Doug Brown beams with pride when he compares his company, Fusion Alliance Inc., to the industry statistics for delivering successful information technology.
“Statistically, 70 percent of IT projects fail or never go live,” he says. “In the last two years, we have been a successful 98 percent on time and on budget.
“Ninety-eight percent is obviously off the charts in the abilities of IT solution providers,” he says.
While Brown, founder and CEO, is understandably proud that his company has been the top one in its segment since 2000 in Indianapolis, he knows it took a lot of solution-based work.
“It takes connecting the right people and having a good internal process to take business opportunities through the process of solution visioning to the technical aspects of the solution and then to the solution builder,” he says.
Smart Business spoke with Brown to find out how to deliver successful solutions.
Q. What is the role of leadership in achieving a 98 percent success rate as you did?
I believe that effective leadership has the ability to see problems or challenges before they become a serious issue. The leaders are able to identify the root cause of a problem versus the symptoms.
They also are able to proactively define what needs to happen to deal with a problem. Businesses face challenges every day. The ones that identify them early and are effective in driving the necessary change to deal with them proactively are the ones that succeed long term.
Q. What are some of the other keys to successful solutions?
It’s really the combination of people, process and the right systems and tools.
You have to get very good at life cycle management, scoping projects and having requirements designed and constructed all the way through quality assurance.
But a major key is people with the right experience. You should identify risk early, and you have to be very good at managing and mitigating risks based on experience and good process. That’s the key: really good, experienced people along with really good process and quality reviews through the life cycle of a project. Then make sure that you are identifying credible risk, and you’re mitigating that risk. You will need a pretty exhaustive checklist to go through, before you even bid on projects, to assess risk. Put that in your proposal: ‘Here are the risk areas we see with the project, even going into it.’ So create customer awareness early.
Q. What approaches should you follow to ensure that good, experienced people get the job done?
Have a clear vision for the organization and a business plan with clear and measurable objectives and goals.
Have roles and responsibilities of leadership and the employees clearly defined.
Company leadership should have a servant-leadership management style.
Executives should demonstrate that employees are truly empowered to execute the plan. The role of executives should be to mentor and guide employees in the empowerment model.
Living your core values every day and creating a culture of integrity, ambition and a desire to serve your customers is foundational to long-term success. Challenge your employees to always be asking how they can create value for your customers, the organization, their peers and their career.
Finally, employ good people. Good people follow good people. The brightest talent enjoys working with other talented professionals on interesting projects. They like to deliver solutions that have an impact on customers and preferably society as a whole.
Q. You said businesses face challenges every day. How does this impact the ability to drive a company?
I think it is critical to the best of the organization to carry around the vision and then driving that through a business frame that’s very metric-driven ― people know what we’re measuring and what we are trying to achieve. That is a key to driving an organization.
Another point is to live your core values every day ― a culture of integrity, ambition and desire to serve your customers. A lot of companies say that but the staff must see it when you live it versus when you don’t, so I think when they see that consistently, that you’re living those things every day, that’s what really gets them to buy in to the culture.
How to reach: Fusion Alliance, (317) 955-1300 or www.fusionalliance.com