IHS Broadband Services PDF Print E-mail

Between 2000 and 2001, I was head of Integrated HomeSolutions Broadband Services. This was the first department with both operational and strategic components that I had ever created.

I had to manage the spread between a software development department on one hand, managed by my old friend and SAP teammate Bob Briggs, and the broadband consulting services, managed by Tina Iftiger.

The software team was, thanks to Bob's professional management skills, up and running rather quickly, though it took us a long time to recruit to Benton Harbor, MI. The initial plan was for me to build up the teams from a Chicago, IL, base, where the talent pool was much deeper. This plan was cancelled by Jeff Fettig, who wanted the operation closer to home (and more under control). In hindsight, I think I should have pushed harder then, because it was the talent pool that in the end proved to be one of the key causes of the delays that unltimately killed the project just a few months before the go-live. The other reason was the lack of good specs, which in turn came down to a lack of marketing and product development specialists in the early parts of the operation. I basically was writing the specs, and at that time I did not know what I know now: good specs make or break a software development effort. Well, one learns more intensely through pain.

The consulting arm was the second operation I created in this department, since it needed something to sell first. Once the software side was moving along nicely, I started to staff on the consulting side. I make the foundational whitepaper available in an edited form. Tina Iftiger was the first hire, and what a catch! We were able to launch a few high-profile speaking engagements, and had a first client within a few months. I developed basically the full product portfolio for consulting. The CD-ROM we distributed gives you a good feeling for the kinds of services we provided. We branded the business Novispire. Here is my business card from back when (my rate was $350/h):

Ultimately, the department was deemed a success by the VP of the business unit, Alan Shaw, and my supervisor, the general manager Mike Kauffman. I was asked to surrender control to my managers, and head to Europe to start our operations there.

Part of the responsibility was the software architecture, which I developed together with the head of architecture and the head of eBusiness in the CIO staff. I am rather proud of our advanced thinking of user-generated content and the portal strategy behind it. In late 1999, this was rather out-there stuff.

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