Managing Change

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print

As it transitions to a digital business, Iron Mountain is reinventing technology and creating a culture of change.

Managing Change

Iron Mountain has focused heavily on IT portfolio management. In 2007, it brought together 70 of the company’s IT leaders from around the world in order to identify specific measurements, tools, systems and processes needed to manage change effectively. Management took a close look at project management, project portfolio management and overall communications issues with the goal of embedding change management into the basic organizational model, according to Brown.

For example, Iron Mountain wanted to identify specific governance processes related to how it prioritizes initiatives. As a result, it created an office designed to deal specifically with IT-related resource and demand management issues.

Today, an internal team monitors existing projects and resource levels, anticipates the demand for projects funneling into the IT department, matches needs with resources and builds road maps. It also monitors the portfolio of projects and provides input whenever priorities or circumstances change.

The team uses quarterly checkpoints to track objectives and actual results. “It’s an intense program management initiative,” Brown says.

The process involves tracking the number of existing projects, how they are progressing, how they’re performing, and what human, financial and technical resources they demand. Using various metrics and a scorecard, IT is able to map each initiative to its overall relevance to the company.

“The ability to align projects with specific enterprise strategic goals is a way for us to measure whether we have staff working on the right projects and that we’re able to generate the desired return on investment,” Brown says.

Iron Mountain has four change agent teams in place. (It started with seven, but three teams have achieved their goals, and the company has disbanded them.) The current lineup includes: communication, measurement, people and partner management.

In order to boost the odds for success, Iron Mountain offers management training for the IT executives on the teams. Meanwhile, a communications office keeps Brown in the loop about how IT can inform employees about new systems, software and business processes as they become available.

Iron Mountain has also turned to blogs and wikis to streamline the communications process. In addition, it has introduced instant messaging, collaboration tools and proprietary software to manage projects, data and systems. These include SharePoint 2.0 for collaboration, a new intranet, and Web and video conferencing via WebEx and Polycom systems. Brown says that a converged network is in the future.

However, though these technology components help workers connect and interact, the emphasis remains squarely on people.

Keeping employees informed has become a key mission. Iron Mountain has rotating quarterly meetings for three different employee groups. One month, the company’s 350 IT employees attend a meeting to stay informed about changes; the next, IT “people leaders” attend a meeting; and the third month serves as a checkpoint for the IT reinvention teams.

Sets of cascading goals and metrics run through the various levels of the enterprise. Over time, Brown says, employees begin to understand how small changes in their work affect overall organizational goals and objectives.

This article was originally published on 2009-03-20
Samuel Greengard is a freelance writer for Baseline.
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