Genesys Chief Information Officer Jeff Haslem faced a unique opportunity when he joined the organization in July 2012. Not only had there not been a CIO in place for many years, there was no internal IT team. Over 18 months, Haslem moved the customer experience technology leader from legacy on-premise solutions to infrastructure now completely in the cloud. He also built his team, all while delivering the services and applications needed to support a global organization of 3500 employees in 65 offices worldwide. Read this new “IT Visionaries” to learn how he did it.
1. Tell us about what Genesys does as a company and how your role plays into that.
We are focused on customer experience and contact center solutions for our customers. Consumers now have many choices about what they buy and services they receive. When they need to engage with a provider for assistance, it's important for that experience to be seamless, consistent and personal. Our customer experience platform is designed to ensure those interactions are optimized and lead to customers for life. In the same way, everyone at Genesys is very focused on our customers. We consider their success critical to our success. My role is to ensure tools and info exists in our enterprise application environment that guarantee a positive interaction when customers reach out to us.
2. What was the landscape like when you became CIO?
Genesys was in a transition being spun out of Alcatel ownership. The IT infrastructure had not been touched for seven to eight years and the IT function had been outsourced to a managed service provider. I had a short period of time to make some pretty dramatic changes to how we deliver services and the applications we would deploy to support the company. A decision was made to move totally to the cloud. Today, we run 31 different cloud applications. Salesforce is a big component, both on the sales and support side of the house. 2012 and 2013 were a exciting years, because we had so many different systems moving at once.
3. How did you go about building your team?
Early critical hires were for leadership with our enterprise applications. The team needed to understand our business processes, all the new offerings in the marketplace, and have an ability to attract and hire great business analysts. My team is 40 percent smaller than what I’ve managed previously, because we can do more with the cloud. All the infrastructure in a traditional on-premise based company is gone. I don't have a data center I think about or go visit. It allows me to free up a lot of resources and really focus in on the areas that deliver the greatest value for the company.
4. Any secrets to building a relationship with the business from scratch?
For any CIO, or head of IT, it's paramount that you have a great relationship with the business leaders you support. I think success and ability to drive change and deliver value is based on that. A big component of my role and everyone on my team is to work closely with our business partners, to listen to them, to understand challenges, to work out plans that deliver success. It's about bringing exciting and new ideas to them that might help improve their business. If you can build those relationships and the associate trust, you can be very successful. It's not about technology guys sitting down with the executive team, always talking about technology.
5. You’ve taken a particular interest in supporting the sales teams. Why is this?
While people on my team may not be out selling, we do support selling activities and need to make sure we're doing everything we can to make those processes work efficiently. I spend time out with the sales team, meeting with prospects and customers, explaining the value that our cloud solutions can bring to them based on learnings from our internal deployments. I think that's a pretty important thing to do for anyone running IT. You get to see what happens on a sales call, you get to understand sales dynamics, and the requests and needs that arise. It also helps salespeople connect with IT, which isn’t always easy to do.
6. How do you go about supporting Genesys’ global employees, most who are remote?
I needed to provide a help desk that runs 365 days, 24/7. We outsourced and implemented that capability, so no matter where employees are in the world, they’re an email or a phone call away from service. As we looked at our distribution of offices, I focused on making sure we had physical resources in critical locations so they feel part of the larger organization. I also travel around the world and meet with our employee base. Mobile is very important as well. We're in the process of deploying single sign on, so all of the applications employees need are available all the time on mobile. When it comes to leveraging the Salesforce1 Mobile App, anything we can provide to the employees that simplifies the day for them is always a benefit.
7. What is your strategy around custom app development?
One of the things we are looking at right now is how we leverage the Salesforce1 Platform to develop functionality that can help us replace some of the SaaS solutions we have in place that aren’t driving the efficiency we expected. We're currently generating an application interface, using Force.com, that will simplify and make it much easier for the sales force to access their information and complete their work. It’s an opportunity to leverage the investment we’ve made in Salesforce and deliver greater value, which is a great story for the head of sales, the CFO, and others. This development cycle is very quick, so if we have good success, we’ll look for other opportunities to customize. Sitting down with the business leaders who will benefit from this, they're very excited. Anytime you can drive efficiency and improvement, and maybe reduce cost, that's a win win.
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