and prioritization of critical data-related initiatives.
For a Major Regional Bank: IT Security Architecture
Problem: Define current exposure to various security threats, make trade-offs between business flexibility and protection, and define a framework for ongoing evolution of the organization's security strategy and architecture.
Solution: Rapid assessment of bank security, plus a workshop that brought business and IT stakeholders together to make decisions on security principles, establish key priorities, and define a high-level architecture.
Result: New agreements between IT and the business on security policy, and a plan to rapidly enhance overall bank security.
For a Pay-Per-Use Content Provider: Market Research & Segmentation
Problem: Orient the client's new-to-the-world content consumption and rights management technology at likely early adopter market segments and applications.
Solution: A structured program of primary market research using conjoint and regression analysis to identify attractive segments and translate their requirements into crisp value propositions and application concepts.
Results: The client was able to focus its marketing resources more effectively on early adopters and tailor its marketing more closely to compelling problems and unmet needs.
For a 'Fortune 50' High-Tech Manufacturer: Enterprise IT Infrastructure Architecture
Problem: Cut costs while improving IT service and accelerating critical projects.
Solution: A comprehensive strategic architecture initiative to help the IT function prioritize and integrate a vast array of competing and overlapping efforts. The project broke new conceptual ground in describing architectural characteristics as generic variables that would remain durable as new technologies emerged.
Result: Lower IT spending on infrastructure with simultaneous improvements in service to internal and external customers.
For a Leading Wireless Equipment Provider: IT Strategy and Data Architecture
Problem: Ensure that IT infrastructure and services could support the business as it experienced extremely rapid global expansion across more than thirty countries.
Solution: Develop a robust IT strategic plan aligning architecture, resources, and implementation plans with all facets of an evolving multidimensional business strategy. This inclusive forward-looking process helped the IT organization to operate in a more coordinated fashion around a set of well-defined standards and services.
Results: Client avoided the looming crisis of IT becoming a roadblock to business growth, while using IT pro-actively to drive innovation and flexibility and reducing cost.