Ricardo Bentín Mujica, Backus and Johnston's Brewery founder, was persuaded that "companies that don't change, don't grow, and companies that don't grow, die." The Backus Corporation and all of its subsidiaries, including QUIPUDATA, inherited this management philosophy that is now reflected in their "only through ongoing innovation can we be ahead of the future" slogan. It was under such premises that a business change process would take place.
An initial step towards introducing formal strategic planning processes for the corporation's businesses and companies took place in 1989. For the first time, the corporation's business model was designed and documented, including the corporate vision, mission, objectives and strategies, together with the statement of the underpinning business values and philosophy.
Since that year, annual strategic planning sessions, called CORBACKUS reunions, gather together corporate management to analyze, with support from specialized consultants, the evolution of business and explore windows of opportunity in new business areas.
In the meantime, QUIPUDATA experienced accelerated growth driven by strong service demand stemming from organizational changes and the corporation's domestic and region-wide growth.
During its life, the organization demonstrated its enhanced efficiency and productivity based on the unceasing standardization of its processes and services, and the disciplined introduction of continuous improvement and innovation in its business operations. Thanks to these characteristics, QUIPUDATA has been able to meet the growing service demand using the same personnel platform. Suffice to say, the number of workstations in the corporate network doubled from 1997 to 2001.
QUIPUDATA is organized around a flat structure that seeks flexible and smooth communication among the various company areas. Appendix 2 shows the company's organizational chart. Although structured as a functional organization, IT projects are executed by multi-disciplinary teams in a matrix organization that often includes its suppliers.
Corporate management is framed by the Annual Management Plan, including:
Client service supply (Operational Plan);
Product and services improvement and innovation (Quality Plan); and
Strategic projects for new capacity generation (Strategic Plan).
The budgeting cycle is initiated in December and January, followed by a formal and exacting process before the Corporation's Executive Committee approves it. Servicing the computer infrastructure, the communication networks and providing for human resources makes up 65% of the company's budget. Internal audits, performed by the company's management, ensure that the management and budget plans are enforced. It is worth noticing that the corporation's IT budget amounts to 3% of total sales, i.e., the world average for manufacturing companies.
A firm believer in IT decentralization and the need for technological updating, José Martínez, QUIPUDATA's General Manager, says:
"My philosophy about information technology systems pushes for decentralization without loss of control; transfer of knowledge to users is one of our concerns. Also, we are persuaded of the need to create IT infrastructure, no just update it. To me, platform updating is not remarkable, it is just the inevitable consequence of natural evolution."