With so many operational elements changing simultaneously—people, process, location, technology—implementation governance must be well planned and executed so all the moving pieces remain in sync throughout. A cross-function transformation management office with a mix of dedicated transition management resources and leveraged functional resources (e.g., IT, communications, HR) will help to ensure proper planning and coordination, risk mitigation, and activities are completed on-time and on-budget.

The construct of the retained organization and responsibilities of retained resources often change, as many of their prior transactional tasks have been automated, resulting in a much higher occurrence of more judgment-based, “knowledge worker” activities. As a result, a comprehensive change management plan must be developed to include an evaluation of how life changes for the workers that are affected (e.g., retained resources accessing new systems and executing new processes) and any external stakeholders (e.g., new business rules that may affect suppliers or customers).

It is also not uncommon for BPO providers to develop partnerships in an effort to provide clients with innovative best-of-breed technology solutions that complement their process-based services. In such situations, despite establishing an expectation upfront that the BPO provider will serve as the “one throat to choke” for implementation, coordination, execution and support (i.e., the client will only have to interact with the BPO provider), the reality is that the client implementation team will likely need to serve as an intermediary between the provider firms and at times manage the technology provider directly.

As with any complex, transformational change, implementing a technology-based BPO solution requires the right combination of planning and execution. On the surface, it may seem that solving business problems through automation and technology enablement reduces the reliance on people, but this isn’t the case as so many operational elements are changing at once.

To ensure a successful implementation, a buyer must thoroughly understand the technology solution it has selected, involve the right functional and technical resources, prepare the organization for the impending change, and establish a robust transition governance capability. While these steps will not necessarily guarantee a successful implementation, they provide the foundation for success by focusing key migration resources on knowledge, preparation and delivery.

 

David Borowski is a principal at Pace Harmon, an optimization and outsourcing advisory services firm providing guidance on complex outsourcing and strategic sourcing transactions, process optimization, and supplier program management.