• Subject: RE: Programmers VS Consultants
  • From: Roger Boucher <RBoucher@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 10:07:15 -0800

This is a wonderful example of what can be done when IT is included as part
of the "corporate strategy" rather than being viewed as overhead.  You
certainly couldn't pull something like this off in a place where minimizing
the head-count "expense" of the IT department takes precedence over
long-range goals of quality and pro-active involvement.

Roger Boucher
Standard Pacific Corp.
rboucher@stanpac.com
714-668-4326


-----Original Message-----
From: Pete Hall [mailto:pbhall@execpc.com]
Sent: Sunday, November 21, 1999 8:17 PM
To: MIDRANGE-L@midrange.com
Subject: Re: Programmers VS Consultants


At 20:22 11/21/1999 , Bob Larkin wrote:
>    Are there any companies where the programmers play a consultant role 
> rather
>than a programming role.
>
>What  Pros and Cons are there?  These consultants would be directed by the
>individual company areas and report to a manager for resource management.
>
>Has anyone done this?  And if so, how can a manager keep  the
>Consultant/Programmers as a team?
>
We did something similar. We created a "Business Process Group", which was 
originally chartered to do some process re-engineering, ended up 
implementing our new business system (JDE), and after that was pretty much 
disbanded (went from 10 people to 2) so that the team members could each 
oversee a different area of the business. It remains to be seen if they 
will get pulled back together again at some point. The team members were 
"experts" from different areas of the company. There was one member from IT.

The original intent was to have IT personnel act as consultants to various 
areas of the company, but this didn't really work out, mostly because we 
had too much "traditional" IT work to do. The one team member who got 
transferred to the Business Process Group, is still there, and really no 
longer considers herself a "programmer". We were supposed to get together 
once a week for a team meeting, but that fell apart after a while. If we 
had followed through, I think we would have ended up with a bunch of little 
IT departments, quite likely not connected very well, and we would probably 
be less efficient than we are today.

Our IT department is very proactive and customer oriented. We do customer 
satisfaction surveys, publish metrics, facilitate user groups, provide 
formal training, do daily facility walks-through to check equipment and see 
how things are going with the users. We have taken the attitude that we 
really are a service organization within the company and that we need to 
keep our customers as happy as possible and provide value by helping them 
do their jobs better and more efficiently. We make an effort to learn and 
understand the business, and respect our users, many of whom are a lot 
smarter than we are in their areas of expertise. As a result, we are often 
included on cross-functional teams so that we can provide an "IT" 
perspective. We even have one member on the safety team. I think this 
proactive approach has been more productive than the original "departmental 
consultant" concept. It has allowed us to pursue IT projects that connect 
the company and allow it to function more efficiently as a whole. This 
would have been very difficult if we had become fragmented.


Pete Hall
pbhall@execpc.com
http://www.execpc.com/~pbhall
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