Imagine what life would be like if your product were never finished, if your work were never done, if your market shifted 30 times a day. The computer-virus hunters at Symantec Corp. don’t have to imagine. “That’s the reality of their daily work life. At the company’s response lab in Santa Monica, California, described as the “dirtiest of all our networks at Symantec. “ Software analysts collect viruses and other suspicious cod and try to figure out how they work so the company can provide security updates to its customers.
There’s even a hazardous materials box by the door to the lab, marked DANGER, where they put all the discs, tapes, and hard drives with the nasty viruses that need to be completely disposed of. Symantec’s situations may seem unique, but the company, which makes content and network security software for both consumers and businesses, reflects the realities facing many organizations today: quickly shifting customer expectations and continuously emerging global competitors that have drastically shortened product life cycles. Managing talented people in such an environment can be quite challenging as well.
Vincent Weafer, a native of Ireland, has been the leader of Symantec’s virus hunting team since 1999. Back then, he said “there were less than two dozen people, and . . . nothing really happened. We’d see may be five new viruses a day, and they would spread in a matter of months, not minutes. “Now, Symantec’s virus hunter around the words deals with some 20,000 virus samples each month, not all of which are unique, stand-alone viruses. To make the hunter’s jobs even more interesting, computer attacks are increasingly being spread by criminals wanting to steal information, whether corporate data or personal user account information that can be used in fraud. Dealing with these critical and time-sensitive issues requires special talents.
The response center team is a diverse group whose members weren’t easy to find. Said Weafer, “it’s not as if colleges are creating thousands of anti-malware or security experts every year that we can hire. If you find them in any part of the world. You just go after them. “The response center team’s makeup reflects that. For instance, one senior researcher is from Hungary, another is from Iceland, and another works out of her home in Melbourne. Florida, but they all share something in common: They’re all motivated by solving problems. The launch of the blaster-B worm changed the company’s approach to dealing with viruses.
The domino effect of Blaster-B and other viruses spawned by it meant that frontline software analysts were working around the clock for almost two weeks. The “employee burn-out” potential made the company realize that its virus-hunting team would now have to be much deeper, talent-wise. Now, the response center’s team numbers in the hundreds and managers can rotate people from the frontlines, where they’re responsible for responding to new security threats that crop up, into groups where they can help with new-product development. Others write internal research papers.
Still others are assigned to develop new tools that will help their colleagues battle the next wave of threats. There’s even an individual who tries to figure out what makes the virus writers tick-and the day never ends for these virus hunters. When Santa Monica’s team finished its day, colleagues in Tokyo take over. When the Japanese team finishes its day, it hands off to Dublin which then hands back to Santa Monica for the new day. It’s a frenetic, chaotic, challenging work environment that spans the entire globe. But Weafer said his goals are to “ try to take the chaos out, to make the exciting boring, “ to have a pre-datable and well-defined process for dealing with the virus threats, and to spread work evenly to the company’s facilities around the world. It’s a managerial challenge that Weafer has embraced.
Questions of Case Study:
Q1. Keeping professional’s excited about work that is routine and standardized and chaotic is a major challenge for Vincent Weafer. How could he use technical, human, and conceptual skills to maintain an environment that encourages innovation and professionalism among the virus hunters? Answer: Vincent Weafer’s applies following techniques that encourage innovation and professionalism among the virus hunters. 1- Firstly, he divided work into smaller and specialised groups to perform in much better way. 2- To attain professionalism he then focuses on efficient working. As the work keeps on moving and never stopped. When Santa Monica’s team finished, Tokyo took over, when Japanese team finishes this handed over to Dublin and then again back to Santa Monica.
Q2. What management roles would Vincent be playing as he (a) Had weekly security briefing conference calls with co-workers around the globe. (b) Assessed the feasibility of adding a new network security consulting service, or (c) Kept employees focused on the company’s commitments to customers?
Answer: According to the conditions Vincent has played following roles respectively. (a) Vincent has played Interpersonal role as he worked as a figurehead, leader, liaison as he was obliged to perform number of duties he motivates and gathered many students and develop relations with them and also informational role as he act as a monitor, spokesman and a disseminator as he maintains personal contacts with others and by sharing stuff with them. (b) Vincent has approached towards Decisional role as he worked as a disturbance handler while gathering solutions for the problem and resource allocator while dividing the work in specialised groups and giving them tasks according to their nature of job. (c) Vincent played interpersonal role here as he worked as a figurehead while gathering everyone on same platform and then as a leader as he provoked his employees to focus on company’s commitments to provide better security updates to the customers.
Q3. Go to Symantec’s Web site and look up information about the company. What can you tell about its emphasis on customer service and innovation? In what ways does the organization support its employees in serving customers and in being innovative? Answer: Symantec was founded in 1982 by visionary computer scientists. The company has evolved to become one of the world’s largest software companies. They provide security, storage and systems management solutions to help their customers – from consumers and small businesses to the largest global organizations – to secure and manage their information-driven world against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently than any other company.