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Introduction > Introduction - Pg. 46

46 CASE 3 Raising Awareness at the Company Level and web applications. Red Fox recently started to produce website soft- ware--a full-featured content management system--to enable companies to design and update their own e-commerce websites. The company was founded just over 2 years before Jill joined. The other departments were fairly well staffed, and the company had transitioned from a small start-up to cur- rently just over 1,000 employees. Jill was impressed with the creativity at Red Fox and the fact that they had acquired a number of good clients and successes over the past year. Although they had been successful, Red Fox could not close many of the deals with Fortune 500 clients. The feedback the executives were receiving was a concern from potential customers, most of which had in-house UE departments, about the lack of a user experience focus at Red Fox; because Red Fox had neither a UE executive nor a real team, these companies weren't confident that Red Fox could deliver a highly usable web solution. Red Fox did have two visual designers on board, but the executives realized they needed to hire someone who knew how to build and manage a fully staffed UE team. As a result Jill was joining the company at an interesting time when executives knew they needed to make an investment in UE to substantially grow the company. However, there was very little knowledge of what UE was, how it could help the company, and how it integrated with the other departments such as marketing and engineering. Jill knew from past experience with introducing UE into companies that she had to use multiple strategies and tactics to raise awareness of the benefits of UE and to integrate it at the company level. Although there was currently sufficient executive management team support of user experience to hire Jill into a newly formed vice-president of UE position, she also knew that support could be ephemeral: If key executives left Red Fox or if the company had to reduce staff, any team that Jill built could be at risk. Jill's initial team comprised two designers already on board and nine open positions (head count). Some of Red Fox's procedures and processes were documented, but predominantly the company ran as a relationship-based company, relying on individuals knowing whom to contact to obtain key information. A reorga- nization was also just on the horizon, and Jill was given the option of her UE team reporting to the marketing or the engineering department. Jill had interviewed with both Ellen, the senior vice-president of marketing, and Geoff, the senior vice-president of engineering, and she was very comfortable working with both of them.