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Partnering RelationshipsCase Study<br />10 January 2011<br />
Table of Contents<br />Background and context<br />Diagnosis<br />The Partnering Journey<br />Follow up health check<br />...
The relationship was a long-standing one, but mired in under- performance<br />Background<br />Relationship began as a str...
Turnover of IBM leader and management team – few with any length of experience
Contract was coming up for renewal
Client satisfaction was low
Operational performance was poor, with SLAs routinely missed
Disruptions caused business losses and customer service issues for partner
Contract was financially poor for IBM
IBM staff satisfaction was very low, with issues of health and retention
A large IT transformation program was underway with business-critical deadlines</li></ul>19/01/2011<br />
It was decided to initiate a partnering program commencing with a survey and executive interviews<br />The IBM Leader had ...
Prepare plan
Define measures</li></ul>Pulse Survey<br />Analyse data<br />19/01/2011<br />
The IBM Relationship Pulse Survey was used to ensure reliability and validity<br />5<br /><ul><li>The survey consists of 3...
There was provision for free text comments in each section
The response design was forced choice, i.e. there was no neutral option</li></ul>19/01/2011<br />
There was an extensive range of data captured and analysed – executive interviews, surveys and comments<br />6<br /><ul><l...
About half of  those who responded also provided comments
People had something to say and wanted to say it !
The detailed report ran to 55 pages
An Executive Summary was used to brief the leadership team
Other versions were prepared for specific audiences</li></ul>19/01/2011<br />
7<br />Overall Partner and IBM staff have a consistent negative perception of the relationship health<br />1. Mutual Benef...
8<br />Things senior managers are most negative about…<br />- ’ve<br />+ ’ve<br />1<br />2<br />3<br />4<br />5<br />6<br ...
9<br />Both sets of senior managers are strongly negative about achieving the strategic intent of the relationship <br />-...
“IBM are doing the basic tasks to deliver the contract.  IBM should be trusted  partners / advisors but are performing lik...
“IBM acts to demonstrate that IBM success is more important than, and separate from, Partner’s expectations from the busin...
“A 'Partnership' requires trust and a mindset/attitude/behaviour which supports the 'Partnership' model. The current minds...
“Individuals from both organisations have grown into an us and them mentality which is difficult to break down.  The ongoi...
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Partnering case study

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This is a Case Study featuring the improvement in the relationship and business outcomes for IBM and a large partner.

