The organization of the IT Departments at Comcast consists of many departments due to its many diverse operations and activities in the telecommunication sector of the economy. Comcast has different and many corporate and cable executives who deal or are related to IT infrastructure. There are cable executives who have direct relationship to IT related matters, and these include the Executive Vice President for National Engineering and Technology of Comcast Cable, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Comcast Cable, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Communications and Data Services of Comcast Cable, and Senior Vice President Product Development and General Manager Media Services of Comcast Cable. These cable executives report directly to corporate executives including Chief Executive Officer, NBCUniversal and Executive Vice President, President of Comcast/NBC Universal, Washington, D.C., Comcast Corporation Comcast Corporation, Senior Vice President, Comcast Corporation President, Comcast Interactive Media.
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Centralized IT Management
Comcast has many functional groups which are related in different ways in the flow of information. The specific tasks or processes performed by individuals in either low or high-level executive positions give credence to the importance of centralized management of information to the company. Comcast’s IT employees are grouped to perform specific processes in business functional areas of the supply chain and marketing within many geographic locations. Comcast also organizes information technology employees by skill set and assign them to project teams. Organizing centralized IT management in such situations at Comcast makes it more cost-effective, allow the creation of consistent technology standards across enterprises, and there are savings in processes and finances for same processes which are repeated for separate business units in providing identical solutions to similar problems (Berkman, 2001).
Comcast Associates master one process within an enterprise system which brings more efficiency and leads to cost saving as compared to assigning many different tasks to workers within a unit. Secondly, there is improvement in the time projects are completed with better financial performance. This is due to using the expert skills for specific processes and functions in promoting more efficiency than allowing individual(s) in a unit to do everything. There is also a better detailed job description for employees to excel leading to retention of dedicated and efficient staff. There are reduced redundancies using help desk as an example with improved communication between facilities and geographic locations using centralized management systems specialized in specific functional areas.
There is also more participation of low-level personnel in decision making with the centralized IT management which gives such personnel the authority to make appropriate decisions. This has increased the confidence and morale of employees to higher productivity, because minor issues are handled appropriately. The high-level personnel or executives therefore have more time and resources to focus on very important strategic IT plans of company.
Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Comcast
As an executive of Comcast cable, Andrew Baer is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the company. His main role is to strategize on how to develop and align the company’s internal Information Technology (IT) in meeting the business needs of the company. The company’s objectives to achieve these goals include his oversight on the company’s major areas of operation in providing excellent customer care, efficient billing and ordering systems, secure data centers for storage and analysis for business needs towards growth in market share, and provision of reliable desktop applications for internal telephony and other corporate systems that promote the companies business interest.
Andrew Baer brought with him from AOL vast experience as Vice President of Business Platform Services where he led many transition initiatives in managing information technology in subscriber-based ISP to more advanced services by using advertising-driven web portals for his former company. With his 20-year working knowledge in the IT sector, he is a great asset to Comcast with his former experience also as the Chief Information Officer for Verestar and Customer Care Systems’ Vice President for Verizon (http://www.comcast.com/Corporate/About/PressRoom/CorporateOverview/CableExecutives/AndrewBaer.html)
As a cable executive, Mr. Baer reports and works directly with corporate executives in charge of data, communication, multimedia and other higher-level executives whose functions are related to information technology.
Comcast and Outsourcing
Some portions of IT which are already outsourced by Comcast are in areas of using Ethernet private line to meet the needs of network infrastructure for some companies which demand higher bandwidth-intensive applications including storage area network (SAN) connections, mainframe mirroring, or disaster recovery applications. Companies which have benefited include vendors from small businesses and other minority-owned businesses that are provided special incentives to be more competitive and to survive without the impact of the forces of the free market system (http://business.comcast.com/ethernet/private-line.aspx)
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In addition and with WiFi, Comcast users can watch video-on-demand (VOD) on an iPad by using Xfinity as an outsourced application, and it is the company’s strategy to offer live TV streaming in the very near future using the same application (Nguyen, 2011). Also, as a major contribution to the security of the nation, Comcast in conjunction with Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is using grid technology to analyze recorded calls from some call centers with suspicious activities around the world. Referred to as CallMiner’s Virtual Server Room (VSR), these are outsourcing technology. The outsourced institution is able to analyze record call from centers by the use of distributed processing platforms which have the capability of converting recorded calls into searchable data (Shread, 2006).
Alliances and Partnerships
Comcast has many alliances with small, medium and bigger companies which are strategically part of the economic growth of the company. One of such companies is General Electric (GE) which had been a mutual beneficiary. With a focus on creating value in areas complimentary to distribution business environment, both companies have many opportunities to invest in high-technology infrastructure businesses at attractive returns by giving consumers and advertisers more choice of cable and digital assets http://www.comcast.com/About/PressRelease/PressReleaseDetail.ashx?PRID=938)
The partnership between Comcast and Vozzcom is a typical incremental outsourcing where Vozzcom with a strong traveling team uses Comcast’s systems quickly and efficiently to their client list and vice versa. Thus Vozzcom benefits by expanding their personnel ranks to meet upcoming demand with Comcast taking advantage of the client list to promote their business interest (http://www.comcast.com/corporate/about/diversity/suppliers/featured_vozzcom.html)
Comcast has a partnership with Blockbuster, a major video retailer. With that partnership, Blockbuster’s online video streaming websites and movie rentals services are using lot of bandwidth from Comcast with no additional revenue stream for Comcast. On the hind sight, Comcast can decide to own a major stake in Blockbuster which can distribute movies through on-line channel, cable on demand and by Mail. Since Blockbuster is one of the leading global providers of media entertainment having many outlets including stores, by-mail, and vending or kiosks, Comcast stand to benefit. (Sandhu, 2010).
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