Centre promises fast track to innovation

Imagine an IT seminar filled with business professionals building – with varying degrees of success – paper airplanes. Some planes soar while others barely get off the ground. The team-building exercise kicked off Capgemini’s official launch, last week, of its Accelerated Solutions Environment (ASE) Centre in downtown Toronto.

The exercise exemplified the Centre’s core raison d’etre: to help enterprises collaborate and share ideas on how to streamline the supply chain and keep IT and business processes from being grounded.

The IT services and business consultancy firm has opened similar ASE locations in New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Specifically, ASE is both a facility and a methodology that uses rapid collaboration to cut down the time it takes to solve complex IT and business issues, said Mads Jensen, ASE Toronto lead.

The Toronto location will focus on helping Canadian companies assess their supply chain needs, Jensen said, and then quickly design and develop a specific solution to meet those requirements. He said the program speeds up the decision-making process by offering enterprises a collaborative environment in which they can generate ideas and develop an action plan.

According to Subi Bhandari, vice-president and CIO for Inco Ltd., the Sudbury, Ont.-based nickel company recently used ASE as part of an IT transformation project. “We realized we had to create an IT organization [with] a common focus…to add value to the business and provide IT services cost-effectively.” Inco is a global organization with disparate IT departments. To improve overall effeciencies the firm sought to centralize its IT processes, Bhandari said.

Specifically, the process involves an intensive series of three- to four-day “team-building” sessions involving key members of an organization — from both the IT and business units — along with an ASE facilitation team to quickly agree on a common vision and transformation roadmap, Jensen said.

“(Participants) look at options and then test those…and when people start building and testing models at a certain point in time they get to a model that’s good enough and then that’s when they can start detailing an action plan to implement,” Jensen said.

Bhandari added that Inco wanted to create a “virtual” IT organization that had a common objective but this wasn’t something the firm could do on its own. A two-day ASE session helped Inco create a new business culture, one with a new organizational structure, newly defined strategies and a clear emphasis on cost reduction, Bhandari said.

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