Building shared services at RR communications
Posted: Jan 29, 2019
Question 1: Advantages of a single customer service
- A single customer service ensures is essential for ensuring that there is the easy management of the IT system and the entire organization. There are cost savings compared to having specific IT needs for each division as required by separate customer services for each division.
- Consolidation of customer data in one place through leveraging a single service center makes it possible to carry out data mining to generate new opportunities.
- The company wants to have one consistent brand and so a single customer service center has a good alignment with that vision.
- The presence of separate divisional IT services allows a single audit to take place at the company’s financials and processes. It eliminates the need for individual audits at each division.
- The consolidation of company data auditors will help the company to have fewer auditors requirement that will coordinate their task more effectively.
- There will be one customer service handling requests; thus, the outsourcing options of the company will help create more value and improve the efficiency of service delivery.
- A single customer service brings the IT and business closer in terms of decision-making. It helps join the governance services for all divisions, meaning that every individual in the company will have a share in the company’s future.
Question 2: Implementation strategy for a customer service center to guarantee support from the divisional presidents
Solicit the support of the top management
The soliciting of the support for the management if the first strategic step towards the building of a single customer service center. It will be necessary to have all the presidents agree on the essence of having a single customer service center across the entire organization. It incorporates eliminating their ill-formed mindset that the merger will not be beneficial by highlighting to them the benefits to accrue from the single customer service center. It will involve having a workshop with them to discuss the idea and then presenting clear benefits to them during that workshop and allowing them to make queries as one responds to those queries. There will be a head-to-head comparison of the costs and resources in the requirement for both cases of a separate customer divisions and a single customer center.
Costs and benefits analysis in both cases
Without clear comparisons of costs and benefits in both cases, they will not understand the need for merging the customer centers so as to have a single customer service center. Some of the benefits of talking to the presidents, for instance, will entail three areas that will include regulatory compliance, financial benefits and alleviation of risks. In the case of regulatory compliance, advantages come in three ways in terms of audits, costs of production, and processes. Separate divisional IT services mean there are individual audits at each of the divisions, resulting in the company processes failing to have regulatory compliance. A single customer center fosters the company’s operations, and it helps the company to apply best practices that will consequently shorten audit durations (Laudon & Laudon, 1995).
There is nothing that interest organizational management like hearing that there will be reduced expenses in the daily operations of the business (Moss & Brodie, 2002). That itself will have the presidents’ full support for a single customer service. In terms of reduced expenses, removal of centers from the divisional levels will save resources meant for individual audits. Monitoring of security will also be easy and less costly as it will eliminate the need for specific IT security services. Data mining will also be possible so as to generate new ideas for informed decision-making. Also, data consolidation will shift the risks mitigation from the divisional levels to the central authority, making it possible to apply single and uniform security architecture and policies. Common security protocol and procedures reduce the risk of data breaches (Laudon & Laudon, 1995). The information will also reside in a common framework.
Integrating the Business and IT
After meeting with the presidents and then explaining to them the benefits of the merger and setting the objectives for the project, it is the time to integrate the business and IT. To have an Integration of the two is a vital task required in the organization because there no common IM system in the RR communications. Business and IT integration entails a set of applications supported and delivered, known as the application portfolio (McKeen & Smith, 2009). It is such an integration that will make the business to reap the fruits of its investment. Technology is driving businesses to have great improvements, and it is high time that RR communications have to realize that and integrate business and technology accordingly. A wide gap exists between the IT and business because of the disjoint between the information assets in the organization. The business cannot master the rapid pace of business complexity, but it is possible for it to manage the consequences of its operations (Dvorak et al., 2013).
Question 3: Is it possible to achieve an enterprise vision with a decentralized IT function?
It is not possible to achieve the enterprise vision with a decentralized IT function as this will not support a singular focus on the vision of the enterprise. Each of the lines of business will have their visions on which they will focus, and there will be a little alignment of the divisional visions with the corporate vision. Each division will have to set its strategies for reaching their visions, and this will greatly vary from the enterprise vision achieving strategies. A decentralized IT function in an organization leads to the eruption of many issues in the various divisions. There can be conflicts of interest regarding the management of the IT functions when they exist in a decentralized format. It is hard to have a common strategy and view from the company’s vision when the IT function exists in such a way. The success metrics of each division will only focus on the individual divisions rather than on the enterprise vision.
