Once you have a strategy in place, then you have to set up the organization to stay focused on it and fully understand it.
“With that focused growth strategy, we aligned the organization around those three growth strategy elements by coming up with corporate objectives and by coming up with metrics that we could measure how well we were doing against that,” Abbasi says.
One key was making sure employees knew what the company was trying to do.
“Have a framework where everyone understands what are the key corporate metrics and how does everyone’s contribution influence that,” he says.
He has defined several corporate objectives such as financial, market, technology, customer services, employee satisfaction, etc. that make up the mission and strategy, and he communicates those to employees. Every quarter in an all-hands meeting, he provides metrics to show employees how the company is meeting those objectives.
“Lay out a very clear vision and make sure that everyone understands what that vision is and make sure you actually take the time to verify that,” he says.
Abbasi verifies by surveying employees to make sure that they understand what’s happening. Ninety-four percent of employees responded and said they believed in the company’s vision and mission.
“You have to get that kind of awareness for what the vision is and a belief in that mission,” he says.
But you can’t just tell them what’s going on.
“The second [objective] is to articulate a very focused growth strategy and to make sure that the corporate objectives are stated in a way that not only do people understand what the focused growth strategy is, but they understand what their role is and how to contribute to that,” he says.
For example, customer service is one objective, and the goal is to rank No. 1 in customer loyalty. They measure this both for their customers and their competitors.
“It’s important to rely on an objective party, and it is equally important to benchmark against others,” he says.
So if that’s the objective, each department also has its own objective that contributes toward that. Customer support strives to make sure it lives up to the standards that customers have for it in terms of responsiveness. Product development will work to make sure that every product it puts out is the highest quality it can be so customers are satisfied. The sales team will work to build strong relationships with customers to make sure they understand what they’re buying so there aren’t surprises later.
“Within each department, each employee knows what their role is, and they know exactly, in what way, do they influence their groups, which, in turn, would contribute to the department, which, in turn, would contribute to the company,” Abbasi says. “The framework we came up with is not just the corporate level objectives but also how does that relate to the individual department and then individuals within those departments.”
As a result, 96 percent of employees said in the survey that they understood how to contribute to the company’s success, and 92 percent said they had the skills and capabilities to deliver their goals.
“Having that kind of alignment is critically important,” he says.
By implementing these three elements into the company, Informatica has enjoyed growth and success while many others have struggled. The company has also delivered a product every quarter for 16 consecutive quarters, which has led to its compound annual growth rate of 18 percent over the last five years even during the recession. On top of the $500.7 million in fiscal 2009 revenue, operating margins have increased from 5 percent in 2004 to 25 percent last year.
“I would reiterate the importance of having a clear vision, a focused growth strategy and exceptional operational discipline,” Abbasi says.
“The clear vision, the focused growth strategy and the relentless face of innovation have worked extremely well for Informatica.”
How to reach: Informatica Corp., (800) 653-3871 or www.informatica.com