Normally, when phrases like “restructuring” or “reorganization” come up, there's a bit of hard swallowing followed by the bleak notion of just how many good workers are about to get laid off now. Sometimes, however, it's just a simple shuffling of the deck, with employee counts left static but organized in a different fashion. That seems to be what happened at Verizon (News - Alert) recently, as the company announced plans to reorganize along three critical business operations. It even brought in some new help to drive the changes.
Essentially, the company will now focus on three primary operations fronts: customer and product operations, network and technology functions, and media and telematics operations. This led to the creation of a new team for network and technology, and Verizon brought in Ericsson (News - Alert)'s former CEO, Hans Vestberg, to oversee that operation. Vestberg will be specifically tasked with developing fiber infrastructure, and will operate out of Sweden to start with before making the jump to the United States before summer arrives.
Media and telematics, meanwhile, will be working to build separate operations into a more cohesive whole. With Marni Walden at the help, the acquisitions of Telogis (News - Alert), Hughes Telematics, Fleetmatics and others will be better connected and producing efforts toward the same result.
Finally, customer and product operations will focus on established lines of business like Verizon Enterprise Solutions and Verizon Wireless (News - Alert) to drive toward growth. John Stratton is head of that operation, and looks to build on previous growth measures.
Verizon's primary CEO Lowell McAdam (News - Alert) noted that such measures would provide greater agility in the field as the company works to expand in the first two areas noted and maintain its position as top of the heap in the third.
No matter what there is to say about the reorganizations—there's something to be said for specialization, both good and bad, and Verizon seems to be refocusing around specialization—Verizon's move to hire the former CEO of Ericsson—itself well known in the field as a technology developer—to handle Verizon's own technology operations should be a sound strategy. Doubtless, Vestberg has a lot of experience on this front already, and Verizon can stand to gain substantially from that experience. Verizon's move to specialize might give it more agility, all right, but it might also result in the generation of information silos—information that stays where it's generated—and that can be a real problem if not determinedly addressed up front.
Verizon's moves here should be worthwhile, assuming that things go reasonably well and there's not a lot of time lost in the restructuring effort. Though there are risks to specialization, there are also rewards, and some of the risks can even be limited with some advance work.