Service level agreements (SLA) are crucial to ASP buyers. SLAs create structure for the relationship and help both parties measure performance. But how do you write an SLA? How do you monitor them? Who is responsible for managing the SLAs?
Monthly Archives: February, 2001
Johnson & Johnson is the largest and most diversified healthcare company in the world. It manufactures world-renowned health care products and provides related services to consumers and pharmaceutical markets, selling products in more than 175 countries. With more than 190 operating companies in 51 nations, the company has more than 99,000 employees worldwide. It’s a human resources migraine, to be sure!
No doubt, you’ve seen the ads with the cupped hands ready to cradle your life. With the accompanying slogan, You’re in good hands with Allstate, one would naturally assume that customer satisfaction is a high priority with this insurance company. When it comes to outsourcing, though, you can bet that Allstate is in the good hands of its supplier, EDS. Larry Moser, Senior Marketing Manager at Allstate and Product Manager for its flood and mobile home lines, recalls that a decision was made in 1986 that Allstate would join the Write Your Own Flood Insurance Program. He says the company subsequently looked at its processing operation and realized that writing flood was a lot different from its other lines (auto, life, property) and decided to explore what opportunities there might be for the processing of the flood business.
Believe it or not, before the launch of Windows 95, the ledgers of Microsoft’s European entity, based in Ireland, looked dreadful. Mark Creighton, EMEA Credit and Collections Manager for Microsoft European Operations Centre, says the company decided to bring someone on board to clean it up before the launch of the new Windows product. French & Associates knocked on the door at just that time and was given the task. Their fee was based on a percentage of what they managed to collect, and Creighton (who was at that time part of the French team) recalls that it was far more successful than we ever had imagined.
Imagine that you own a retail gas store and the cash register goes down. You can’t sell gas or Twinkies. Now imagine, just for a moment, that you own over 1700 retail gas stores where this could happen. ARCO, a West Coast gasoline refiner and retailer, actually owns that many gas stores and a large convenience store network. Downtime can be disastrous, so ARCO outsourced its point-of-sale terminals to outsourcer, Getronics. When the Getronics help desk receives a call from one of the retail outlets, the staff diagnoses whether the fix will require a technician. If so, they must obtain the needed part from a depot, dispatch a technician to the site to install the part, and have it up and running within four hours from the time the call was placed — no matter how remote the location might be. It’s truly an extraordinary feat in logistics.
With technology requirements aimed squarely at their weakest point, yet with a goal to be the government’s choice to build 21st-century destroyers, BIW made the strategic decision to outsource all of its IT operations to Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). We felt CSC would be able to support us in our effort to achieve our goal of being a technology leader and could do it at the rate at which our customer would like to see it done. Bowie admits that BIW had blinders on when it outsourced in November 1996, not realizing the extent of technological advancement that would be required. The original contract spend was about $27 million, and it has now grown to include new services and a value of nearly $50 million over four years. Because its customer was driving certain initiatives, BIW found it needed new PCs for all employees so that they could do design work more efficiently and win more government contracts.
Birds of a feather flock together aptly describes the beginnings of the outsourcing relationship between Commonwealth Bank of Australia and its supplier-partner, EDS Australia. Both organizations are huge, both are global, both are renowned for the top-notch services they provide for their customers, and both fly on the wings of innovation when it comes to business ventures. Commonwealth is Australia’s largest domestic financial services organization (largest domestic bank, largest funds manager, largest online stockbroker, and among the largest insurance companies). It has more than 10 million customers, more than 110,000 location points, 3000 ATMs, 120,000 point-of-sale terminals, Internet banking, online telephone banking; and its Web site handles more than 10% of the total trades on the Australian stock exchange on any given day. 1,400 Commonwealth employees transferred to EDS when the October 1997 contract was signed.
Johnson & Johnson, the largest and most diversified healthcare company in the world. Deutsche Bank, one of the world’s leading investment banks. Boeing Company, a leader in the aerospace industry. Glaxo Wellcome, Inc., a leading research pharmaceutical firm. Rohm and Haas, a specialty chemical company. BP Amoco. Nokia. CNA Insurance. And PSEG, an electric and gas holding company in 13 countries. The roster of satisfied customers of outsourcer, Hewitt Associates, is a Who’s Who of leading world-class companies. Each of those companies recognizes the role their employees play in making their companies successful. They also recognize that their ability to recruit and retain high-caliber employees depends heavily on the benefits programs and quality of human resources services extended to employees.
The fourth largest steel company in the U.S., National Steel manufactures steel for the automotive, construction and tin container industries and has annual shipments of almost six million tons of flat rolled products. The company outsourced the housing and operation of its mainframe and data center services to IBM in November 1998 with a seven-year contract worth nearly $60 million. John Davis, CIO of National Steel, explains that they wanted to reallocate its human resources to solve National Steel problems, rather than technology problems. I wanted them working on solutions that would differentiate National Steel from other steel competitors, he says. The company has accomplished that and other goals, and their agreement has yielded far more than they asked for. But, after all, National Steel is no novice to outsourcing. In the 1980s, National Steel spun off its data center (which then became a part of ACS).
Medicaid is one of the most controversial, complicated and expensive programs in U.S. government. It’s very political, so there is a high level of interest, and there is also a lot of change going on in it all the time, says Peggy Bartels, Administrator of the State of Wisconsin’s Division of Health Care Financing. So any entity that provides outsourcing for Medicaid is going to be in a fishbowl environment. It’s very difficult. She explains that the process of reviewing and making determinations about whether or not Medicaid will fund services is all done under the very close supervision and administration of the State. Decisions are controversial. By being our business partner, the outsourcer invites the same criticism we receive, she adds. They’re in the bull’s eye, and it is a big challenge to do that kind of work and maintain a positive presence. Nevertheless, EDS took the challenge and has been the Medicaid fiscal agent in the State of Wisconsin since their outsourcing agreement began in 1977.