Case Study: Nextel's Big Adventure
Optimization techniques helped Nextel overhaul its billing system on time and on budget.
Nextel Communications' multiyear, multimillion-dollar IT project known as the Business-System Overhaul involved reengineering 800 business processes and integrating 14 legacy databases into one. In many companies this project would have had "career ender" written all over it. In fact, not only did IT survive and thrive, but the company is now positioned to save millions of dollars thanks to the project's successful on-time and on-budget implementation.
The system overhaul, which began three years ago, will reduce IT as a percentage of overall corporate revenue despite a huge infrastructure investment and improvement over the next several years. Major process-and system-reengineering projects like Nextel's need many levels of support, and we had full buy-in from corporate management and assistance from our technology partners. Most of all, we began with great determination and a clear corporate mandate to revamp our systems to accommodate growth, and we accepted the challenge.
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Nextel had reached a critical point in its history. As a provider of fully integrated wireless-communications services targeting the most valuable customer in the wireless industrythe business customerNextel had $3 billion in revenue and approximately 4 million subscribers. But we were poised for explosive growth: We have 10.1 million subscribers, and 2001 domestic revenue was $7.01 billion. We needed to provide the company with a sound infrastructure that, among other things, our 10-year-old billing systems could never manage.