TreasureChest is a software as a service (SaaS) treasury management company that provides treasury functionality via the web to businesses around the world. TresureChest.com is headquartered in London, United Kingdom. Its operational offices are in Paris, France; New York, New York; San Diego, California; Tokyo, Japan; Beijing, China; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The company is comprised of 600 employees and seven consultants in various areas of the business, although 80% of the employees and consultants are in information technology (IT). Although now headquartered in London, the company was managed out of Paris for 12 years. The company is 15 years old and considered to be an old start-up, or what is sometimes called a maturing scale-up.
The company is led by CEO Jean Pierre Rochard. He reports to a board of directors comprised of three French directors, four American directors, one German director, and one British director. Rochard has an executive management staff of eight direct reports that include executive vice president (EVP) of Sales, senior vice president (SVP) of Marketing, SVP of Client Services, chief financial officer (CFO), chief information officer (CIO), chief operations officer (COO), SVP of Channel Sales, and SVP of Distribution. The Legal and HR Departments report to the CFO. Until recently, the IT Department reported directly to the CEO. Three months ago, Rochard hired you as the new CIO of IT. Your main responsibility is to implement innovative changes and become the direct report for IT instead of the CEO.
TreasureChest has over 3,000 customers ranging from small to large businesses (business size determined by the definitions provided by the Small Business Administration). Small businesses account for 70% of the customer base, medium businesses are 25%, and large businesses are 5% of TreasureChest’s base. In the last year, TreasureChest has increased its marketing and sales direction to target larger businesses and gain more customers. As a SaaS service, TreasureChest bills customers monthly for each subscription, based on the number of users in that subscription. Each subscription takes about the same amount of time to set up. However, the larger the business, the more registrations (users) inside the account, which provides more revenue per account.
TreasureChest also offers ProServices, professional services at a cost for account configuration and data migration. This is a major revenue stream for TreasureChest as most customers utilize some form of the company’s ProServices for configuration and implementation or reconfiguration. Product sales account for about 62% of the total gross revenue (GR) per fiscal year, whereas ProServices accounts for 38% of the GR per fiscal year.
Current IT Organizational Resources:
Management team: CIO (with 1 executive administrator)
Vice president of Operations & Systems, (24 full-time employees (FTEs), 2 contractors)
Senior manager of Operations
Director of Systems Engineering & Networks
Vice president of Software Engineering, (82 FTEs, 4 contractors)
Lead developer, Minsk
Lead developer, Paris
Vice president of Product & Project Management, (23 FTEs)
- Product manager: Cash
- Product manager: Risk Management
- Product manager: Hub Communication
- Product manager: Supply Chain
- Product manager: Fraud Management
- Product manager: Business Intelligence & Analytics
TreasureChest operates a treasury management software service via a customer-facing website. The company develops and hosts its applications in four co-locations: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Phoenix, Arizona; Paris, France; and Singapore, Taiwan. Each co-location site is owned by Equinix Systems, but TreasureChest owns the processing hardware, business software, and the product applications running on them. It also has various wiring closets in each of its major offices—Paris, London, San Diego, and New York—with the Paris office running the enterprise resource planning (ERP), email, and messaging systems.
With the increased demands for higher functionality and reliability, TreasureChest is at a crossroads as to whether they should continue with their hybrid SaaS operations solution (co-location data center and web service); go completely with a web service that embeds their software; or take over the operation in their premises, including networking, security, data management, and infrastructure (i.e., their own data center). The IT operations team is composed of 14 system analysts and system administrators, two data base administrators (DBAs), and two network engineers. This team uses OnsOne Ltd., a banking network provider located in Paris. OnsOne Ltd. monitors TreasureChest’s computing systems and networks from 1800h to 0700h Monday through Friday and 1800h Friday to 0700h Monday because the French Labour Law prohibits the operations team from working on weekends, each of the 18 French National Holidays, or after business hours on weekdays (considered to be 1800h or 6:00 p.m. CET). Together with OnsOne, TreasureChest monitors and manages its SaaS systems 24/7 and attempts to achieve 99.995% uptime availability for customers as TreasureChest’s contracts with its customers promise 99.95% availability.
The company’s treasury software application was first developed in 2007 and has been continually enhanced up to the present version. The condition of the application is an issue as the architecture has become monolithic. TreasureChest recognizes that the application needs rebuilding or re-architecture.
A growing customer base and an increase in large-business customers has led to an escalation of demands for the SaaS service and a need for increased reliability of the functionality in the service. TreasureChest writes its own applications software in Java and its communication protocols in Python. The company has two development centers: one in Paris, France, and one in Minsk, Belarus. However, the Paris center is agile driven while the Minsk one is Waterfall oriented. The software engineering team is comprised of all the developers and testers in Minsk and Paris. There are a total of 82 people at each center: 45 in Minsk and 37 in Paris. Each product engineering team is led by a technical team leader. Each team is comprised of several software engineers, quality assurance (QA) testers, test automation programmers, and Scrum masters. Scrum is the current Agile methodology. The cost of software development production in Minsk is approximately 76% lower than that of Paris, with a majority of the cost in Minsk being salaried labor. TreasureChest hires few contractors and has a policy that a contractor that is in place for more than one year must be converted to a full-time equivalent, or the role is converted to FTE.
The Sales and Marketing Departments have taken it upon themselves to select Salesforce (salesforce.com) for sales automation and as a customer resource management (CRM) provider. Both departments have separate instances of Salesforce.com, with a series of custom HTML5 and Force.com applications already written for their instances. At this time, there is no connection between Salesforce.com and the company’s business services and ERP system. The ERP system is InTrack, which runs on a server in the Paris office building.
