Sun Microsystems's Customer Advocacy Two Years Old

8/2/2002 - Sun Microsystems, Inc.'s Customer Advocacy (CA) organization marks its second birthday and looks forward to fiscal 2003 to achieve even greater impact for process and value proposition improvements spearheaded by the organization. Key accomplishments over the last two years include company-wide deployment of Sun Sigma programs, Sun's first company-wide Product Life Cycle management system (PLC); and a number of product- and process-oriented Availability and Quality initiatives. Also, Marissa Peterson has been named executive vice president, Operations and Chief Customer Advocate, adding responsibility for Customer Advocacy in addition to her continuing leadership of the Sun Worldwide Operations organization.

Internal Progress
Since its founding in July 2000, Sun Sigma has emerged as the most far reaching program driven by the Customer Advocacy organization. Sun Sigma is the company's adaptation of Six Sigma-based process and product improvement techniques to meet the needs of Sun's fast-paced, entrepreneurial corporate culture. Sigma methodologies rely on quantitative techniques to identify and profitably satisfy customer requirements. Since July 2000, Sun has trained over 23,000 of its employees in Sun Sigma concepts. It has created a corps of over 100 Sun Sigma "Black Belts" and "Green Belts" qualified to lead Sun Sigma projects. In FY 2002, the company handily exceeded its Return on Sun Sigma (ROSS) cost saving goals, with even more ambitious targets set for FY2003. In typical Sun fashion, the company has taken an innovative approach in adapting classic Six Sigma methods to meet company needs. Along this line, the company has developed and executed hundreds of "Sun Shot" projects that apply Sigma-based methods for quick payback process and product improvement efforts. The company has also developed internally distributed "StarSigma" software plug-ins, a set of Sigma analysis tools that run in the StarOfficetm desktop software suite. In FY 2002, the company began rolling out the Design For Sun Sigma (DFSS) initiative, aimed at applying Sun Sigma-based methods to solution design and engineering decision making.

External Traction
In the fiscal 2001 start up year, the vast majority of Sun Sigma and Customer Advocacy efforts occurred internally. In FY 2002 however, Sun Sigma expanded externally to directly engage customers, business partners and suppliers. To cite examples, a joint Sun Sigma project with a major auto manufacturer improved system efficiency experienced by the customer's engineering teams. Sun also engaged a large financial services company and a major industrial products company in projects to improve the efficiency of order processing. Sun also worked with one of its suppliers to achieve cost reductions and quality improvements in subsystems integrated into Sun server products. As a result, Sun has received positive feedback and deeper loyalty among these customers. Industry and financial analyst community figures have publicly acknowledged Sun Sigma as a source of competitive advantage for Sun.

New Management
Following the retirement of Mel Friedman, Marissa Peterson added the Customer Advocacy portfolio to her management responsibilities. Peterson, age 40, joined Sun in 1988 and has held positions of increasing responsibility over the years involving management of Sun's supply chain and manufacturing operationsand culminating with her current role as executive vice president for Operations and Chief Customer Advocate (CCA). Peterson leads Customer Advocacy after a record within Sun as one of CA's most passionate and effective proponents. On her watch, Worldwide Operations organization has become a hotbed of Sun Sigma and Sun Shot activity, focused both on internal product and process improvements and also engaging Sun's supplier community in making Sun Sigma a common language of doing business. According to Peterson: "I've been a big fan of Customer Advocacy since it began in 2000 and am delighted to add it to my management responsibilities. Beyond that, as CCA, my mission is to amplify the voice of the customer across the company while driving sustained processes that add a strong customer-first ethic to Sun's leadership in entrepreneurship and networked computing technology innovation. I believe this mix of traditional and new skill sets will be the recipe that leads Sun to its next phases of growth and industry influence."

About Sun Microsystems, Inc. (
Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision -- "The Network Is The ComputerTM" -- has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that make the Net work. Sun can be found in more than 170 countries.

Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo, StarOffice and The Network Is The Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

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