Change management guides successful vendor transition

Snapshot

An international telecommunication company employed multiple staffing vendors to deliver valuable Business Intelligence and Customer Insights reports and data. The company made the strategic decision to transition to a single vendor with a managed service model and brought in Blueprint to own that process, including the change management activities that resulted in a smooth transition for hundreds of employees and more than 200 different IT resources from multiple vendors.

Our work

The problem

As one of the top telecom companies in the world, this firm wanted to eliminate the inefficiencies and lack of transparency that stemmed from contracting with four different vendors for its BI and Customer Insight support services. The vendors worked in staffing roles, meaning the telecom company established all policies and processes and managed the vendor’s employees. In a strategic shift, the company planned to transition to a single vendor that would take over the BI and Customer Insight support system for multiple departments and manage the people running those services. By establishing a managed service with a single vendor, the telecom company could incorporate measurable KPIs, transparency and consistent governance while also reducing overhead costs and increasing organization flexibility, agility and scalability.

However, choosing to outsource BI and Customer Insight support to a single-vendor managed service meant completely changing the way employees were used to operating. Change can be difficult, and the telecom company knew it needed outside expertise to ensure a smooth transition and knowledge transfer without disrupting business operations.

“This company took the change management piece of the project very seriously, which is critical to a successful transition,” said Blueprint’s Transition Organizational Change Manager. “If they hadn’t been on board, it would not have been successful.”

The Blueprint Way

As soon as the company brought Blueprint on board, the team became an extension of the telecom company, becoming the technical, project and change management teams charged with ensuring a fast, high-quality transition with no business disruption.

First, the team interviewed dozens of key stakeholders and outgoing and incoming vendor employees, creating a comprehensive transition plan and establishing a phased timeline. The team then identified crucial sponsors and people managers to help advise on the company’s key business areas, assess new vendor readiness, gain employee support and mitigate resistance to the new system and vendor relationship.

Blueprint then conducted a readiness assessment and risk analysis and identified anticipated resistance areas. People need to feel they’re part of any change taking place. For that to happen, they must feel heard, understand why the change is necessary and understand what’s in it for them. By digging in to understand the telecom company’s current system and its goals moving forward, Blueprint created awareness around why the change was necessary and what it meant for all employees, a crucial step in managing change.

Blueprint established a robust communication plan that included newsletters, an internal webpage with up-to-date information about the transition, coffee chats with the executive sponsor and a dedicated email address for anyone to reach out with questions or concerns. Assessing employee sentiment and risk throughout the process was critical, and Blueprint triaged any problems as they arose, escalating issues to transition stakeholders or the executive sponsor as necessary.

Letting go of four vendors that had worked with the telecom company for over four years meant risking losing extensive institutional knowledge about business processes, systems and policies. A comprehensive transition plan that includes knowledge transfer is essential to the success of such a large project. To capture that knowledge, Blueprint developed and coordinated training, testing and shadowing strategies for the new vendors to ensure they were prepared well before the transition was complete.

The final step was to reinforce the change – to collect feedback, audit for compliance, identify any last areas of resistance and implement corrective action plans when and if they were needed.

“If we hadn’t planned and executed this transition perfectly, it would have resulted in significant disruption,” said Blueprint’s Transition Organizational Change Manager.

In six months, the telecom company had fully transitioned to the new managed service vendor and began seeing improvement in BI and Customer Insight support companywide. By allowing the vendor to assume ownership of resource management, process and outcomes, the telecom company could focus entirely on the core business. With end-to-end accountability, the new vendor is incentivized to invest, optimize and automate support processes, resulting in faster, higher-quality support and easily controllable costs for the company.

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