A centralized IT function ensures that an enterprise runs seamlessly and is relevant to all departments including the accounting and financial (McKeen & Smith, 2011). A single and centralized IT operating system enhances quick decision-making across in the enterprise because all the divisions have a singular view of the same data. The time for making decisions with a decentralized IT functioning is long because there has to be a consensus of all the divisional heads and lengthy brainstorming sessions to come to an agreement. A decentralized system lengthens decision-making. The customers will also have to receive incomplete services for each division, and this will consume much of their time going through all the division of contacting each division.
Question 4: Business and IT problems caused by lack of common information and IM strategy
Lack of a common information and enterprise information management strategy can raise many issues in an enterprise. The mini case shows us that there is tarnishing of the enterprise’s name due to having separate bills for similar business lines. Lack of a common information and IM strategy makes them lack a focus on the new growth opportunities that may emanate from the market. Lack of common enterprise information and IM strategy curtails additional revenue streams that could be possible due to the absence of responsiveness and flexibility (Baum & Singh, 1994). It will be hard to amalgamate information and make substantial plans to seize the upcoming market opportunities. There is also a possibility that conflicts are occurring due to the different approaches of managers to the administration strategies for information (Khan & Sikes, 2014).
Separate paths for information and IM strategies make it difficult to have regulatory compliance in the enterprise. The enterprise lacks synergies, and this leads to a reduction of growth opportunities through the focus on the divisional realm. "Lack of a common information and IM strategy leads to less efficiency of services and high operational costs. That will be uneconomical for the firm" (Porter, 2008). The services offered to customers may be poor due to the many points of service for the customers. That will culminate in loss of customers due to dissatisfaction. Vital projects that can improve the operations of the enterprise will not receive the required support from the business or the IT administration (Smith & McKeen, 2007). That is because of the lack of information sharing and different communication pathways in the enterprise. Lack of a common information and IM strategy makes it difficult to implement uniform data and information security strategies (Smaltz, 2011).
Question 5: Governance mechanisms for common customer data and shared customer service. The useful metrics
There are several governance mechanisms and metrics for encouraging the implementation and usage of a common enterprise data system. The governance mechanisms for ensure common customer data and service center include a common vision of the systems and the IT alignment with the business. The required metrics for that alignment is the sharing of the strategies and the objectives for both IT and business departments. The management should continue to focus on strong risk mitigation, business opportunities, as well as appropriate regulatory practices. Both It and business need to monitor continually the outcomes that are accruing from the merger so as to address any issues that may come up in the course of time. There will be a need for a steering committee that will have the mandate to oversee the progress of the common data and shared customer services. That committee will be reporting to the management periodically.
The steering committee should have a commitment towards ensuring proper monitoring of the strategic operations. RR communications will have to consolidate its data from multiple silos to a single data warehouse, and this will help them achieve the greatest benefit (Smaltz, 2011). They will have to formulate metrics with the idea of improving customer focus because they are the key to improved overall performance. The success of the implementation of the above strategies will not be possible without having appropriate metrics that link the objectives of both sides. The required metrics include putting the divisional data into the organizational structure and then focusing on the validity as well as the speed data.
Baum, J. & Singh, J. (1994). Organization-Environment Co-evolution.: Evolutionary dynamics of organizations (Eds). Oxford University Press, N.Y
Dvorak, B., Gonzales, C. & Reddy, R. (2013). The power of business and IT unification.
Khan, N. & Sikes, J. (2014). IT under pressure: McKinsey global results.
Laudon, K. & Laudon, J. (1995) Information Systems (3rd Ed.). Dryden Press, Fort Worth, TX.
McKeen, D. & Smith, A. (2011). IT Strategy; International edition (2nd Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
McKeen, J., & Smith, H. (2009). IT Strategy; Issues and Practices (2nd Edition ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Moss, L. & Brodie, M. (2002). Data Rich, but Information Poor?
Porter, M. (2008). The five competitive forces that shape strategy. Harvard business review.
Smaltz, H. (2011). Are You Leveraging Your Data or Is Your Data Leveraging You? HIT Exchange, pp. 8-9.
Smaltz, H. (2011). Are You Leveraging Your Data or Is Your Data Leveraging You? HIT Exchange, pp. 8-9.
Smith, A. & McKeen, D. (2007). Shared Services at RR Communications. Queens School of Business.
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