Anatomy Of A Startup

How top technology exec ken coleman developed a novel software product and used his business network to launch a revolutionary enterprise in silicon valley

suite of applications allows information technology managers to bring all of this together in one place. And, just as important, each suite can be customized to suit a company’s unique needs. Currently, five applications comprise the ITM Business Suite: ITM Foundation, ITM Vendor Relationship Management, ITM Project Portfolio Management, ITM Human Capital Management, and ITM Governance and Standards Management–all designed to address the range of a chief information officer’s needs, from managing vendors and staff to compliance with federal standards such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which requires corporate officers to take responsibility for scrupulous financial reporting. (Sarbanes-Oxley compliance alone can add as much as $500,000 in additional expenses for a major corporation.)

Madeleine Fackler is LifeScan’s vice president of information solutions as well as its chief information officer. She manages a budget of more than $68 million. Fackler says that despite the size of a Fortune 500 company, most chief information officers manage their information technology functions using spreadsheets, or as she terms it, “manual processes.” Tasks such as reviewing hardware and software inventory for thousands of employees and performing complex analyses, for example, often involve painstaking working and reevaluation. Sometimes, she admits, you just don’t have all of the information at your fingertips.

What has made ITM effective is how it has been able to access new customers. For instance, Fackler agreed to be part of ITM’s beta tests in December 2002 before she signed on as a customer this spring. She was one of the 37 chief information officers that ITM initially polled to assess the needs of major corporations and government agencies. (To date, ITM has polled more than 150 chief information officers in the past 20 months to get a handle on information technology challenges.) Another strength is that the company is founded by former chief information officers. “One of the great things about having the ITM design is that it shows the interconnectedness of applications. For example, you not only know what work has been done, but how many [software] licenses you have for Europe or the U.S.,” says Fackler.

She says that Coleman and his team bring another value to the table: commitment. “Steve and Ken have gotten involved [with LifeScan] in ways that have no direct benefit to them,” she says. When Fackler cited her recent search for “critical open positions” at LifeScan, O’Connor sent 10 candidates her way. “That’s what makes the company different and special and allows them to be successful. I was impressed by the fact that he thought about it and wanted to help,” she says.

Next Steps
Back to the strategy session. The intensity in the meeting is about ITM’s future: Is it simply a software firm or can it provide services? “We made a change in our direction,” Coleman admits. “We used to say that we wanted to be a leader in developing software to solve the problem of managing information technology. We now say software services because it’s clear that our
customers don’t want to just buy software; they

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