Mar 16 2015

Make IT Work: Achieving Clarity With Collaboration

Viacom Executive Vice President of Connected Content Kristen Frank sits down for an exclusive Q&A on IT management

BIZTECH: When planning a technology project and building a business case, when and how should different teams be pulled into the process, and what are the factors to consider?

Kristin Frank

KRISTIN FRANK: One leader needs to have the vision and clarity of outcome. They then need to align with the lead decision-maker in the technology organization to articulate the purpose and convey the strategy through the ranks. Next, there needs to be a dual partnership in which both teams collaborate and course-correct the plan and business case.

BIZTECH: What role should each of the different groups — IT, senior management, line of business leaders, project managers, users — play in the business case, from conception through to purchase?

Kristin Frank

FRANK: Once you formulate the business case, the next step is to pull all key departments to set the course from conception to implementation. In my experience, the best results come when clear goals are set and each department feels aligned. This eliminates friction and facilitates cooperation.


BIZTECH: What works well and what doesn’t when different teams within a company work together on a business case?

Kristin Frank

FRANK: Collaboration works as long as there is clarity of vision and leadership. Lack of clear leadership will lead to poor business planning and implementation.


BIZTECH: How do the lines of business continue to be involved after the business case and strategy are developed?

Kristin Frank

FRANK: Once the business strategy is developed, it’s important that key stakeholders continue to contribute, and all others are still kept in the loop to ensure context, ownership and future collaboration as needed.


BIZTECH: As the buy and deployment takes place, how should the group morph to ensure a smooth transition to rollout, and then training and support?

Kristin Frank

FRANK: Both the business and technology leaders must remain aligned and over-communicate with the teams to ensure the project is set up for success.


BIZTECH: What’s the best lesson learned, tip, critical consideration or best practice you would share from being involved in major IT projects when it comes to smart business case practices and working with teams within a company?

Kristin Frank

FRANK: A successful project needs one clear visionary who can set the course, solidify disparate teams, advocate for and secure resources, remove obstacles, drive efforts forward and evangelize results. This person must have the ability to strongly and clearly communicate to various departments so that everyone understands what they are rallying behind. Success occurs when each team feels it has ownership in the project’s success and is recognized for their contribution.

Under Frank’s helm, MTV is the No. 1 social TV brand with 270 million fans and the No. 1 network on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. She was selected to Variety’s “Power of Women: NY Impact List” in 2014.

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