The Concept Of One: Do It Once, Do It Right, And Use It Everywhere

The Concept of One is a powerful tool for reducing costs and creating efficiency by consolidating multiple organizations, networks, systems, platforms and processes into one. With the Concept of One, you do it once, do it right, and use it everywhere.

The basic principle of the Concept of One is that we will leverage our scale to perform a given function in a centralized manner – either from the point of view of platforms, systems or processes. With the Concept of One, we will not have multiple organizations, platforms or systems performing the same function. Instead, there will be clear accountability and responsibility for performing any and all functions.

In order to achieve the principle of the Concept of One, we need to be aligned on a common vision and plan of record to support that specific business need. This business need can vary from a frame relay switch upgrade to an OS consolidation to the Voice Breakthrough initiative. Without a common vision, underpinned by an agreed upon architecture, the team will fail in its objective.

Describing the Concept of One in terms of consolidation to common platforms and systems is a fairly well understood concept – but with obvious difficulty in implementation. The benefits of these types of consolidations include not only lower cost through efficiencies, but also fewer data base integrity issues, less fall out, more flow through and thus achievement of faster time to market for our customers. In addition to technological issues, the Concept of One also applies to our internal AT&T Labs processes. For example, multiple organizations should not be performing the same function in different organizations – competing with each other rather than with our external competitors to win customers.

The meeting of our objective will rarely depend on one organization and function for its achievement. Much of our work requires cross-organizational teams – most frequently requiring Architecture, the Service Realization organization, SMI and frequently, Research. Each organization provides critical skills and functions to the support of the initiative or goal. All are needed – and all must be active participants in the work of the team.

Participation on a team does not mean a “free-for-all” in responsibility. The architecture team should not be doing research; nor should service realization team be doing systems development. Each function or organization must have clear accountability under the total umbrella of the overall project. Any given work function should be performed in one and only organization to avoid duplication.

This does not mean that only one solution or architecture should be evaluated or pursued in the formative stages. We need innovation as well as critical and objective differences of views until the architecture and solution is adopted. Competition in the earliest stages is healthy to ensure we have thoroughly and carefully analyzed alternatives. Once selected, we need to unify beyond the single architecture and solution to win in the market place.

With the business imperative to be cost-competitive, we cannot afford to have multiple processes, platforms and systems with their own unique requirements and resource needs. Our future success depends upon eliminating duplication and redundancy by consolidating and creating common processes, platforms and systems supported by accountable teams.

The essence of the Concept of One is that you do it once, do it right, and use it everywhere.