Home > Articles

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Practical World

Many of my friends and colleagues work in the IT industry. Many work in service organizations and quite a few work in IT groups of large corporations. We have had several discussions on the concept of ownership and with every conversation, a new challenge arises. The real world is far murkier than the pristine idealism of cooperation and partnership.

Competing Priorities

These days, customers commonly ask for key project personnel to be mentioned in the contract. However, a “seasoned” service organization manager would never put his stars on that list. In fact, delivery managers take pride in ensuring that the real performers of the team do not get caught into the contract trap. The moment the incumbent team’s management realizes that they are losing business, they will focus all their efforts on finding new pastures where better business opportunities may exist. This is a classic case of competing priorities. In an Agile paradigm, teams need to spend time in handing over ownership, but if the parent organization of the incumbent has a conflicting interest and seeks to pull out key members, this will never occur. There are no easy answers to this practical problem, and most often, the issue cannot be resolved using contracts. Customer organizations need to think from the viewpoint of the incumbent vendor and understand what would appeal to them and keep them on-board. In our case, the EuroT CIO himself suggested that we use this exercise as a way to build a center of excellence on knowledge transfer. That sounded ambitious to many of us. Some of us had already experienced knowledge transfers in prior engagements, but the opportunity to look upon this as a discipline in itself and elevate it to a higher order added a new level of enthusiasm. Since then, we have carried over what we have learned as we moved on to other engagements.

Rebadging

A transition often means hiring some of the employees from the incumbent organization. The industry-accepted term for this is rebadging. Rebadging derisks the program and application to a great extent. However, rebadging can also have its pitfalls. Employees may not be ready for a rebadge. The good ones may find better options and move on. In most cases, employees may not be happy with a move from a customer organization to a vendor organization, for example, or across vendors. Personal equations and egos get in the way. Eventually these people quit, taking their knowledge with them.

However, rebadging has become an accepted norm. Many of my colleagues vouch for the efficacy of this practice. In reality, what these organizations are doing is buying more time for their intended team to build context. The members who have been rebadged will go through a completely different transition—a new organization, a new culture, and perhaps a different career path. Many may have transferred to the incumbent because it seemed to be the safest option at that time; but most will reconsider.

A client with an Agile organizational culture would have a fairly sound idea of the real performers from the incumbent. The incumbent management runs the risk of losing some of these employees if the client or the new vendor decides to make offers. These types of situations can become lose-lose very quickly. Therefore, it’s in everyone’s interest to sit down and make a commitment to make the transfer successful.

The Evolving Nature of the Program

Areker Bank is one of the largest banks in the U.S. Their current banking platform, named Lothar, has been running for the last thirty years. Over time, their customer demographics began to change. Customers had become more connected, empowered, and demanding. The bank implemented a next-generation banking product to serve this new-age customer—Banker, a product of Sofa Technologies, one of the largest software companies in the world. This program was christened as Nerup.

Areker planned to utilize Agile methodologies for the implementation. They took over direct responsibility for implementing Banker from Sofa. Areker engaged LeanAgile, Inc. in the transition program. The plan was for LeanAgile to take over the Banker product implementation from Sofa within a span of six months, but as the engagement progressed, they realized that Sofa Technologies brought deep product knowledge, something that neither Areker nor LeanAgile would be able to pick up within six months. Because this was still a fairly new product, only personnel within Sofa technologies had enough knowledge of the product to effectively implement it. Such skills were not available elsewhere in the market.

As this realization dawned on the parties, they extended their engagement with Sofa Technologies. The teams have now been working on Banker implementation for more than two years. Even to this day, the implementation team is largely comprised of Sofa engineers. They were able to change course because at some level they were following the Lean principle to defer commitment.3 This principle states that decisions must be frozen as late as possible in the process, especially those decisions that become irreversible. If they had made up their minds to take over and sealed down contracts and timelines accordingly, the banking system would have crashed, and most likely Areker Bank would have gone out of business.

Politics

Most IT organizations take a radically different approach than what Areker Bank chose. Knowledge transfer often begins with a surreptitious agreement between the customer and the new vendor. This period sees heavy negotiations. The client is keen to get good rates and a robust set of SLAs (service level agreements).4 The vendor is keen to win the business. All of the negotiations are centered around rates, the SLAs, and how soon one can take over. In effect, all of the negotiations are about improving IT efficiency. There is little to no focus on business outcome. The vendor uses their prior knowledge with similar engagements to negotiate. The client uses their historical experience with the incumbent to negotiate. All through the process, both IT parties overlook the purpose of the product.

Unfortunately, these discussions and the negotiated contract are what drive team behavior. Given the need for discretion, both the client and vendor make many assumptions about the product and the environment in which it will be used. The vendor is most interested in winning the account and making a sustained profit on the account. The IT organization is looking to drive down costs and maintain SLAs. Teams are trained to show their SLAs are within limits. If the product fails, it could be marketing’s fault or the business team’s mistake because they did not know what their customer wanted. However, the IT organization and the vendor are happy if they are within their SLAs.

After the contract is signed, the onus is upon the incumbent. The obvious reflex is to resist and turn hostile. Even if the technical team on the ground is open to help, the incumbent’s management might make it as difficult as possible. The incumbent account manager might be worried about his job. Last-ditch efforts are made to win back confidence. A number of concessions are provided. However, given that the client and the new vendor have signed what is considered a rock-solid contract, there is no wiggle room for the incumbent. When this becomes obvious, the incumbent management may lose interest. They might try to pull out their best members to focus on “rising accounts.” And so, all of the team’s and management’s energy goes into getting everyone to interact in a productive manner. Driving this behavior creates a lot of waste in the system. Nine times out of ten, the clauses mentioned in the contract will fall through. The SLAs become unachievable. Many of the original assumptions turn out to be wrong. The product suffers.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020