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Everyone in IT at Intuit is a business problem-solver

Martha Heller | June 19, 2017
How Atticus Tysen, CIO of Intuit, is bringing IT into the heart of the business.

solution on blackboard
Credit: Gerd Altmann (CC0 Public Domain)

Any CIO who has worked in an environment where there are two conversations-the business conversation and then the IT conversation-knows their company is missing out on realising the true potential of IT. At Intuit, CIO Atticus Tysen uses shared metrics, alignment triangles, and consistent messaging to ensure that IT is the business at the $4.7 billion software company.

How have you turned IT from a culture of order takers to order shapers?
When I first joined IT, I wanted the organisation to be order shapers, so I directed my team to have a point of view on the business and to get in there with our business owners and express that point of view. That approach did not work initially.

So, I realised that the goal was not to turn order takers in to order shapers but to create a team of collaborative business problem solvers-to build a team of IT leaders who would take one primary question to their partners: what is the business outcome we are driving toward?

How are you ensuring that your IT organisation is focused on business objectives?
Intuit makes good use of alignment triangles. Brad Smith, our CEO, has an alignment triangle for the entire company, and each major group has its own that aligns to the company mission. The two rows at the top, "Values" and "True North Goals" are the same for everyone in the organisation. The rest are unique to my team.

Specifically for IT, we have four pillars: world class IT, business outcomes first, delightful leading-edge solutions, and proactive technology stewards. Each pillar is underpinned by several very clear priorities.

For example, "business outcomes first" is supported by "flawless day one and ongoing support for the entire workforce." When you are a new employee at Intuit, we will have you up and running within an hour. You'll have a laptop, mobile device, and anything else you need to do your job. If you are a developer, you can start coding right way; if you are in procurement, you can start procuring. We measure our performance on that priority.

We look at the number of help desk tickets logged by an employee in his or her first week, and IT follows new employees around and observes any problems they encounter. Based on what we learned from those metrics and observations, we proactively made the decision to schedule an appointment at our TechKnow Bar, inspired by Apple's Genius Bar, with every new employee. The TechKnow Bars have a list of questions employees ask the most; this way, we can begin helping new employees before they even ask us anything.


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