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Enterprise IT at Cisco

1.How did Cisco find itself in such trouble with regard to its internal IT in 2001? Why didnt
the single ERP system help more? Why didnt this ensure more consistency?
In 2001, Cisco found itself in trouble with regards to its internal IT largely because of the
decentralization initiative started by Solvik. Each business group made independent IT decisions,
similar tools used different data and definitions for a particular group's needs. As a result, reports
were less accurate and conflicts arose. The lack of a central oversight group probably led to this
internal issue since there was no efficient way to account for similar (redundant) functions being
used by different business groups. Cisco implemented a single ERP system, but there was no
standardization of the interfaces and customizations used by the various tools and applications. As
a result, there wasn't a way to ensure consistency.

2.What is BPOCs role? How much formal authority does it have?

The BPOC (Business Process Operating Committee) was a group made up of cross-functional
managers that was created to drive priorities for the company. It did not have any real formal
authority; rather it made recommendations that affected how the company allocated IT spending.
The BPOC acted largely in an advisory capacity

3.Would you approve the call center project? Why or why not?
In order to enhance productivity, manage calls efficiently and reduce overall costs incurred by an
existing system, there appears to be a great deal of positive ROI in implementing the call center
project. Furthermore, the customer advocacy group has already "field tested" the concept in Europe
with successful results. If BPOC can convince other business units of the projected value in
restructuring the call center by assuring them of mutual "back-scratching" in the future regarding
their own proposals, Boston may successfully enhance interdepartmental cohesion while still
retaining Cisco's traditionally entrepreneurial approach to project management.
4.If you were an advocate of the call center project, how would you make it as attractive as
possible to the BPOC?
Common issues faced by customer will be identified, proactive measures can be taken to
resolve them.
Positive ROI on project implementation
Adequate benefit to other functions in the firm
Enhancement of productivity
Reduction in overall costs incurred in existing system

5.What was Pete Solviks approach to IT decision making at Cisco? Did he think that line
managers should get to make all IT decisions? If not, which ones did he want the IT function
to make, and which did he want the business units to make?

Peter Solvik took a very decentralized approach to IT management. Solvik joined Cisco in 1993
and supported the organization through a period of rapid growth. However, his strategy for the IT
organization differed greatly from Boston. Upon his arrival at the company he made three major
changes in an effort to reshape the image of IT to be more than just overhead. First, he
restructured the organization such that IT was no longer part of the Finance organization, but
instead reported up into the customer advocacy group. Secondly, he reallocated a majority of the
IT budget to the functional groups, allowing the line managers to make decisions regarding how
the money was spent and what IT projects were important to them. Finally, he disbanded a
centralized IT steering committee and gave greater authority over application projects to the line
organizations in the short-term this strategy was effective, but as more time passed the increased
level of customization within the different applications became a great burden to the company,
especially when it became necessary to upgrade their ERP system. Also, while Solviks strategy
may have been to refine the image and reputation of IT, he was still not successful in making IT a
strategic asset

6.Why did Boston pick the three big projects he did?

1. Upgrade the Oracle ERP System -The original system did not meet the specialized needs of
certain business groups, such as sales, marketing, and HR. In order to avoid the customized code
and interfaces being used by different groups, an upgrade was necessary to support a variety of
critical functions.
2. Enterprise reporting and business intelligence solution -Boston noticed that teams were using
different business intelligence tools that were not linked. He wanted to standardize tools to
maintain consistency in the data being used by different groups.

3. Single customer database -Having a single database with all the customer data will help maintain
accuracy of reports and in also retrieving data. Data was previously being pulled from different
data sources and it was causing internal reporting conflicts.

7.What is shadow IT? Why would a CIO want to control/minimize it? Are there effective
ways to do so? Do you think Bostons amnesty program will work? Does it stand a good
chance of uncovering all or most of Ciscos shadow IT projects?
Shadow IT is the implementation of IT oriented resources for use in business processes without
being officially sanctioned by the organization. The practice of shadow IT can threaten the
organization in many ways due to its lack of audit-ready governance, security controls, and the
compliance issues that naturally arise because of it, making its dissolution a top priority for many
CIOs. Boston's amnesty program is a solid step forward in rebuilding trust and realigning negative
perceptions to coax business units into understanding the need for jurisdictional IT governance.
But amnesty alone won't uncover all shadow IT projects, and therefore must be used in conjunction
with business/IT communication- and relationship-building endeavors as well as stronger policing
of IT systems to protect them from the inclusion of foreign applications, devices, and other
unsupported solutions within the organization.