Client: Global Media & Advertising Firm
Function: Finance Department
Project: Develop and Manage Transition Program for Business Process Outsourcing
Overall Project Mission
A global market research business was moving their UK Finance Shared Service Centre (SSC) to an outsourced service based in India. The project involved supporting the client to manage the effective transition of activities from the UK to India, working closely with both the SSC and outsource provider teams.
The outsource service provider had a poor track record from previous transitions for this client and had capability gaps in delivering the more complex processes from a scope covering Procure to Pay, Order to Cash and Record to Report Finance processes.
There was a significant change management challenge to keep UK SSC staff engaged in both delivering business as usual service as well as completing additional workload to support the transition to India during a period where most staff were at risk of losing their roles.
The project also had to be delivered as quickly as possible to enable financial savings to be generated for the business, whilst balancing service levels and minimizing disruption to the execution of vital Finance processes around paying suppliers, collecting cash from clients and reporting financial performance.
Planning and Due Diligence
During this highly confidential stage of the project, we facilitated workshops with the outsource project team and SSC leadership to:
- Validate the scope of services and associated FTE to be outsourced
- Design the target retained SSC UK organization
- Define the project plan and critical path to cover UK worker HR consultation, IT set-up and outsource staff recruitment and training
- Baseline historic SSC process volumetrics and service levels and agree performance reporting metrics
- Identify and mitigate potential risks to a smooth transition of services
During this phase ongoing weekly governance meetings were also established to manage the detailed transition activities and criteria agreed for “gate” meetings to ensure controlled progress between project phases.
The knowledge transfer phase involved a small number of outsource staff spending 1-2 months in the UK SSC to be trained on their new activities and document these into a set of standard operating procedures.
In preparation for this we worked with the outsource project team and SSC leadership to:
- Develop communications for SSC staff and the wider business
- Deliver briefing sessions for SSC staff on what to expect and how to work effectively with the outsource team
- Agree a training plan which could be delivered whilst allowing the SSC to continue to meet processing deadlines
Progress was tracked daily and any deviations from the training plan were identified and re-planned as needed. Detailed logs were used to track and manage any issues and queries through to resolution.
Process documentation produced by the outsource team was quality checked to ensure minimum standards were adhered to before passing to SSC process experts to review in detail.
Outsource staff recruitment and IT set-up were tracked and managed to ensure readiness to progress to the next phase of the project.
The offshore training phase involved the outsource staff who had completed training in the UK returning to India and training the rest of the outsource team. Volunteers from the UK SSC also travelled to India to support key areas of training.
A detailed training plan was prepared and progress against this tracked daily, with any deviations re-planned where necessary. All outsource staff were tested both for their competency in the newly trained Finance processes as well as customer service skills using telephone and email communication.
Standard operating procedures were finalized and signed off by the SSC process owners and access to Finance systems tested and any issues resolved.
Due to longer than planned periods for the outsource team to complete training and achieve the required level of competency, go-lives had to be re-phased to enable groups of activities to go live in clusters by sub-process as they reached the required level of readiness.
An extended post go-live support period was agreed with the outsource provider and SSC team, where additional quality checks and coaching were provided by the UK SSC to ensure the outsource team gained confidence and had support whilst their experience and productivity increased.
UK SSC staff were kept up to date with progress and transition completion bonuses were used to retain key staff until the end of the project.
Ongoing governance meetings and process performance reporting were established, and the project completed a controlled handover to “business as usual”, with all project documentation archived and owners agreed for any open actions.