Outsourcing operations

 requires totally new skills

The Journey From In-house to Outsourced

Backstory

A ‘Big Four’ Australian bank had just implemented a A$2 billion business transformation project to integrate a major outsourcing program provided by a global IT services company.

The bank’s ICT department undertook a major restructure, cutting 75 per cent of  8,000 staff. Those remaining were the most technically skilled but had now been thrust into completely new roles, where a new a set of skills were required to manage the service provider’s staff, who were based in India and Brazil.

Stumbling blocks

Managing without authority and communicating with people they had never met was a huge paradigm shift. Additionally, only one representative from the new provider had travelled to Sydney in order to gather knowledge on the bank’s current IT processes and operational requirements. 

In the first month 5 severe incidents (SI) occurred, creating an environment of blame, finger pointing and excuses. The financial impact was in the millions of dollars and potential brand damage was significantly elevated.

Our first challenge was to identify the reasons behind the communication breakdown and design a program that would quickly begin repairing the rift between client and vendor.

MRC Designed, developed, delivered and embedded a capabilities uplift learning pathway of training workshops that provided a platform for positive change that allowed both client and vendor to achieve a win-win outcome. 

We engaged the bank’s internal change team, senior leaders and subject matter experts within both businesses, each of whom provided key information that enabled the creation of the classroom workshops for the first 200 senior technicians, engineers and managers. 

Summary

Turning "hostages" into "volunteers" and "spectators" into "evangelists" is one of the most rewarding things we help our clients achieve. Influencing true change that has a positive and sustainable impact throughout any organisation is what we are passionate about. Client feedback told us that our efforts with this project were game-changing and turned around a problematic, and potentially toxic relationship.

Facilitator's Anecdote

"I clearly remember the first day of delivery. In shuffled 25 people who could only be described as defeated. As I introduced myself as the facilitator and how we were going to deliver five mandatory three hour workshops over five weeks. Someone at the back the room jeered and said "this better be f***ing good mate because I'm effing busy".

 

We began by providing a platform for people to air their frustrations and concerns, creating a safe environment to workshop solutions.

At the second workshop, a few of the attendees walked in as volunteers which was definitely progress. A few more in the 3rd workshop then, 10 minutes prior to completing the 4th workshop a breakthrough occurred.  One of the most respected workers with over 25 years of service in the company stood up and said "I'd like to say something". I can't tell you how my heart stopped, everyone in the room froze and wondered what on earth he would say.

Unprompted he said, "since moving to the new outsourced operations model six months ago, I seriously thought my job was to scream abuse at my colleagues (overseas) at the other end of phone"... he went on to describe how he had implemented one of the techniques for building rapport and changing the language used from hostile to complimentary and respectful when requesting work be carried out.

He said the change in language and attitude resulting in this:  rather than receiving an email outlining the official conditions of the contract between the two businesses that stated a seven-day turn around (despite the urgency of the problem), he received an email saying that"it was nice speaking to him on the phone and he would have the fix completed by close of business that day". That day being Friday rather the following week. Awesome!