Article Published: September 11, 2015
Article Published: September 11, 2015
When was the last time you walked into a grocery store simply called “The Grocery Store?” Or a coffee shop just named “Coffee?” Few businesses were around early enough in the origin of their trades to simply be called what they are.
That should tell you something about Computer Sciences Corporation, now known as CSC. Founded in 1959 by Roy Nutt and Fletcher Jones, CSC started life as a programming shop providing software to U.S. computer manufacturers. At the time, the second wave of computer technology was just picking up speed, and only large customers like the U.S. government could afford computers and software-writing services. Over the next few decades, CSC would grow with federal programs like NASA and beyond, developing flight-testing software for Stealth Bombers and inventing the first automated bank teller system.
Leap forward to 2015, and CSC has evolved into an international IT solutions company with branches in 70 countries, serving industries like banking, manufacturing, consumer goods and retail, defense, and more.
And now, you can find CSC at a new branch in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. CSC chose Pittsburgh over 200 possible cities for its cost of living and proximity to competitive computer science programs in Pittsburgh’s universities. With sister sites like Bossier City, LA, in the United States and more around the world, the Pittsburgh CSC office is a next-gen service center supporting legacy system migrations, data analytics, cybersecurity, and hybrid clouds. The Pittsburgh site also specializes in support for companies that must keep sensitive data on-shore.
Doug Stone, a Client Relationship Executive at CSC, explains some of the challenges and benefits to CSC growing in Pittsburgh.
“Pittsburgh has a growing tech culture, supported by the universities, which we’re involved with to build relations for future job seekers,” said Stone. “Graduates stay here because of Pittsburgh’s cost of living and high-tech environment, and contribute to the businesses that attract more interest and innovation.”
With approximately 200 employees, the Pittsburgh branch of CSC aims to continue to grow the office over the next 18 to 24 months. So far, the Pittsburgh teams are focused on legacy migration, or enabling modernization of applications and platforms and moving them to the cloud. CSC claims integration of a company’s data and operations into the cloud as one of its core strengths, offering clients hybrid solutions that combine security and privacy with ease of access.
But CSC didn’t thrive for more than 50 years by working on only one frontier. CSC can also be found in the fray of Big Data and analytics. John Blackburn, CSC VP and Global General Manager of Consumer, Retail, and Travel, explains how Big Data continues to transform industries.
“Back in the early 2000s, during the genesis of dotcom retail, a lot of businesses operated online and store retail entirely separate. Now, customers are demanding that retailers bring it all together and reconnect the physical and the digital businesses, in an intelligent customer-focused organization.,” said Blackburn.
That means not only streamlining the online and offline aspects of a company, but also effectively analyzing and organizing data to better serve a client’s or customer’s use of technology. In today’s world, companies must think about mobile first. Applications like Google Wallet, ApplePay, and PayPal are the most successful mobile payment options thus far, but often are not seamlessly baked into mobile retail solutions/apps. The ease of making a few taps on a smartphone to pay only stays easy if the customer doesn’t have to fiddle around with logging into this or that account to check out.
CSC is working on making mobile payments even safer and more intuitive, so that mobile retail and even airline apps become a natural extension of the customer’s needs, not an obstacle.
For clients, Big Data also enhances how companies understand their own strengths and leverage their resources to the best effect. CSC can work with a client to produce a business case study based on analytics, and offer a roadmap to improvement. CSC performed one such program for AvisBudget Group, a company that Pittsburghers may recognize from their Zipcar service, placed around the city in Oakland, the East End, North Shore, South Side, and downtown. Using an analytic framework, CSC was able to help the organization leverage big data to improve customer loyalty, improve profitability and increase annual revenue by $200 million. AvisBudget achieved this by better understanding the customer’s habits and needs, and streamlining its services to reflect that understanding.
For all that, “CSC is people-oriented, not process-oriented,” said Blackburn. “There’s an emphasis on the people who work here and their ideas. We value driving differentiated, high value solutions for our clients, and that requires the people who work with our clients every day to be smart about the industry, solutions and strategic objectives of their clients. CSC places a great deal of emphasis on this client-first approach.”
That holds true for Blackburn, who joined the company in February following 20 years of consumer-focused experience in consulting, and for Stone, who started in CSC’s corporate office more than 20 years ago. Stone moved up through the organization, including Account Management, then into his current position as a Client Relationship Executive.
“I enjoy being able to bring an entrepreneurial spirit to my work,” said Stone. “CSC looks to its people for initiative, and for the next big idea that will transform information technology.”