The first step toward implementation is to change the perception the presidents have about the merger of centers and data. The strategy I would suggest it presenting a three pronged approach. These three key advantages of the system will set a positive tone for the idea. They are financial, risk mitigation, and regulatory compliance. Here is a brief outline for those concepts:
• Removing the centers from the division realm will save them resources that would have gone toward audits.
• With data consolidation, through a single center, data can be mined to generate new business opportunities. An example could be a trend that 85% of customers with mobile services have internet services also. We can used focused marketing on the 15% and create revenue.
• Security practices can be monitored by a single entity and reduce the divisions specific IT needs. This translates into cost savings within the division by reduction of overhead. Further cost savings will be realized by not having divisional responsibility for storage and backup of data. Maintenance of related customer service center hardware may also be removed from the divisional level.
• The vision will need to match technical capabilities and creating a single customer service center is consistent with the vision. The vision is having one consistent brand for the organization so it is possible to cross-sell services. Having common information allows for the company as a whole to benefit from divisional ideas. It stretches the research dollars spent and all areas have the possibility to profit. Lowing the cost development and maintenance serves to aid the whole organization.
• By moving risk mitigation from the divisions to the central authority, which will have common security architecture and policies, it will be reviewed more often and kept current. Having common security protocol and procedures should reduce the risk of data breaches as well.
• The information will have to be structured in specific and standardized ways but with increasing legal concerns for accountability this type of process is necessary. By creating a single customer service center the information will be placed within a common framework.
• Having separate divisional IT service centers means having individual audits on their processes and financials. With enterprise architecture in place we can now take a look at the aggregated processes and streamline for regulatory compliance. Having a single customer service center in place can enhance business processes and ensure best practices are realized and implemented which in turn make audit durations shorter. By consolidating the divisional data auditors will only need to look in one place and the company will need fewer independent auditors. The auditors will also be able to coordinate more effectively.
• New systems and processes will cost less to test and can be developed with compliance as a key metric.
• The production hit that accompanies audits will move away from the division and the whole organization will benefit from better utilized divisional focus.
• In reference to separation of duties regulation if we have one service center we will only need two people for certain tasks but with divisional redundant service centers one shared task may need eight people total.
After laying out the advantages, a visioning exercise would take place to make sure the organization vision was understood and so the divisions could see how they fit into the process. A large goal of this is to make sure they know everyone will have a stake in the customer service center and any new initiatives will require documentation and training from the business units. As with all decisions this is another that the business will ultimately enable the success of. After the vision is agreed upon some guiding principles for how information sharing will effect and support the business should be drafted up. Ideally this will enhance the IT and business relationship and this must be communicated and shared. Couching it within the context of future opportunities will be another key element. For example with the company’s outsourcing options it is necessary to have all services together so one customer service center can handle all requests. Additionally it will be important to stress how the change will benefit the customers. By not having a unified call center customers have to be transferred to get other service needs met. This issue would be resolved. Also consolidating to one bill for the organization would improve the reputation and perception of the company. The future of the company must embrace information as a driver for business transformation. Governance will be comprised of all divisions and everyone will need to have a stake in the organization’s future. This move will bring IT and the business closer for decision making needs.
After getting the vision set a current inventory of hardware and software from the divisions should be collected. A gap analysis will be performed to see what lacks to make the vision a reality. Additionally it will be helpful to work in future plans and keep looking forward for example to plan the consolidation while keeping outsourcing options in mind. A further migration strategy will need to be created to go from the divisional centers to a single center. Finally a governance body will have to be formed while business and IT unity.