Collaborative Partnership Supports P&G’s Customer Focus

collaboration, partnership.2014 Outsourcing Excellence Awards

Most Collaborative

Procter & Gamble and Infosys BPO

“We look at partners differently, selecting partners who strive for innovative solutions.  Supporting each strategic partner is a deliberate process that facilitates a unique, collaborative relationship.”

Damon Frost, Director, Global Business Services, Procter & Gamble

With hundreds of the world’s best known brands, serving customers in more than 180 countries and territories through a network of distribution channel partners, P&G has a long history of innovation.  This innovation goes beyond its products, extending purposely to IT and business services under the leadership of a strategic thinker, Filippo Passerini, Group President, Global Business Services & Chief Information Officer, P&G.

To help create a bigger pie for itself and its partners, P&G created a strategic partnership framework that fostered a new level of innovation and collaboration.  By selecting several strategic partners that operate within this framework, P&G’s Global Business Services (GBS) has transformed the way business is done including helping brand managers across the business focus on their core capabilities to serve the end customer.

Five years ago, GBS identified an opportunity to significantly improve productivity by implementing a simplified business reporting structure.  “This new reporting shared services structure (RESS) had to contain the same data brand managers expected in their business intelligence reports but in new ways that eliminated the fragmented structure and customization that added cost to the business,” stated Damon Frost, Director, Global Business Services, P&G.

Delivering unexpected results

It was not efficient to have each business unit handle their own reporting and this proved to be a significant challenge given the size and scope of P&G’s portfolio and global reach. GBS knew they needed a partner who was willing bring innovation and create relationships without borders.

But before engaging a partner, GBS leaders took time to clearly define the project scope by improving documentation and communication about the planned reporting changes. Once key business unit stakeholders understood the rational for the changes as well as business benefits, GBS looked for a partner who was willing to build bonds in the trenches and meet their expectations for productivity gains.   Infosys proved they were up to the challenge.

From the start of the relationship, Infosys understood the importance of immersing itself in P&G’s business.  “By shadowing local managers, organizing virtual and on-site training, and embedding RESS  across the business value chain including order management and commercial spending, we were able to jointly unlock hidden value beyond the contracted reporting relationship,” recalled Frost.  Infosys refers to this as their BVA (Business Value Articulation) methodology—a process that helps them understand customers’ pain points and address them positively.

Additionally, both sides were not prepared for the substantial changes in technological platforms that made current P&G processes obsolete. “We had to re-assess the investments needed to make the delivery feasible. By making some tough choices with Infosys, we were able to excel when things looked bleak,” Frost noted.

With the platforms in place, the collaborative team turned its attention to quickly scaling to achieve higher levels of service.  New businesses were on-boarded as well as other vendors so P&G could strengthen its focus on the end customer.  “One innovation was the creation of a knowledge management portal, which resulted in improved on-boarding and process standardization,” said Frost.

Showing its ability to overcoming these early challenges helped P&G decide to add other processes to the scope of the agreement with Infosys—going from report delivery to report setup, optimization, and backward integration towards data delivery.

Key characteristics to creating innovative collaboration

P&G’s GBS team has learned through experience that strategic partnerships require not only an innovative mindset and win-win attitude—they need a tangible structure.  Frost listed four key ingredients to this structure.

  1. Joint Business Plans (JBP): Guarantees that the direction from the top is very clear through aligned goals and regular leadership reviews.
  2. Ownership:  Ensures that you own controllable and non-controllable issues to the extent that you can positively influence the business.
  3. End Customer Delight:  Always keeping in mind the end customer.
  4. Operational Discipline: A robust operations, governance framework helps deliver on the execution aspects.

“Our JBPs are part of a deliberate process that includes quarterly working level meetings where we review all business measurements, key projects and key innovations,” stated Frost.  These meetings, which include the P&G GBS relationship manager, the provider Operations Head, process managers from both sides, and business unit leads, add clarity and ensure the right level of engagement to work through barriers.  A tangible benefit of these meetings included joint business strategies that drove ownership into various teams such as planning and execution resources.

GBS has also benefitted by eliminating approximately 10,000 reports and adding support for mobile device reporting to allow business unit managers to view reports on the go.

Together, Infosys and P&G have been able to gather the reporting requirements across all of P&G’s global locations and have successfully provided a strong centralized, scalable reporting operations setup. Through the strength of the relationship, they have fostered and nurtured a culture of excellence, innovation and teamwork with proven results.

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