In order to figure out what challenges struggle Denny Brown; it is necessary to review his personal experiences briefly. First of all, Brown is the chief information officer of the company Pinnacle West (PWC), and its largest subsidiary is Arizona Public Service (APS). This company operated businesses about providing energy utility to public; APS also partly owned and operated the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Generating Station. According to the case, Palo Verde used to be the largest power facility in the United States and played a significant role in power supplication for southwest United States.
This case happened during the economy recession recently. Overall, the point views from the company were claimed from the vice-president and CIO himself, Denny Brown. He recorded few successful initiatives at PWC; moreover, Brown also achieved initial success in instituting a process-oriented atmosphere inside the information technology services organization. There is one point need to be highlighted is Brown believed that a CIO’s duty is to transform the business, which means Brown keeps trying to improve company’s transformation process as developed as possible.
That is also the reason why he achieved few succeed initiatives at first. Although his purpose of creating a process-oriented enterprise for PWC was motivated, he left APS to acquire another job at IBM for almost 10 years in 1990s. The truth is he went back to APS after almost a decade; he was unable to get familiar with CIO’s mission immediately. He faced the situation that more new employees were hired in his department; a long break-in period was required in early 2000s when he was back to the company.
At the end of page 10, the case summarized that Brown faces an important crossroads in his process-oriented strategy for PWC. Brown has to consider various troubles in making the resource of decision available and plan a strategy for a wider show of a process-oriented strategy through PWC and determine if other companies is ready for this strategy as well. Another problem Brown may face is he need to fix the misunderstanding between the business people and the information technology department. In the case’s page 10, it indicated that there is a nature interaction between IT and business.
Obviously the IT employees depend on the business people’s sense of requirements, but the business people has no ability to fully figure out what the technology is and how remarkable it is. In order to move forward, fixing the miscommunication is urgent for Brown and his IT organization. How well ? The grassroots strategy, which stands for the one that is implemented or driven bottom levels up, is the fundamental strategy used for Pinnacle West Cooperation. In this case, the grassroots strategy represents the process orientation; the CIO of PWC proposed that the company needs to be organized in an oriented approach.
Because CIO Brown noticed his information technology organization lacked formal metrics and the organization was depended on individual’s knowing. Not only in the IT organization, but this situation also stated that the whole enterprise need to improve or reengineer its structure. Due to a company’s most fundamental aspect is its general employees from different departments, a process-oriented system is able to guides grassroots business people embraces a formal and correct approach.
Consequently, differences between individuals make them cannot following the strict rules totally; that is why promoting a considerable process orientation is necessary and urgent for the enterprise’s reengineering. The process orientation was established for general business people and IT workers as well, which indicated the importance of creating process orientation as a grassroots strategy. In the first page, a process-oriented system is not only needed in information services organization, but other business departments in PWC are also able to create their own process-oriented approach as well.
Otherwise, it is also possible to promote the process orientation among managers. Because of managers’ occupational power, grassroots employees can be guided by units’ managers directly. Promoting a grassroots strategy among business people is a mission that the company has to input amount of cash flow and time to train employees. But the goal of popularizing process orientation is to driven bottom-up and to be implemented, PWC did working on the grassroots strategy very well. For example, PWC’s process orientation for IT department showed that they built a framework in APS.
Security, budget management and service performance are three aspects of the foundation which help to achieve high availability and high service levels. The motto “Technology drives business. Business is a moving target” drove this strategy. Then, professional development and key projects from core area in IT strategy framework help to achieving business process transformation. At last, business transformation of innovation area always focused on creating process change abilities, methodologies and equipment.
All of three areas in IT process orientations represent that this grassroots strategy was able to build a stable framework to develop and solve IT struggles as clear as possible and business process transformation can also be handled comprehensively and quickly. grassroots strategy? Previously, it is not hard to find out how impressive the process orientation is. This framework is exactly like Exhibit 2 shows, three areas of APS’s IT strategy represent that this company has ability to manage its information service system and keep renewing it frequently.
