Shifting Move, Inc. into High Gear Reply

When Manish Bhansali, Joined Move Inc. (MOVE) in 2006 as a director, MOVE’s indicted CEO had just been found guilty of conspiracy, insider trading, filing false reports with the SEC, falsifying corporate records, and lying to the auditors.1 Cleaning up MOVE’s systems and restoring credibility to the company would not be an easy task. Move.com operated an expansive online real estate search engine for new home and rental listings including the popular site, Realtor.com. Additionally, MOVE had acquired ten different businesses and needed to reconcile information management systems and integrate billing, order fulfillment, auditing, and revenue functions.

Many consulting companies brought in to fix the situation failed to do the job. Move Inc.’s high-powered board, comprised of Amazon’s founder and top quality executives from Apple and Microsoft Corp’s MSN business, sought an exceptionally talented visionary who was technically skilled and savvy at building a unified team.

The Board mandated that in two years, the financials needed to be improved and the system cleaned up and standardized across the different divisions of the organization. MOVE selected Oracle SOA Suite for the platform to unify customer information, integrate applications, and create a flexible architecture that could accommodate future applications. They chose to team with Computer Sciences Corporation, a Diamond Level Partner in the Oracle PartnerNetwork.

Manish Bhansali presented his plan to consolidate, restructure, and implement a scalable back office structure to meet Sarbanes-Oxley compliance requirements and provide for future growth. Unanimously, the Board accepted the plan with a $30-million budget and stipulated that Bhansali would report directly to the executive steering committee comprised of CEO, COO, and CFO and he would provide periodic updates to the Board on the progress.

Not surprising, the greatest resistance came from managers who were comfortable doing things the way they had been doing them and viewed change as a direct threat to their operations. Undeterred, Bhansali defined the complex problem, designed solutions, and implemented strategies to put the company back on course. He reached out to the various groups, convinced them of the benefits to their operations, and secured their support. He selected eight direct reports and managed 250 on-site and offshore staff.

Bhansali communicated the strategic plans and weekly updates to the CEO, CFO, and COO. He developed a 5-year roadmap to support business development objectives. They slashed costs 75 percent by consolidating systems through technical migration and renegotiating contracts. They retired about 16 different systems they were using. They replaced a 300-person staff in India with 10 people working in California.

They reduced compliance costs by 80 percent by establishing automated controls and consolidating back office activities in an ERP system. They leveraged service-oriented architecture (SOA) to establish uniform advertisement, fulfillment, and back office platforms. In addition, they seamlessly migrated legacy applications and website without affecting the revenue stream. Prior to the implementation, it took several days to complete the billing based on the complex rules. It was reduced to just a few minutes, enabling timely recognition of revenue.

The improvements were so dramatic that in 2007 Oracle recognized Move, Inc. with the Oracle Excellence Award. Manish Bhansali is justifiably proud of the Excellence Award designation. Today, MOVE is stronger than ever. A 2012 posting on Bloomberg.com written by Samantha Zee indicated that MOVE stocks rose with a strong forecast and a jump in demand for online services. MOVE currently runs Move.com, Realtor.com, Moving.com, and SeniorHousing.com. 2

References

1 Phillips, Dave. Online article, Former Homestore CEO Stuart Wolff ‘Coulda Been a Contender.’ (about: MOVE, Inc.) Posted November 20, 2006. Accessed May 17, 2012.

2Zee, Samantha. Move Climbs on Forecast, Web Search Tools: San Francisco Mover. Posted on Bloomberg.com website, February 13, 2012. Accessed May 18, 2012.

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