Process Excellence: IT Outsourcing to Align IT Resources with Business Strategy
by Rob Hingst, LeaseDimensions, Inc.
The client is a captive finance company whose parent organization provides products and services that include medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology. The organization offers financing to its customers for the acquisition of medical and clinical equipment, as well as general equipment used in health care.
The client’s customers consist of hospitals, clinics, universities, and medical centers. The financing programs offered include equipment leases for the client’s own equipment, equipment leases for third party equipment, interest-bearing loans, and lines of credit.
The client’s business strategy was to expand globally and emphasize the use of its own information technology (IT) resources for its core business areas. The client’s complimentary strategy was to use a third party to provide IT services required to upgrade, integrate, and support the client’s non-core technologies.
The client’s new business volume began exceeding their mainframe system’s capacity, requiring the client to purge valuable historical data. Users were required to use unconventional numbering schemes to circumvent other system limitations. An additional complication arose when the single senior programmer was able to work only a handful of hours each week.
The company’s legacy system for managing its finance program was a flat-file architecture running on a mainframe-based system. The legacy system was difficult to interface to core business systems since the software had been modified by the client’s former COBOL programmers.
The company selected us to perform the data migration from their legacy system to a three-tiered high-volume application using a well-known DBMS. The client also requested that we build integrated interfaces to its accounting and manufacturing modules for product and customer management. Finally, the client requested that we build a custom billing system to accommodate both product and finance sales volumes.
After completing the data conversion and implementing the new system, it was the client’s intent to outsource the day-to-day network management, systems management, and daily operations to a third party.
We successfully converted the legacy data to the new technology and implemented the system into production on-time and on-budget. We developed solutions for identifying and correcting problem data residing in the legacy system and successfully recovered much of the valuable historical data that had been purged by the client to make room for new business.
We successfully developed and deployed interfaces to the client’s product and customer management system. We also developed a tightly integrated invoice interface system that enabled the client to combine accounts receivable data generated by product sales with those generated by scheduled payments for finance contracts. Finally, we developed a client-server management information reporting platform that enabled users to generated their own management reports.
Due to successful migration of the client to new technology and our successful deployment of follow-up initiatives, the client selected us to perform the ongoing systems and network management and daily technical and help desk operations. Additionally, the client selected us to develop, test, and deploy the company’s disaster recovery plan.
Through the successful implementation and selective outsourcing of non-core technologies, the client was keenly focused on technologies for its core business areas. The client completely revamped systems supporting its core competencies and attained a high level of information integration between its various systems environments.
The client increased its business volume beyond the capacity of the previous system and increased its product offering to include new contract types not supported by the legacy system. Finally, the client met its objective in global expansion by increasing the span of its global financial portfolio to twenty countries. This year the client was named by Fortune magazine one of the “100 Best Companies to Work for 2003.”