Turning Suggestions Into Solutions - (on the job)

Corporate Synergies Group turns its employees ideas into reality -- just ask the director of IT.

When CEO Eric Raymond asked employees at Corporate Synergies Group Inc., a 3-year-old benefits management firm in Mount Laurel, N.J., for tips on running the company better, the response was overwhelming: More than 1,100 suggestions poured in, including one to deploy Salesforce.com's customer relationship management software.

And that's just what Director of IT Gary Green wound up doing.

When Green looked into Salesforce.com's software, he decided it indeed offered more flexibility than the company's homegrown system. Rolling out the software and outsourcing its backup and business continuity systems (the company uses Recovery Networks) through a technology partner (Asigra Inc.) was a major IT project.

Not all ideas were so practical. One person proposed using a corporate instant messaging product for internal communications, but the IT department deemed it too pricey.

But Green doesn't mind getting suggestions from the front lines. "It's our CEO's what-the-heck philosophy," Green says. "He never wants to hear what we're doing right. He wants to hear what we're doing wrong. In a traditional company, if you speak up you get terminated soon after."

Another employee suggested that the company deploy Citrix Systems Inc. for remote connections. That was an easy suggestion to act on. "We were already working on deploying it," Green says.

Michael Ybarra is a contributing writer for SearchCIO-Midmarket.com. Write to him at editor@ciodecisions.com.

This was first published in April 2007
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