AOL (TWX): Holiday Note From EVP Ted Cahall

Ted Cahall is the EVP in charge of the “Platforms and Technologies” group at AOL. He was one of the three candidates we recently asked AOLers to consider for a possible promotion to run a unified “Programming” group. An AOLer was kind enough to forward Ted’s holiday note to his division, which outlines some plans for 2008. The AOLer notes that this is the first division-wide communication Ted has sent out since August, and compliments him on his “Nice leadership.”

Subject: Happy Holidays & 2008 GoalsFrom: “Cahall, Ted”
Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2007 11:53:32 -0500To: “Technologies”
CC: “Grant, Ron”Technologies Division Staff:

As we wrap up 2007, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for all the incredible efforts you put forth in 2007 and to wish you all a very safe and Happy Holiday season.  There were probably more product, programming, platform and international system changes in 2007 than the previous two or three years combined.  You all deserve a huge “thank you” for your dedication and execution in addition to some well earned time off to recharge your batteries.  Thank you! 

I also wanted to take this time to begin to communicate what our focus will be in 2008.  Our overarching goal in 2008, will be to transform the Technologies Division into a transparent, efficient, simple and flexible organisation, one that is fully aligned with the objectives of our Access, Product, Programming, Platforms, International, and Platform-A business units. 

To achieve these objectives, we will be undertaking a significant process re-engineering program that will ensure that our infrastructure, processes and structure are in alignment with these goals.

Our Technologies Division goals for 2008 will be supported through the following initiatives:

1.       Invest in Our Most Important Asset – Our People

·         Drive a new “next generation” comprehensive technology training program for both managers and staff

·         Financially reward employees for training certifications and mastery of new technical skills

·         Create an environment where we can grow, retain (and attract) the best and brightest employees

2.       Transform Operations into a Services-Oriented organisation

·         Provide transparency to how our customers consume our services

·         Drive increased flexibility on how we provision our services and manage demand. 

3.       Align Our Operations to the Business Units

·         Drive more direct alignment and cost allocation of operations teams to business units

·         Increase clarity on how our indirect resources are aligned across the organisation


4.       Implement Rapid Server and Infrastructure Deployment Processes

·         Improve delivery of our infrastructure and services to meet the timing needs of the business

·         optimise our processes for delivering these services for rapid delivery

5.       Streamline our Systems Management and Monitoring

·         Tune the systems alarming and event processes to be optimally aligned with the priorities of the business

·         Implement a tiered support structure to provide flexible and comprehensive systems support

6.       optimise our Data centre and Systems

·         Implement processes and controls to ensure the full and effective utilization of our data centre assets.


7.       Expand India Operations

·         Further leverage our highly talented partners on the India operations team to support these strategic initiatives.

·         Expand our Operations presence in India to further extend our capabilities.


To drive these initiatives, I have named Mike Crisafulli as my single lead and point-of-contact for this process re-engineering program.  Over the next month, Mike and I will be working holistically across all of the Technologies groups to develop an overall program management structure that will be supported with small, cross-organizational, empowered teams to drive and execute these initiatives.

Our plan is to have the roadmap for these initiatives developed by mid January 2008.  Starting shortly thereafter, we will begin a series of ‘all hands’ meetings to socialize these objectives and talk more about these goals, and the transformation of our organisation and its processes.

I am very excited about the opportunity to work closely with all of you, as we transform ourselves and our processes in 2008.

Thank you all again for a very successful 2007.

Happy Holidays,


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