How Cost Transparency is Powering an Innovation Engine at DIRECTV

Blog Post created by nlockwood Employee on Aug 18, 2015

By Maria Galindo

The TV business has been a tough game in recent years. Intense competition and evolving customer viewing habits have placed new demands on cable and satellite providers, requiring them to be both adaptive and nimble. El Segundo, Calif.-based satellite service provider DIRECTV knew it wasn’t going to remain competitive by maintaining status-quo within the IT department. Simply cutting costs and showing incremental improvement was no longer enough.

The changing market required a deeper cultural change, and DIRECTV was up to the challenge. Their approach was not only a win for the business and DIRECTV's 38 million subscribers, it also secured them a “Digital Innovator Award” from the TBM Council this fall.

Getting a Clear Picture of IT Spend

To begin, CIO Mike Benson went straight to the root of the issue. He quickly set about learning how and where the company was investing in technology and what value was being derived from those investments. Using data from Apptio’s TBM suite of applications, DIRECTV's IT department was able to get a clear picture of the IT spend, slice and dice that information into meaningful segments, and have informed conversations with business leaders about budget allocation.

“TBM helps us analyze our opportunities quickly, so we can make the best and most informed decisions on which activities we should pursue to delight our customers,” said Chris Beaudin, Senior Director of IT Services for DIRECTV. “Without the trust that we’ve been able to garner using the TBM framework, innovation would still exist, but I don’t know if we would be doing the right things at the right time.”

TBM Drives Financial Transparency

You can get the full scoop in a new case study that details DIRECTV’s journey to financial transparency. This new case study explores how cost transparency powered an innovation engine that transformed and grew the business at DIRECTV. But the real gem in their story is how information inspired an enterprise-wide culture shift.

Benson understood that a critically important component of success is failure. So when he was tasked with spurring innovation, he challenged the business to embrace failure by removing the stigma of failure. By encouraging the “fail fast” spirit and celebrating the lessons learned from failure the team was able to ensure success.

Strategies like hosting a “Shark Tank”-inspired competition to building an NFL Sunday Ticket app that has helped deliver DIRECTV’s competitive edge, the company has landed some big wins. Benson says the business continues to identify opportunities for innovation so DIRECTV can continue to deliver for its customers.