Greg James

Topics: Sun Microsystems, Customer service, Santa Clara University Pages: 16 (6094 words) Published: July 24, 2013
Managing a Global Team: Greg James at Sun Microsystems, Inc. (A) Greg James, a global manager at Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Sun), slumped on the edge of his bed in the company’s corporate flat in Paris. He struggled to even move after only three hours of sleep. James had embarked on this unexpected trip from Sun’s Santa Clara, California, headquarters six days earlier. With only a few hours’ notice, he had set out to meet with his entire 45-member customer implementation team spread across India, France, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the United States (US). He had already met with his team members in the US, India, and the UAE. France was his final stop before heading home. For the second time, the team had failed to respond promptly to a customer system outage as required by a service contract agreement. James had begun this trip assuming he would find a swift resolution to the rapidly escalating customer situation that had motivated it. Unfortunately, that had not been the case. James knew that if he could just make it to the gym, exercise would invigorate him and clear his head: “Five more minutes and then I’ll go.” Twenty minutes later, still in his room, he grabbed his laptop and launched his e-mail. Re: HS Holdings

James scanned his inbox, reliving the events that had plunged him into this predicament. Six days earlier, he had received a string of e-mails, forwarded to him by his team. Rahul Ashok, service manager for the Mumbai team, was in touch with Praveen Devilal (one of Ashok’s team members in Mumbai) and Nick Elliott and Robert Chan in Santa Clara to trace the source of the breakdown: To: Greg James (Global Manager, Santa Clara)
Fw: FYI in re: HS Holdings
Date: Mon, 26 May 2008 06:58:40 PST
From: Robert Chan (Sales Account Manager, Santa Clara Team): V. Urgent To: Rahul Ashok (Customer Service Manager, Mumbai Team) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Professors Tsedal Neeley and Thomas J. DeLong prepared this case with the assistance of Research Associates Alison Comings and Patricia Hernandez. Certain details have been disguised. HBS cases are developed solely as the basis for class discussion. Cases are not intended to serve as endorsements, sources of primary data, or illustrations of effective or ineffective management. Copyright © 2008, 2009 President and Fellows of Harvard College. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 1-800-545- 7685, write Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston, MA 02163, or go to This publication may not be digitized, photocopied, or otherwise reproduced, posted, or transmitted, without the permission of Harvard Business School. 9-409-003

409-003 Managing a Global Team: Greg James at Sun Microsystems, Inc. (A) 2
We have a major problem with HS Holdings. Their server went down on Sunday at 23:30 PST, and TIC [Technology Integration Company], their tech support group, called us for help. The issue was at a critical level because their entire system was down for two hours. This was a disaster for their online banking business. They’re now struggling to respond to their customers who are furious. They have a 24x7 Sun software premium—a $300K service—annual contract, but NOBODY engaged them. They’re outraged. They’ve escalated the matter to Sun’s higher management and are threatening a lawsuit because we violated their service contract. We need to find out what happened and respond to their complaints immediately. I’ve also left you a voicemail and a txt message about this. Help! Robert

Date: Mon, 26 May 2008 19:51:44 IST
From: Rahul Ashok (Customer Service Manager, Mumbai Team): V. Urgent
To: Nick Elliott (Application Support Engineer, Santa Clara Team); Chan, Robert Re: HS Holdings Nick,

Re: HS Holdings, we have paged the US team three times and left numerous voicemails for the...
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