By Jeff Lucchesi, COO, Taos
The highest compliment a patient can give a doctor in the Eastern world is his absence.
It sounds paradoxical, but the less a doctor is needed, the better his care must be. Contrast that with our western approach to medicine—one that sends us from doctor to pharmacy to clinic to specialist to doctor in a never-ending cycle that keeps us popping pills until we die.
Good doctors pride themselves on the fact that patients never need them. They know there is a better way. They know they can make a problem disappear forever.
That’s the Jeff Lucchesi philosophy. Most outsourcers of IT services only exist to prescribe pills and ease symptoms. Lucchesi is there to treat the whole organism. If you treat the whole body, it gets better. If you continuously automate and re-architect an environment, it becomes a circular ecosystem. At Taos, analysts work to identify, study, resolve, and archive each problem that arises. Through architecture and automation, Lucchesi’s methods can lower a client’s problem threshold over time.
In the 1970s, a young Lucchesi was earning his paycheck by teaching tennis and clerking at the FBI when he got introduced to the world of IT and ultimately took a temp job at Syva.
He spent eleven years at the medical diagnostics company, five with Syntex Pharma (Syva’s parent company), and left as director of network services in 1994.
From Syva, he went to DHL Airways and later became the CIO of the international logistics company that operated in 247 countries. Those days remain foundational to Lucchesi’s notable approach to IT. “We did lots of outsourcing, but it didn’t work any better than if I had my own staff. The outsourcing agreements didn’t make me better. They just made us run in place,” says Lucchesi. “These services have to improve your world or make things efficient. If they just do the basics, then you’re no better off than when you signed the contracts. That’s not how it should be.”
He quickly realized the problem. No third party was “getting under the hood” to understand DHL’s culture. They weren’t aligning to partner with Lucchesi. There was no effort to improve processes and operations. Lucchesi exited DHL and moved to Corio, an early SaaS company that supported major applications for a large base of customers users at Oracle, Peoplesoft, Siebel, and SAP. Just before Corio was sold to IBM in 2005, Lucchesi went to a $3.2 billion building material company known as BMHC and was its CIO until he joined Taos in 2008.
Lucchesi had met Taos founder Ric Urrutia 12 years earlier during his time at DHL and later realized how like-minded they are. “I wanted to come to Taos because Ric believes, like I do, that most IT groups are not structured correctly to play an important role in their business. There is a better way,” says Lucchesi.
With Taos, Lucchesi is building something that’s more about the customer experience. Most companies prescribe pills instead of treating the whole body. Traditional companies see clients as cash cows, not as true partners. Taos hires the best experts and integrates with clients to become a valued part of the team. Lucchesi is importing the structure he built at DHL and Corio. Together, Jeff Lucchesi and Taos have built a service offering focused on customer relationship where contracts are customized and silos are smashed.
At Taos, problems don’t bounce from tower to tower, from doctor to clinic. Taos’ horizontal model starts with a first line of defense. Troops take in all problems and attack them with the appropriate team for resolution while pushing work to the lowest cost point possible.
Clients accustomed to popping pills might be used to a price-per-ticket system, but with this approach, the whole organism is treated through automation. “Maybe we’ll encounter 2,000 problems over 30 days and realize that 120 of the problems have the same source,” says Lucchesi. “By fixing one error, we can prevent thousands of future problems. If we can do that, we will have allowed our clients to flourish, and this is how we help customers transform themselves.”
That’s how Managed Services operates at Taos. The group isn’t your typical body shop. It’s a different structure called “one-to-many,” through which multiple clients are supported with automation. This allows Taos’ experts to assess problems faster, resolve them sooner, and provide a consistent service to all customers. Additionally, the company’s burst capacity retains secure data and then transfers it to the accessible cloud when needed. The hybrid model adds yet another way for clients to lower costs.
Over the last 5 years, Taos has invested in a dedicated service center in Boise, Idaho, where 130 company employees deliver remote IT services to clients across the globe. From there, an operations manager oversees all activities, issues, and analytics for each client and works to reduce errors, increase efficiency, and streamline processes. The proactive model is not change-order driven—it introduces automation, removes labor costs, and enables predictable pricing.
IT departments today simply have to operate differently. “My focus is on the infrastructure side of our clients’ world. Staff can’t afford to firefight issues. They need to be freed up to deliver on what’s critical. That’s what we allow our clients to do,” Lucchesi explains. Unlike its competitors, Taos is treating the whole organism and allowing healthy partner companies to live life to the fullest.
1989: Alexis Tatarsky and Ric Urrutia launch Taos in Mountain View, California with a focus on hiring the best Unix software developers and systems administrators
1990: As the internet gains popularity, Taos becomes the first to use the internet to recruit and attract talent to the company
1990 – 2001: As businesses embrace emerging technologies, Taos grows and focuses on mentoring and training its resources to address the needs of its customers in these technologies
2001 – 2003: Taos not only survives the dot com bust but comes out stronger than ever with expanded service offerings across IT Infrastructure
2004 – 2007: Taos expands through project and advisory services practices and launches its “Office of the CIO” division in 2006
2008: Jeff Lucchesi joins Taos and starts to build the managed services division
2009: Taos opens up a managed service center in Boise, Idaho. First client signed!
2010 – 2014: Taos is named a top workplace in the Bay Area each year. The trend continues as the Idaho Business Review list the company on their annual register of best places to work in Idaho for 2013 and 2014.
2012: Taos launches its “One Taos” initiative and enjoys tremendous growth as clients start to leverage interim services, advisory services, and managed services.
2013: Taos launches its channel partner program while maintaining its vendor neutral mantra. Signs up a dozen key partners across several industries including software, hardware, VAR, and colocation.
2014: Taos celebrates 25 years and employee headcount tops 500