If the enterprise can reengineer itself at an organized level, it also could explore company’s problems easily and correct them immediately. For example, this grassroots strategy showed that foundation area has aspects named budget management and service performance. Those two basic functions help APS to monitor its finance circumstances can be operated in a reasonable approach and to record IT department’s services with providing feedbacks from customers. Innovation area also bring fresh ideas and good thinking to this apartment in order to create its technology modern and appropriately all the time.
For the short-run, this strategy can be sustainable is because the process had been created very thoughtful and suitable for the enterprise in a period of time. For example, after the fire of Westwing substation, APS discovered an assessment for the destroyed substation. At the same time, some impressive recommendations were also mentioned in the study. In order to describe this assessment as an accident report, it will be better to treat this as a new process orientation for APS.
Like the case recommended, maintenance basis, work prioritization, equipment maintenance procedures and data automation were main sections that APS need to pay attention to repair. In the future 2 to 3 years, the sustainability of this process orientation for APS’s burned substation would guide both managers and employees work very well. However, the point mentioned above is about different grassroots strategies were made for a particular period of time. Both IT service’s process orientation and Westwing’s recommendation strategy were established for the special circumstance.
Because PWC had suffered from the economy recession in early 2000s, and CIO Brown just went back from another company after almost a decade, it is necessary for his organization to make an obvious adjustment. But for the long-run, if IT organization keep promoting this framework and never change the details, Brown’s team would hardly have opportunities to explore themselves’ problems because they may thought the grassroots strategy was fitted to them very well. Like it mentioned, the strategy was created for solving a particular problem.
As well as Westwing’s strategy, those recommendations were only useful when the substation trying to rebuild the system then a process orientation was needed urgently at that special timing. The formal strategy for a company or a department is definitely distinctive from different periods of time. A grassroots strategy has ability to guild an enterprise for a while, but the situation and the structure of the enterprise are changed dependently, only one grassroots strategy cannot provides considerable points and recommendations for the enterprise through a long period.
The sustainability of a grassroots strategy can be keep for a short-run time. Companies need to correct their strategy flexibly depend on the timing. should he be more aggressive ? Since the case clearly stated that according to Brown’s conviction of process orientation, the promotion of this strategy can be functional and would be used in an adequate way. And he also claimed that this helpful model had worked its function successfully in other enterprises. Those beliefs were the reason why Brown intended to push the agenda as comprehensive as possible, but the previous point from the question is quite reasonable.
Brown, as the CIO of PWC, he still needs to worry about his IT organization’s promoting problems of process orientation. His hesitation was focused on his team’s human resources’ struggles. Only one step they took to transform IT and it was pretty difficult to develop. Due to the new process orientation play a mature role in reengineering the department, employees were hard to give up the functional model, which had been run on 50 years. Then the key view is this functional model operated very well among IT service organization.
Just because of this well-served situation, people were really comfortable with it and afraid to obtain any changes. Brown’s significant worry was the functional model cost amount of budget and could not “as responsive to change”. This situation clearly showed that Brown’s hesitation is justified; but if he wants to be more aggressive to push his agenda among the whole enterprise, the strategy may not be worked. Due to IT employee’ sustainable attitude of the functional model, aggressive promote behaviors only will increase their resentments about his agenda.
Not only in the IT organization, if Brown would like to push the agenda throughout the whole company, but business people are also not familiar with any part of Brown’s proposal. Compared with IT members, those business people’s resentments may create more negative effects on promoting the agenda. An aggressive popularization always results in an opposite impact, individuals’ attitudes toward things, human-beings or commodities are distinctive, an approach of forcing people to accept ideas and getting similar with the agenda is inappropriate.
Although IT employees’ opinion toward process orientation’ runs on was lack of motivations, a forced method to proposal the agenda is not suitable for CIO Brown. He may face the hesitation about pushing the top-down strategy, reducing the promote step and trying to persuade people with the agenda’s advantages can be more sensible. The functional model was too old-fashioned to be abandoned; employees are able to adapt the new agenda step by step and to adjust their attentions from the functional model to process orientation at the same time.