IOC. Becoming CIO of Mitel Networks in 2014 through the acquisition of Aastra, you have inherited a sprawling IT structure …
Yes, on the one hand, the company had acquired some of its competitors. But it was also engaged in a strategy to provide Unified Communications Systems (UCS) via the cloud, which complicated the situation. Mitel’s 3,500 employees, many of whom had arrived through the acquisitions of Aastra Technologies, Shoretel Networks, and Toshiba’s unified communications business, worked with 18 ERP systems, 12 CRM systems, 5 HR systems and more. other duplicate software. To work more efficiently, consolidation was needed. But each business unit wanted to continue using its own processes and technological tools. Everyone wanted to maintain its uses! But this approach was not a good starting point because of the
The kaizen method has seduced you. Why ?
Indeed, the Kaizen system brought me answers to start streamlining Mitel’s business processes. Kaizen, which means “improvement” in Sino-Japanese, consists of staggered deployments over time, rather than annual background changes. It is both a philosophy and a set of practices focused on continuous process improvement, involving every employee from top to bottom. The method was mostly used by Toyota as part of what the automaker has called the Toyota Way. By adopting kaizen, Toyota quickly identified errors in its assembly line, which allowed it to continually improve its manufacturing practices and increase its productivity.
How did you proceed?
Kaizen usually involves meetings, called kaizens, that ensure that everyone is moving in the same direction. That’s what we did with Mitel staff: frequent meetings to find solutions to different issues, such as having five different tools to process an order or multiple collaboration tools to share information . Even our CEO, Richard McBee, participated in these events, which shows how much the company has adopted the philosophy. The CEO believes in it and everyone, from the sales manager to the CFO, is involved. Kaizen gives special importance to everyone and all staff must be involved.
Mitel vice president of collaboration and applications, Mona Abou-Sayed, recently stated in a blog that employees was wasting 15% of their time in inefficient processes and communications …
As Mona Abou-Sayed has pointed out in recent years, Mitel has used kaizen to identify the least efficient processes and the tools of collaboration in excessive numbers. Mona Abou-Sayed has led kaizens in all functional areas, from finance to R & D and marketing to sales. Mitel has gone through four key steps to make kaizen effective. First, the company made sure to bring the right people together. Then, during kaizens, the main stakeholders made an inventory of the collaboration, including the tools used. Finally, when the company has the right tools, it has developed its own application Teamwork to organize virtual meetings by smartphone. Kaisens also helped plan future collaborative goals. Finally,
What were the effects of these kaizens?
Kaizen (and the associated Kaizens) brought the employees closer, thus laying the foundation for agile software development. In the end, Mitel replaced 18 ERP systems with a global SAP instance, consolidated 12 CRM systems into a single Salesforce.com platform, and reduced the number of customer portals from just five to two. I can say that kaizen has been at the heart of every project and every program. I think the kizzy-based agile approach will be beneficial for Mitel, which plans to make another major acquisition by acquiring Avaya Holdings. (In April, the Wall Street Journal reported that Mitel had donated more than $ 2 billion in shares for the coveted global leader in contact center solutions).
You would say that Kaizen is the royal road to agility?
Kaizen’s iterative approach lends itself well to the development of agile software. I worked closely with my peers to bring Mitel to cloud communications faster. We closed data centers to migrate our communications products to Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). The partnership with GCP is particularly rich, with Mitel operating its VoIP telephony systems and GCP contact centers. Mitel also operates Google’s artificial intelligence (AI), including a chatbot that provides information about products and services to customers who request it. This chatbot can direct clients to a human agent, who can access the full context of the conversation while viewing this chatbot which allows
What are the next steps ?
Mitel also plans to use IoT sensors that can alert IT personnel if UCS products fail. We also plan to take a more automated and proactive approach to prevent customers and employees from having to ask for help. Artificial intelligence and sensor data analysis will enable Mitel to better understand how customers use their equipment, and when to begin preventive maintenance before the systems fail.
By facilitating transformation after so many mergers and acquisitions, four critical steps kept me on track: First, get people involved from the start. It is important that the entire company is kept informed of developments throughout the process; then align with goals and set clear goals. Long-term projects such as digital transformation require ongoing collaboration; synchronize efforts. Avoid overwork (or overlap) by managing projects in parallel streams; and finally, keep in mind that the transformation must benefit customers and partners. It may seem incredible, but sometimes at the end of projects.