Alcatel plan

Alcatel – Engineering Systems

Project recap

Client

Alcatel Network Systems

Date

1991-1993

Summary

Plan to rebuild computing environment & IT group supporting Product Engineering for Alcatel Network Systems (ANS). Supported by ANS CIO & CFO, new staff was hired, networks rebuilt, engineering workstations replaced, and a new data center with a state-of-the-art server architecture installed.

Skills

,   (← all projects)

Project details

Background

Alcatel Network Systems (ANS), located in Raleigh NC, was a division of Alcatel Alsthom, headquartered in France.

The subject of a long string of acquisitions; ANS may be best known today as Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) - a division of China Huaxin.

The buildings in Raleigh affected by this project are long gone. Nothing remains except empty fields and cement parking lots.

Problem

ANS had just come through a very difficult period. A major telephone switch project was bleeding the company at a rate of $1m+ per day and had yet to ship. The project was cancelled, over half the entire Raleigh staff laid off, and spending cut to the bone.

As a result, the Computer Services group supporting Product Engineering at ANS Raleigh was understaffed, under-capitalized for new computer equipment, and without a reasonable expense budget to maintain what infrastructure remained.

I was brought in under an non-budgeted headcount and asked to manage the group, restaff, and rebuild.

Solution

Fortunately when I arrived ANS was on the rebound. They had slowly started to receive new funding from France and had hired a new CFO and CIO. I was able to put together a plan, hire staff, rebuild the network & server environments, and win the strong support of my boss (the CIO) and his boss (the CFO).

Tools & resources

n/a

Discussion

To this day I still feel it was unfair as to how I was brough in to replace my predecessor Rodney. He survived the drastic downturn (more like a collapse) and somehow kept everything running given the few resources he had. I know he would have done fine if acknowedged as a manager and given the staff and budget I eventually acquired. But, he wasn't & I showed up.

So Rodney turned over the keys to me, then headed off Switzerland (I thought it was an awesome opportunity for him) for a new lifetime experience. To this day I am close friends with Rodney and many of the staff from that group. I have tremendous respect for those folks and count them as close friends.

After about two years (and more stories than I could ever retell), we got things stabilized. The new network was solid, the server architecture fast, and most importantly Product Engineering was much more productive.

Below are a couple pages from the plan(s) we used to get staff and funding.