I believe technology can be exploited to greater levels than we have allowed. We are constrained by 20th century business models and ideas. Collectively, we need to move past technology for the sake of technology and truly focus on moving markets beyond the status quo!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Think Before You Leap…
At Microsoft Tech Ed, I had an informative conversation with Jason Beaudreau, Director of IT for Altair Global Relocation. When I first met Jason, I had no idea who or what Altair Global Relocation was. I figured they moved people around, but really did not think a relocation company would be a poster enterprise for technology. Think again!

Jason told me Altair was a global company and gave me an impressive list of corporate clients, all household names. He then told me that Altair employed a mere 200 people with a scant 20 in the roles of IT. And, the next thing Jason said was Altair wins business because they can differentiate themselves from the competition through technology. The technology helped them be more efficient and accommodating to their customers. Jason really stressed the people aspect of the business describing how understanding the customer’s needs was the major focus of the business.

My next logical question was around outsourcing. No, Jason informed me all of their technology, which is the lynchpin of their organization, was crafted inside Altair in their Dallas, TX office. Wow!!

As Jason explained their application life cycle, I realized that Altair was the embodiment of something I have been an advocate since the last century. Altair’s internal technology team operated and behaved like a commercial software company. They understood the benefits of and the necessity of requirements. They understood the user / customer and worked with them throughout the life cycle to make sure the aforementioned requirements were being met. And, they tailored popular development processes to meet their own unique needs. Think about the magnitude of what they are doing. Altair has a minimal, tightly integrated staff, knows their customer, and focuses on requirements along with usability. Brilliant! Altair works like a commercial software company. The difference is Altair is able to deliver relocation services because of the custom software they identify and create internally.

Altair has clearly made a good decision. They know their business but realize it is imperative to have compelling technology to meet the demands of their customers. Altair can be proud of their choices and the way they behave.

What’s next?...the idea of service providers
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