Monday, June 3, 2013

Weighing Options

I am blessed for the opportunity to take up a fourth major chapter in my career.  Most people don't have the fortune of being a participant in so many substantial waves of change.  

In 1982 I worked for a company called BBN that was building today's Internet.  I was fresh out of university, and soaked up the wisdom of the brilliant minds who conceived, develop, and deployed the foundation of connectivity among computing machines and their users.  We deployed the revolutionary capabilities for government uses first, and then for the first commercial email service - MCIMail.  I learned about the power of networking devices.  Wave 1.

In 1989 I joined CSC and had the opportunity to lead business development activities take up substantial general management assignments.  This was a lesson in leadership, planning, and risk management.  It was also my introduction to global business operations, financial services, and the economic model called outsourcing.

My three years in Seattle as Chairman/CEO of a small publicly-listed consulting company was my lesson through failure.  It also taught me the power of alignment among colleagues around relevancy and purpose.  During this time, the internet wave accelerated and busted ... and I was frustrated by the fact that I didn't find a way to participate more substantially in this euphoric period.  Then again, I didn't take the losses that many experienced when things blew up.  The lesson here was around economic fundamentals and markets ... if things seem too good to be true, they likely aren't true.  Wave 2.

From 2001 thru 2007 I was privileged to serve alongside a cadre of remarkable colleagues in the outsourcing advisory firm of TPI.  I took the role after we sold the Seattle company, and purely as a way to stay connected in the industry while I figured out what I really wanted to do next.  The eight-year run was invigorating for one principle reason.  We served some of the most accomplished companies in the world, providing advice and structure to their contracting strategies for business process and IT services.  

The eighteen months that I spent helping Procter & Gamble with their business process sourcing strategy was the most memorable and influential.  I learned about corporate culture, leadership traits, executive decision-making styles, "moments of truth" in marketing, and the sell-side tactics of major service providers.  The lessons here were life-changing for me.  From P&G to McDonalds to Disney to JPMorgan to UBS ... some of the biggest brands across industries.  Make-vs-Buy trade-offs in the allocation of capital, the engagement of employees, the leverage of intellectual property, and the hedging of risk.  Wave 3.

My most recent 3.5 years at CSC as leader of global sales & marketing leveraged the experiences of all three of the waves I had experienced previously, and flavored my worldview through the spices of transformation in a large-scale setting and the power of cohesiveness in terms of message/purpose/mission.  I am still internalizing the take-away lessons from CSC, but I am most influenced by the talented people and their commitment to their Clients.  There's much to be said about the value earned through transparency, candor, objectivity, and personal engagement.

That brings us to today.  What to do next?

I have a few months to refine my thoughts, but the leanings are around a central thesis:

After all of these incredible experiences, the one thing I have learned above all others is that true innovation is brought to life through the combination of information technology and commercial services constructs. Why? It is clear to me that the expectations of consumers and businesses are converged. Both are looking to leverage technology as holistic services, rather than as discrete parts. Innovators who are developing the next-generation of technologies recognize this reality and are seizing the opportunity to create services-based offerings that will scale. I have studied and practiced in this realm for my entire career, and the market circumstances are ideal for creating tremendous new service offerings in an “As a Service” fashion.

My expertise is earned in multiple disciplines through leadership positions for outsourcing/offshoring management consulting, IT services sales and marketing, and service delivery management:
  • Architect of technology-enabled managed services ... creating service-based relationships
  • Emphasis on distributed/networked business models through global operations
  • Strong marketing and sales orientation, including extensive public speaking and digital marketing techniques
  • Track record of building high-performance teams through strong engagement and personal commitment
  • Passion for innovation in scale-based practical application of technology solutions and commercial models
  • Reputation for partnerships/alliances for maximum leverage in solutions
  • Expertise in commercial contracting terms for complex and risk-oriented propositions
  • Excited to take ambitions from conceptual to operational
My next position will allow me to leverage and apply this unique combination of practical experience and market awareness to drive growth, scale, and shareholder value through high-energy and passionate leadership for capitalizing on the “As a Service” economy.  Wave 4 ... ahead.