There is also no formal CRM ticketing system in place. Customer service is outsourced to ServiceNow, a cloud-based customer service provider. ServiceNow sends the CIO a daily incident report for the last 24 hours; the rest of TreasureChest does not see customer service tickets. There was a challenge from the previous head of IT to understand and get along with the various internal executives and external business partners. This may have been the cause of his separation from the company.
TreasureChest Strategic Goals:
Strategic Goal #1: Create a targeted revenue growth plan.
Create additional net revenue of £70 million (M) in the first year, £100M in the second year, and £140M in the third year.
The business is breaking even with a slight annual profit but must reach a higher sustained revenue number to keep from going through another venture capital round of funding.
Strategic Goal #2: Enhance product for larger customers.
- IT and Product Development will scale to meet a 30% increase in demand by larger customers and maintain or improve the current customer service levels.
The business recognizes that larger customers are more profitable. But to service them, the product must be able to handle transaction loads 30% higher than the current load. The Sales Department is getting ready to concentrate on larger subscribers (larger companies with more users per account).
Strategic Goal #3: Update the technology operational workflow.
- Maintain a 24/7 follow-the-sun (FTS) monitoring capability with current staff.
- Build out a network operation center to showcase to customers.
- Disengage from OnsOne Ltd. and establish an internal monitoring capability within TreasureChest.
The IT Department must revisit the operational workflow for a faster, more efficient operation. This involves how the technical operation is run and how changes to hardware, software, operating systems, networks, and databases are made.
Strategic Goal #4: Restructure and update the organization of the IT Department.
- Create a current and future headcount.
- Produce efficiency improvements through a new organizational map.
- Improve intracompany relationships through organizational interchanges.
- Develop a team skill-set improvement plan that addresses current and future demands of the business.
The IT Department has not restructured its organization in several years, yet with the changes in the operational workflow, a new, more efficient organization must be constructed to represent a fast-paced, relevant department that can meet the needs of the customer base and achieve business goals.
Strategic Goal #5: Improve and upgrade the business system software
- Reconstruct or replace the enterprise resource program.
- Upgrade or replace a sales automation and customer resource management system to meet the needs of the business.
- Update other business systems (e.g., email, messaging) to achieve efficiency, consistency, maintenance, scalability, and ease of use.
The enterprise resource program system is old and will not scale for the growth the company needs. Together with the Sales and Marketing Departments, reconstruct or replace this system.
Issues Facing You as the CIO:
- There have been some shadow IT activities that must be consolidated, such as the Salesforce implementation. The CIO must also consider why other management personnel decided to go off on their own to address these needs.
- OnsOne Ltd. is providing a monitoring service that is needed, but their service is also a competitor for TreasureChest’s current customers. The CIO needs to find a way to eliminate this possible threat.
- The current application process is a combination of Waterfall (SDLC) and Agile. The CIO needs to get the right team organization in place to establish a rapid development and deployment capability to meet the strategic goal of 16 or more releases per year.
- The ERP system is not integrated in other business systems. The CIO must find a way to upgrade and/or change various systems or the ERP to achieve interoperability.
- TreasureChest has significant market potential, but the company cannot realize that potential as the onboarding of new customers is slow and manually intensive. The CIO must improve the customer onboarding functionality.
- The CIO is faced with reviewing the company’s computing capability, scalability, and sustainability to make improvement changes for future growth.
- The IT Department has personnel issues regarding organization and operational workflow. The CIO must address these through a thorough review and reorganization plan that will improve productivity and efficiency of operational and engineering workflow and result in improved output and service.
- There appears to be no IT strategic plan. The CIO is faced with understanding TreasureChest’s business goals and developing an IT plan that will give direction to all of the needed changes for the next several years.
Some Final Thoughts for the CIO
You, as CIO, know that the business wants to reduce the FTE count and use subscription or recurring services, shifting costs from operational expenditure (OPEX) labor to OPEX expense. This reduces European social taxes and allows the company to scale without significant labor growth. The multiple instances of Salesforce.com means that a consolidation of Salesforce automation applications and operations must be made to focus resources and save money. The ERP systems must be able to integrate with other company business systems. The CIO knows that a CRM capability—a SaaS cloud service is preferred, but not required—is necessary for future growth and customer management. If the CIO does not do it, the marketing and sales people will on their own.
The CIO must also improve internal communications reporting and introduce key performance indicators based on performance goals and requirements determined by formal governance processes (such as ITIL and CoBit5). Without these, management will continue to lose confidence that the IT Department is achieving their business objectives. The IT Department must reduce or eliminate the operational reliance on, and the cost of, OnsOne services. This does not mean outsourcing is wrong, but the existing business relationships of OnsOne are dubious because they are a possible competitor and may be a risk to TreasureChest. The CIO knows that they must rebuild the company’s monolithic application into modular program applications without disturbing the current production application. The company cannot scale with a monolithic application, nor can it focus on specific improvement in certain product areas without altering the entire application program.
The IT Department must establish scalability of operations to allow quick and simple entry into a new country or region without significant infrastructure acquisition. This is the only way it can grow organically. IT must also develop an operation control center showcase (i.e., the quality of an environment that can be proudly viewed by customers and the public and positively showcase the company’s capability and expertise) in one or multiple locations in order to directly monitor and manage the company’s systems. The CIO must employ and leverage Agile development methodologies to increase the number of application releases and functional implementations to over 16 per year, including professional services customized configurations. This version must be quickly implemented, but in iterative style (small pieces at a time) rather than in a balloon (or waterfall) style. The CIO must increase operational reliability to 99.999% for all SaaS products and services. This is vital, especially in a SaaS marketplace. Lastly, the CIO must establish a business continuity plan and a disaster recovery plan based on ITIL foundation processes. This is necessary for business continuance and future strategic planning.