CSC looks to collaboration to help business transformation

CSC's Collaborate, Communication and Connect (C3) social business platform is helping the IT services business modernise, refocus on the customer, and bring staff together.

CSC has a new-ish CEO, Mike Lawrie, with a mandate to transform the IT service company into a cloud, big data and cyber security specialist. He may have a magic wand to help him pull off that trick: CSC's C3 collaboration platform.

Speaking to ZDNet, CSC Australia's former CIO and now ANZ business relationship manager of CSC's business technology group, Benjamin Patey, said that now in its fifth year, the company's C3 social business platform is being used by management to help drive the transformation agenda.

"Mike Lawrie came on-board as CEO and President at the beginning of last year and an area he has paid particular attention to is communicating and connecting with employees globally," he said.

"[Lawrie] has used the social business platform to really engage with staff and to regularly communicate on the transformation of CSC which kicked off two years ago, taking us from an IT services company focused on IT outsourcing to focus on next-gen IT — including cloud services, big data and cyber security.

According to Patey, the company's recent acquisitions of Infochimps (Big Data) and ServiceMesh (Cloud) were examples of this strategy playing out under Lawrie's leadership.

Commenting further on the use of C3, Patey said the social business platfom was now being used extensively by heads of department to communicate organisational change, particularly through the use of video, and through regular virtual 'town hall' style meetings.

In addition to being heavily loaded with content and information from management, the platform is also being used to drive the business relationship transformation through bringing customers and partners into the business.

"We also have an extension of the C3 environment which will allow us to collaborate with customers and partners," Patey said. "It can be used as a document exchange platform at its very base, but it also has the ability to have discussion threads and post videos. It is richer than just a typical customer-supplier environment."

In line with the global reorganisation, Patey said CSC's CIO Office had also changed name to the Business Technology Group. In addition, Patey himself had shifted from his role as Australian CIO to a joint "client relationship executive" and ANZ business relationship manager role, aimed at refocussing the company's IT department back on onto its real customers: CSC's staff.

"Internally, we are much more focused on business relationships — the connection between the business and IT," Patey explained.

"Our core competencies have shifted from the technical, engineering and operational areas to those skillsets that highlight our ability to understand and clearly identify the business needs and requirements."

"We are not about building solutions first and then looking for a business problem to solve."

While the shift was positive, Patey said, it was also indicative of the wider need for CIOs to educate both their organisations and customers on the value of technology leaders.

"Sometimes it seems IT professionals tend to think they need to continually justify their relevance alongside their Finance and HR colleagues," he said.

"There should be no reason why the CIO and management question their place in the business any more than the heads of Finance or HR. The reality is that IT has enormous potential to deliver strategic, transformative, disruptive and competitive advantages to all business sectors.

"We are as relevant or even more relevant because of the role IT plays in a business's DNA. It is not a separate part — it permeates the business so implicitly. Are we relevant? More so than ever, but our success comes back to truly understanding the business.

"As an industry we need to stop being the excuse for business failures and start to be the reason for business success"