Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Progress Report

Back in February 2012 The Cassandra Team put together an open letter to Mike Lawrie giving him our best wishes with a few pointers that he might like to consider for rebuilding CSC.

Was the advice any good?

Was any of the advice taken on board?

How do our readers think he is doing? 

The letter begins ..............

Dear Mike,

Congratulations on being elected President and CEO of CSC and our best wishes for every success.

As you get in-depth briefings and advice from Messrs Laphen, Mancuso and Chase, bear in mind that they carry more responsibility for CSC’s difficulties today than anybody else.  And if you follow their advice you will probably achieve the same result as they did, meaning abject failure. So we’d like to give you our advice based solely on our desire to see CSC succeed once more.

· Position your arrival as a major change in direction, culture and approach for CSC,  not as an evolution or some form of continuity with the past.  Harness the employees’ frustrations with the management style of the past 5 years to get their commitment and buy in to your vision of CSC. 

·  Set a clear strategic direction, communicate it then get the organization behind it.  If CSC has had a direction over the past 5 years it is a well kept secret. Boosting this quarter’s earnings or plugging the hole in this quarter’s profit is not a strategic direction.

·  Decide in which areas CSC will be world leader  and make the investments to support those decisions. CSC was recognized as a world leader in selected domains 10 years ago.  Today it is viewed as a “me too” player.  It has missed many market changes and opportunities in the past years due to its obsession with maximizing this quarter’s earnings at the expense of everything else, including investments in the future. 

·  Put the clienthis business needs and the CSC solution to these needs back at the center  of the management agenda. CSC has lost this. Internal debates, administration, cost cutting, inspection of 'numbers', organization models etc dominate the management agenda today which means the customer comes last and the employees nowhere.

· Decide your organizational and operating model and give senior executives the option of implementing it fully or leaving the company.   CSC has been going round and round this topic, especially in Europe, for years.  In theory there is one global organization per the Corporate model, but in reality there are local fiefdoms run by powerful barons. CSC must behave as one global organization, not as a franchise operation. 

·  Put small company values back into CSC, which  used to be a large company with the positive values of a small company. It was nimble, it could take decisions quickly. It could quickly deploy a top-class team of experts from all over the world to address a client opportunity. It could swiftly bring together executives of all levels, from technical expert to CEO, to address urgent client matters and take decisions while the competition was standing still. Today, CSC stands still, a small company with a heavy bureaucratic decision making process, (or often an “absence of decision” making  process) while nimbler competitors thrive. 

·  Change the “Tone at the Top” .   This phrase was used to describe the change needed in management attitudes in Nordic. But the most important and most needed change in the “tone at the top” is at the very top levels of CSC, to bring reality into line with the values the company claims to espouse. 

Why did no “whistle blower “ feel comfortable enough to warn CSC Corporate that they suspected something unusual was happening in Nordic when the irregularities started  long before they reached the $100million?  Did Messrs Laphen  or Mancuso ever ask themselves that question? Did they try to find out how other employees’ concerns, or allegations of inappropriate management behavior or actions had been handled in the past?  Did they ever try to see if there was a correlation between employees making complaints and leaving the company soon afterwards?

CSC should have one common set of behavioral standards, and the example must come from the top.  Credibility in management is destroyed when the executive decision makers grant exceptions from their own rules for themselves. 

Stop “killing the messengers” who try to raise issues or bad news.   This approach never solves the problem, it just encourages people to hide things from the management. If you can persuade employees to discuss their problems openly with you and your executive team you will have made a big step forward. Today many, many employees feel that “keeping their heads down” is their safest and best option.  

Get back to treating all employees with respect, including (or especially) those you must terminate.  

·  Introduce a CSC website that reflects your vision and ambitions for CSC.      After all, the website is the company’s window onto the world. The current website has no sparkle, no excitement and does not make the reader want to look inside it. It is the website you would expect from an administrative organization. In that respect it reflects well what CSC is today. Make it represent the CSC you want in 2017.  

We would like to repeat our best wishes for success. The value of our holding in CSC over the past 18 months reminds us that we have got literally thousands of reasons to want to see a successful and thriving CSC. 

Good luck !

The Cassandra Team

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Finally, an analyst gives a business view of CSC

While some of the spreadsheet-focused financial analysts continue to upgrade their outlook for CSC,  Adam Hartung writes a business analysis in the Forbes magazine, that shows just how wrong they are.

It is quite damning.


We have had comments from a number of current and former CSC insiders on the Forbes article. Many different slants and perspectives, but an overwhelming majority said they think Forbes has got it right.

There is nothing more we need say about it; the article speaks for itself.