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Delivering Business Value with IT at Hefty Hardware: Case Analysis
Key Issues in the Hefty Hardware Case
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On a C-level basis the CIO and COO are not cooperating, which is causing problems within their
respective units. Their lack of communication likely travels up to struggles with communicating
with the CEO as well.
The business and IT units don’t appear to have any integration. Which leads to a lack of
professionalism, and interpersonal communications are decidedly political, if there is any
communication at all. The lack of integration also means the company is missing out on sharedknowledge which is an essential component of an efficient company.
Business objectives need to be better defined by business and IT personnel so that the value of
IT can be realized beyond IT’s ability to just handle day-to-day operations. Time management
can then also be analyzed since it plays a big part of underlying issues.
The internal infrastructure needs improvement, but for that to happen, the business units need
to actually hear and understand what IT needs are.
Additional Discussion of Key Issues
Building a Strong Relationship with the Business
Hefty Hardware’s multitude of problems stem from their inefficient communication and lack of
any type of integrated relationship between the business side and IT side. The business side has a clear
disrespect of IT. The IT side is not making it any easier by not being able to establish credibility with their
business peers.
Throughout the case it’s apparent that the foundation for a decent relationship is missing. Value
for the IT department is not fully being realized. The business side has no competence regarding the IT
side and, according to the business managers, the IT side lacks competence about business operations.
The lack of competence on either side causes doubt on each other’s credibility and trust. The
interpersonal communication within the organization is creating unsettling side effects that make
communication between the business units unnecessarily complicated.
Developing IT Strategy for Business Value
The CIO, Farzad Mohammad, and COO, Glen Vogel, are having trouble operating with one
another. They both see their projects as more important than the other and their business needs aren’t
being met. The interconnectivity of both their projects, yet apparent lack of partnership, is holding back
the process. Their business likely has an outdated business model and strategy, so different objectives
are looked at with varying degrees of prioritization and integration of projects is being overlooked.
There are business opportunities and leverage opportunities that are not being realized as well, such as
the mobile apps that aren’t picking up steam because the marketing department won’t fund the project.
Business improvement and enabling also need to be revamped likely through infrastructure, as IT keeps
trying to emphasize but the business side is not understanding.
Cheri Zejda
Page 1|3
Developing and Delivering on the IT Value Proposition
Hefty Hardware’s business and IT units are struggling with converting ideas to reality. They have
poor project management, their resources are not being properly allocated, and their workforce is being
stretched thin. Vogel wants to take some IT staff to check out the retail stores, but because they IT team
is so small, Mohammed thinks this is terrible idea. Mohammed needs his team to be ready for an IT
strategy presentation, so his current employees are putting all their efforts into it, leaving not much
space for anything else. The timing is also bad for both groups. Vogel sees a need for the IT to witness
what retail stores need to have a more efficient process, but he’s suggesting it at a time where everyone
is stressed about other things.
Solution Approach: Integration of Business and IT
The current partnership between business and IT is causing friction within all aspects of the
organization. The first item that needs addressed is how to build a strong relationship between business
and IT.
The foundation for a good relationship should start at the C-level. The CIO and COO can kickstart
a good model by setting up a meeting where they discuss both their objectives, decide on prioritization
of said objectives, and disperse that new information to their respective units. These units can then
strategize a way to work together and decide on some first target objectives that will create a basis for
working together. Once a plan has been made, they can seek clearance from the CEO. For the rest of the
organization to see the interpersonal communication of management cooperating, will lend credibility
to all the various units, which opens a doorway for more conversation. The C-level team should
communicate frequently. Coming up with a strategy is a good start, but the strategy should be flexible,
and the CIO and COO need to be ready to understand and adapt to changes.
Goal setting and project management developed by the CIO and COO should be communicated
to their peers. The CIO should be very cautious while communicating with the COO whilst using
technical language so that they are in-step with one another, and the COO should stress the importance
of his projects as well. The next step is to decide on the right people to strategize, plan in detail, and get
the job done with an appropriate mix of business and IT team members. While the IT team is handling
day-to-day operations okay, all other projects that should be contributing to business strategies are in a
frenzy- partly due to management not monitoring and communicating current progress, or lack thereof,
and also due in part that IT is short staffed, both being problems that have been overlooked for too long.
The rest of the business is not seeing much credibility with the IT team which is putting stress on any
healthy interpersonal communications. There needs to be more transparency, which comes from
additional IT team members who have a specialty in communication. The CEO seeing these problems
should work with the HR department to implement teamwork seminars that could add a healthy
balance to the entire dynamic that will help the entire organization understand the underlying politics of
the work environment and the CEO should get updates of department needs and implement changes
with the help of HR, such as adding new employees where it’s needed, supply training, and bring in
programs that pertain to building strong relationships.
Cheri Zejda
Page 2|3
After C-level management has come up with logical and prioritized business objectives, and their
teams have developed detailed plans, the implementation should take place with close observation and
monitoring, again with frequent communications and multi-unit team meetings so everyone is included
and in agreement with the next target objective. Along with passing along the new business objectives,
a clear budget outline should also be emphasized, with more resources being allocated to departments
where there is true need as stated above. A timeline should be put in place, but it should be agile and
ready to adapt to changes same as the objectives. Jenny Henderson, the IT account manager, who
seems to sit in on the meetings, should find a more efficient way to relate information to her team since
there seems to be a disconnect. Henderson is close to having T-level communication skills to resolve this
issue. Henderson, along with other team leaders, should undergo leadership training, put in place by HR,
to improve all communication processes at the T-level. Team managers offering paid incentives and
honoring individuals/teams when value can be seen stemming from communication can greatly increase
efforts. Team leaders may need to be replaced in they are unwilling to put in any effort or if the training
is not proving to be beneficial for the individual. If the organization as a whole is still not performing
well, then HR should adapt the plan until improvements are being made.
Lastly, in a team setting and meeting, Farzad Mohamed needs to articulate to the CEO the
importance of infrastructure if the company would like to really see their business objectives take place.
Mohammed should try and eliminate unnecessary technical jargon and directly emphasize the benefits
of improving their infrastructure. He can stress that infrastructure is needed to build on new ideas and
respond to change and the funding of such a large project would be directly beneficial to the company.
The CIO may also want to bring the importance of the infrastructure up to Vogel while also emphasizing
that he understands the importance of Vogel’s needs. He can relate how updating infrastructure can
improve the retail store sector and promise to make time for a visit to the retail store once they have
addressed the most immediate issues.
Cheri Zejda
Page 3|3
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