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Comcast Claims $100M Savings In Being 'Agile'

Sarah Thomas

NICE, France -- TM Forum Live! -- Comcast is on its way to realizing $100 million in savings from implementing a company-wide "agile and lean" software development, an executive revealed here on Monday.

Tom Wise, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s director of Quality Management System (QMS), said the cable company had been exploring strategies to become more agile and lean (in the generic sense) for a while now with the help of Cognizant Technology Solutions US Corp. (Nasdaq: CTSH). It started a program with the IT vendor two and a half years ago, focusing first on Agile software development methods and adding on a Lean focus early last year as a way to stay ahead of changing technology trends, accelerated product rollout schedules, and industry consolidation.

Wise says it hasn't been an easy process and requires daily negotiation with employees. While Comcast had been experimenting with agile and lean in different forms for years, projects often failed because, according to Reuben Daniel, Cognizant's principal consultant of business process transformation, software development agility didn't equate to business agility and there was no clear-cut goal. And, Daniel said, the emphasis was on individuals, not teams.

"Agile isn't just about changing technology tools; it's a holistic approach," said Daniel. "This is our foundation. If you want to make a team agile, don't just look at the team, but holistically look at the team, management, and architecture to support it."

A shift to this style of software development is bringing the cable company closer to $100 million in total benefit realized, Wise said. Comcast broke down its projects into their end goals: 120 were focused on cost avoidance (just not spending any more money), 20 on actually reducing costs, 20 on customer experience improvements, and 10 on revenue maximization.

"What we we're looking for from a bottom line perspective is to make a difference in how we actually get work done," Wise explained. "Affecting our bottom line is the ROI, and transformation is the activity in itself -- activity of transforming ourselves and our processes to have an effect on the people doing work and how they get it done."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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