Culture shock. That’s not something most would expect conservative icon Rolls Royce to embrace, but that’s exactly what the company sought in its outsourcing relationship with EDS.
“We wanted a partner who would be sufficiently different from ourselves- one that would challenge some of our well-hallowed cultural foundations of the previous 25 years,” said Wal Budzynski, IT director for the Aerospace Group of Rolls Royce.
Cost containment was not an issue for Rolls Royce. The Aerospace Group wanted to achieve a major change in the way it addressed customer needs and responded to shareholders. Reaching those goals required adjustments in the group itself, so the company went looking for an outsourcer to serve as a catalyst for change.
“Actually facing an organization that has very different behavior patterns from ours, so that we could compare and contrast, was a very important issue,” said Budzynski.
The relationship began with questions. How could the expertise and intellectual property of Rolls Royce and EDS be leveraged to make a much more substantial impact on the perception of† Rolls Royce customers? Could the relationship deliver the kind of product the customer wants, of even higher quality than Rolls Royce has delivered historically? Could that product be delivered in a shorter time frame and at a much lower cost?
So far, said Budzynski, the answer to all those questions is yes.
That focus beyond IT is one of the reasons InfoServer recently recognized Rolls Royce and EDS with a “Most Visionary Relationship” award. EDS has succeeded in its role as a catalyst. Seeds of change are taking firm root in Rolls Royce’s business.
IT directors within each business unit have been appointed to engage directly with EDS on a day-to-day basis. Responsibility from the former centralized function has been devolved to each of the business units inside the Aerospace Group.
EDS has formed multidisciplinary teams with specific plans for processing needs and the parameters within Rolls Royce that will be impacted. From fiscal parameters such as increasing stock turn to customer service parameters such as improving time to market, the program is driven by clearly identified parameters.
EDS has more than a client relationship on the line. As a risk-sharing partner, the company gets paid for the business impacts it achieves for Rolls Royce.†
Budzynski expects the rewards from the relationship to be plentiful.† Positive responses are already coming from both internal and external Rolls Royce customers. “You can actually see that there’s going to be very substantial benefits that are going to grow from it,” he said.
The EDS and Rolls Royce relationship exemplifies the success that can be derived from being willing to think out of the box when planning an outsourcing agreement. Rolls Royce focused on business objectives, which took the company beyond just IT service levels. Then EDS and the Aerospace Group tackled the important issue of identifying a method of measuring the impact of outsourcing on business and customer service. Finally, Rolls Royce gave
EDS an additional incentive by bringing the outsourcer on board as a true risk-sharing partner.
“It’s human nature to be more motivated when your own skin is in the game,” said Budzynski.
As the relationship took shape, the melding of two diverse corporate cultures stimulated change that is driving new levels of achievement.
“You know the saying goes you can’t make an omelet without cracking eggs,” said Budzynski. “There’s a lot of egg shells around Rolls Royce, but we’re loving the omelets.”
Lessons from the Outsourcing Primer:
- Be willing to change your corporate culture, if necessary.
- Focus on business objectives beyond just IT.
- Establish methods of measurement for success.
- Consider making your outsourcer a risk-sharing partner.