Migration Methodologies of Transition Management

One the decisions that the Transition Manager needs to make in devising the migration strategy is weather the process needs to be re-engineered before it is migrated, or afterwards. This decision depends on the complexity of the process, and the extent of change the process is undergoing. For example, if the systems used in the existing process are changing, and that would result in changes in the way the function is performed, migrating the function in its present state would not be useful.

Generally, 2 common methodologies are followed in migrating a function – ‘Pick-and-drop’, and ‘re-engineer and migrate’.

1. Pick-and-drop – This is the most common methodology used. When the process is mature, the ‘Pick and drop’ approach is used for migrating. Under this, the process is migrated on an ‘as is’ basis. This approach has some clear advantages:

  • Training the new team is easier, as the process is well understood and documented
  • Existing employees at the donor location are available to support the process in case of disruptions or instability
  • A fresh set of eyes (the new team) look at the process from a fresh perspective, often resulting in process improvements and enhanced controls

2. Re-engineer and migrate – this approach is useful when the process is either broken and requires fixing, or is due to undergo significant change in the near future(systems change or process change). In such cases, it may be important to utilize the expertise of the existing team (which is built over several years) to drive the change, before it is handed over to the new team.

Key focus Areas of Transition Management

When implementing the project, the Transition Manager may be required to play various roles – she may be required to help in the hiring process, in testing of technology build, or in creation of detailed training documentation. In such a situation, it is easy to lose sight of those areas that contribute significantly towards making the project a success. Some such key focus areas are:

1. Effective framework for tracking project progress – A migration project typically involves working with various teams representing different areas. For example, the transition manager has to deal with the legal teams to execute the Service Level Agreement (SLA), technology teams, donor teams, HR, new hires that will pick up the process, facilities and infrastructure team, etc. To monitor the progress of all these teams, an effective framework is required. Thus, the transition manager should develop a detailed project plan and scorecard to monitor progress and flag issues as they arise.

2. Focus on training – Training is the most critical piece of the migration process. When adequate time and effort is not spent on training the new team and developing detailed procedures and flowcharts, the process takes much longer to mature with the new team.

To ensure that adequate importance is given to training, there is a need to create a separate, day-to-day training plan. A comprehensive training program also includes on-job training and adequate parallel processing time. Besides this, the task of training should be given to employees who are expert in the process, and also have good communication skills – often, training may be conducted by an qualified trainer who facilitates the process, while experts in the process contribute. Training also requires close monitoring and frequent assessment.

3. Watch out for Compliance related issues – Most functions involve clearances from compliance agencies before they can be off-shored. These clearances vary in degree and complexity depending on the function. For example, moving a call centre offshore would require basic sign-off from the Company’s legal department, while off-shoring functions that provide access to Private Banking data would require a nod from various central banks and monitoring agencies.

A Transition Manager should spend time understanding these requirements, and begin working on these upfront, to avoid potential delays at a later stage. Some of the compliance related points that the Transition manager would have to work on include:

  • Ensuring compliance with the Company’s internal compliance policies.
  • Understanding the role that external agencies would play in the off-shoring process (For example, clearances need to obtained from the central bank in various countries, before any banking role can be off-shored).
  • Understand the role that external agencies would play in the country where the off-shore team would be located. For example, in India, to set up a call centre permissions from the telecom authorities and the Software Technology Parks authority is required.
  • Understand the implications that off-shoring would have on Sarbanes Oxley compliance for the Company.

4. Develop an operating model – see above.

5. Develop a measurement framework – Its important to measure the performance of the new constantly. A comprehensive performance measurement enables assessment of the teams performance on objective, measurable criterion.

Metrics serve another important function: they take the emotion related to outsourcing out of any discussion by focusing on the facts.

6. Partnering with various groups – An outsourcing project requires inputs and efforts of various teams. And the project runs as effectively as the partnering between these teams. While each of these teams have a defined role in the project, the Transition Manager has to ensure that the partnering between them is effective. This requires effective monitoring, developing a relationship with each team, and escalating issues when required.

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