Building Shared Services at RR Communications

Summary

Ross Roman, the founder of the company RR, made Vince an irresistible offer to transform IT to enable the company to introduce new products faster. The company’s products had decreased in value while there was increased competition in the telecommunication industry due to deregulations. Most of the customers complained about multiple bills for the products. The organization wanted to have a flexible and responsive IT department that would create a simple little bill for each customer.

Although Vince was competent in IT, the company’s system was not easy to manage. The organization lacked centralization though there were divisional units responsible for basic business operations. Every unit had its hardware and software hence it was difficult to introduce a centralized system. Numerous sales systems, databases, and customer service centers would suffer in case of a centralized system. The company had issues with the telecommunication regulators and software vendors because it did not provide legal information about the company’s activities. The DIOs were suspicious about changing the system to a single unit since they were awarded based on the performance of their divisions. They thought a centralized system would increase bureaucracy and reduce their freedom. Therefore, the changing process was a challenge because Vince had theoretical support, but practically, he did not have the capacity to implement it. He had to redesign the company’s internal computer infrastructure to use a set of standardized technologies. Radical reduction of the number of suppliers and centralized procurement were essential to simplify and standardize the system.

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Matt Dawes did everything he could to undermine Vince’s vision by making sure that the users caused maximum protest that got to Roman’s office. Vince was able to convince them about the importance of changing the system arguing that it was a legal compliance requirement for software licensing agreement. Dawes and Larry tried to sabotage him again by adopting the manufacturer’s customer relationship management (CRM) secretly. Vince noticed it and denied them access to the company’s hardware. Consequently, they created a steering committee to avoid other rogue projects. The committee was responsible for ensuring that the system was working for the entire organization. Vince knew that managing data and customers were the best things for RR, but he did not know how to convince the other employees.

Advantages of a Single Customer Service Center

The introduction of a single unit will enable the customers to receive a single bill instead of multiple bills that the company has been giving for every product. It will also enable the customers to receive a wide range of products from RR. Moreover, a single customer service center will also create a centralized communication place hence making it easy to receive necessary information about the products. When a single service center is developed, the customers will be able to call one place to receive the products.

The Strategy that Guarantees the Support of the Divisional Presidents for the Shared Customer Service

The RR management used the worst method to implement changes in the company. Firing the employees to have a new IT system threatened the DIOs’ job security. The best strategy was to communicate the need to have a centralized system. Vince would have sold the idea about the importance of changing the system to the divisional presidents, which would be beneficial for both the clients and the company. Instead of forcing the department to embrace the changes, he could have shown them the essence of having those changes. Nevertheless, the implementation had to be done in phases to allow the presidents to see the benefit, which in turn would reduce their resistance. Another strategy was to assure the presidents that the system would not hinder their freedom. Therefore, the management could have given them the motivation to enable them to embrace the system.

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Enterprise Vision with a Decentralized IT Function

The vision of the RR Company cannot be achieved with the decentralized system because the divisional staff is not competent in data management. In addition, the decentralized system cannot facilitate a single service center where the customers can receive the information related to the RR products. Furthermore, it is difficult for the company to have an adequate database with the relevant information. A decentralized system involves a lot of duplication of effort resulting in a bulkiness of the information stored. The managers, therefore, may not counter-check the database frequently.

Business and IT Problem of Decentralized System

An organization with a decentralized IT system lacks control over the use of established technology and vendors. It is impossible to integrate the software and hardware and therefore, the company incurs high costs of maintaining the IT system. The business is likely to experience conflicts of interest among the divisional units that can cause delays and inefficiency. It may also lead to high expenses since there is sufficient duplication of efforts. The leaders of the departments may lack adequate knowledge of the IT system and thus, their subordinates may make decisions that are detrimental to business. Again, decentralization limits information sharing, reduces support for the business processes and transactions, and eliminates the link between the customers and business information. Moreover, in the case of a decentralized IT system, the business has the challenge of storing and retrieving information.

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Governance Mechanisms

The governance mechanism that RR must put in place to ensure common customer data and a shared customer service center is creating a single domain. The domain should have centralized information to deliver to the clients. It should be useful to enable customers to communicate with the company. All messages received from the customers should be checked before passing to the relevant authority.

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