Examples of innovative corporate IT in Australia: Jetstar and CSC

I picked up a copy of the August/September edition of Australia’s CIO magazine while stuck at Melbourne airport last week. A couple of positive Web 2.0 related stories grabbed my attention (and it does make a change from the usual scare mongering or lame vendor case studies about CIOs spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on some piece of new obscure piece of hardware):

Jetstar

First, discount airline Jetstar have started to virtualise servers and desktops. This has resulted in a shift in how they regard PC and laptops, which they now treat as commodities. Apparently most users have admin right’s to their computers and can install what they want. The IT department has a policy of trouble shooting user’s computer problems for 15 minutes and if it can’t be fixed they simply reimage it back to their original standard operating environment. To counter act any security issues user maintained equipment creates they are now focusing on addressing this threat at their network level rather than the user’s desktop.

I like this quote from their CIO, Stephen Tame:

I can see a future where you join a company and they say ‘Congratulations… Where’s your laptop? And, by the way, here’s a 16 gig SD card that contains our SOE’

Clearly inside Jetstar it isn’t quite a Web 2.0 environment yet (virtualised with thin clients etc rather than Web 2.0), but the attitude of the CIO is on the right track.

If you happen to work for Jetstar, I’d love to know how this environment works for you in practice.

CSC

I’ve talked about my old friends at CSC on this blog in the past, who have been working for some time at putting enterprise social computing into practice. There is a good interview with CSC Australia CIO, Ben Patey, who talks in more detail about their global implementation of Jive’s SBS platform. Remembering the CSC is a massive IT services firm, Ben describes CSC’s initiative (called C3) as tackling all the “classic business problems”:

  • The ability to find people and things in an organisation of 90,000 staff around the world;
  • Reducing the risk of intellectual property being lost when people walk out the door;
  • To help with the ‘on boarding’ process for new staff; and
  • To attract new staff, as C3 demonstrates that CSC is an innovative company in practice.

C3 is still being treated as a pilot, but through a viral marketing approach has managed to attract over 20,000 users. Ben says:

“The general feeling is that it’s a great gap filler and is hitting a sweet spot,” he says. “One guy said he went from a sceptic to a convert and that it really makes you want to get involved, and that this is just what we have needed for a long time to truly connect. It’s much easier, and more fun. Another critical success factor is the senior executives use of the tool; in CSC Australia our local CEO, CFO and VPs are actively blogging which is a tremendous indication of the power of C3.”

Both Jetstar and CSC are companies that take the bottom line very seriously… so its really is refreshing to see stories like this coming out of the Australian corporate IT sector. New Web inspired approaches to supporting the needs of corporate users aren’t just consulting waffle, they have a real and important impact.
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