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Partnering case study

  1. 1. Partnering RelationshipsCase Study<br />10 January 2011<br />
  2. 2. Table of Contents<br />Background and context<br />Diagnosis<br />The Partnering Journey<br />Follow up health check<br />Realising the value<br />References<br />2<br />19/01/2011<br />
  3. 3. The relationship was a long-standing one, but mired in under- performance<br />Background<br />Relationship began as a strategic outsourcing deal to outsource IT Operations to IBM<br />Seen as ground breaking at the time of the deal more than 10 years ago<br />IBM took in a large number of partner staff and over time strongly inculcated them with the IBM culture and values<br />There was no formal or structured partnering relationship development activities prior to this intervention, although there had been numerous discussions<br />There had been numerous changes to the senior management and leaders of both partners<br />Operational performance had consistently failed to meet SLAs and client satisfaction had consistently been low<br />3<br />Recent Status<br /><ul><li>Turnover of partner leader and management team – only 1 with more than 12 months experience in current role
  4. 4. Turnover of IBM leader and management team – few with any length of experience
  5. 5. Contract was coming up for renewal
  6. 6. Client satisfaction was low
  7. 7. Operational performance was poor, with SLAs routinely missed
  8. 8. Disruptions caused business losses and customer service issues for partner
  9. 9. Contract was financially poor for IBM
  10. 10. IBM staff satisfaction was very low, with issues of health and retention
  11. 11. A large IT transformation program was underway with business-critical deadlines</li></ul>19/01/2011<br />
  12. 12. It was decided to initiate a partnering program commencing with a survey and executive interviews<br />The IBM Leader had previous experience with IBM’s Relationship Alignment Method and was a strong advocate – also funding the program<br />There was joint sponsorship, with each partner committing a senior resource to drive the program<br />4<br />Joint Leadership Team Kick-off meeting<br />Partner teams execute plans<br />Alignment Workshop<br />Summary Report<br />Conduct Interviews<br />Lock in sponsorship<br />Prepare Alignment Workshop<br /><ul><li>Consolidate actions
  13. 13. Prepare plan
  14. 14. Define measures</li></ul>Pulse Survey<br />Analyse data<br />19/01/2011<br />
  15. 15. The IBM Relationship Pulse Survey was used to ensure reliability and validity<br />5<br /><ul><li>The survey consists of 38 questions (plus demographic questions) organised around the six determinants of effective partnering
  16. 16. There was provision for free text comments in each section
  17. 17. The response design was forced choice, i.e. there was no neutral option</li></ul>19/01/2011<br />
  18. 18. There was an extensive range of data captured and analysed – executive interviews, surveys and comments<br />6<br /><ul><li>The response rate to the survey was high – just over 75%
  19. 19. About half of those who responded also provided comments
  20. 20. People had something to say and wanted to say it !
  21. 21. The detailed report ran to 55 pages
  22. 22. An Executive Summary was used to brief the leadership team
  23. 23. Other versions were prepared for specific audiences</li></ul>19/01/2011<br />
  24. 24. 7<br />Overall Partner and IBM staff have a consistent negative perception of the relationship health<br />1. Mutual Benefits<br />2. Commitment<br />3. Mindset<br />4. Shared Knowledge<br />5. Complementary Competencies<br />6. Linkage<br />n = 122<br />Responses of 1, 2 or 3 were negative. Responses of 4, 5 or 6 were positive. The neutral point is 3.5.<br />19/01/2011<br />
  25. 25. 8<br />Things senior managers are most negative about…<br />- ’ve<br />+ ’ve<br />1<br />2<br />3<br />4<br />5<br />6<br />1.61<br />Q3.1<br />The term “trust” characterises this relationship well.<br />1.79<br />Q 1.2<br />Both Partner and IBM share fairly the risks and rewards.<br />1.94<br />Q 4.4<br />Partner and IBM management and operating styles are widely compatible.<br />Q 6.3<br />1.94<br />Both orgs are linked through effective and efficient processes that support the relationship purpose and… <br />Q 1.1<br />1.95<br />The business relationship is creating the value expected by both Partner and IBM.<br />Q 2.5<br />2.00<br />Changes to the business agreement (contract) are routinely and fairly implemented without undue stress.<br />2.06<br />Q4.7<br />Communication between both organisations is open and effective.<br />n = 19<br />19/01/2011<br />
  26. 26. 9<br />Both sets of senior managers are strongly negative about achieving the strategic intent of the relationship <br />- ’ve<br />+ ’ve<br />Comments Related to Intent<br /><ul><li>“I feel that the relationship between the IBM and Partner is not one of partnership, but one of body shopping and very little value add.” IBM Senior Mgr
  27. 27. “IBM are doing the basic tasks to deliver the contract. IBM should be trusted partners / advisors but are performing like paid suppliers with a basic low cost contract.” Partner Senior Mgr
  28. 28. “IBM acts to demonstrate that IBM success is more important than, and separate from, Partner’s expectations from the business relationship.” Partner Manager
  29. 29. “A 'Partnership' requires trust and a mindset/attitude/behaviour which supports the 'Partnership' model. The current mindset/attitude on the Partner/IBM relationship is one of Master/Slave.” IBM Mgr
  30. 30. “Individuals from both organisations have grown into an us and them mentality which is difficult to break down. The ongoing lack of an effective working relationship has eroded what trust has existed in the past to the point that many people are planning for failure of the relationship.” Partner Senior Mgr</li></ul>n = 19<br />n = 7<br />- ’ve<br />+ ’ve<br />19/01/2011<br />
  31. 31. 10<br />The key points arising from the survey can be summarised as: <br />There is an overwhelmingly negative perception of the health of the relationship in all dimensions except “Complementary Competencies”. <br />Results are very consistent between the organisations and role groups, with variation mainly in the degree of negative perception. IBM team members are the only role group with more than half the group having positive perceptions.<br />Partner are most negative about the lack of equity they are getting in the relationship.<br />IBM are most negative about poor financial outcomes from the relationship.<br />Both Partner and IBM think the other is benefiting disproportionately.<br />Senior managers are virtually unanimous in having a very negative perception of the current health of the relationship.<br />The very negative disposition toward “Mutual Benefits” and “Commitment” indicate a belief that neither Partner nor IBM is committed to a long-term partnering style relationship.<br />Trust and mutual respect are lacking – more so at senior manager level. The intensity of negative perceptions will make it difficult for senior managers to “talk up” the relationship with any conviction or credibility.<br />Managers and team members from both Partner and IBM are much less negative than senior managers.<br />There is some variation in scores between the Partner business units, but only one is consistently positive.<br />19/01/2011<br />
  32. 32. The joint leadership team resolved to act to improve the relationship health and business outcomes<br />11<br />Briefing for IBM and Partner Leaders<br /><ul><li>Present results
  33. 33. Confirm planned approach
  34. 34. Commit to support initiatives</li></ul>Planning Workshop with joint Leadership Team<br /><ul><li>Prepare a ‘Plan on a Page’ for each initiative – Description, Objectives, Key Actions, Deliverables, Responsibilities
  35. 35. Schedule working sessions and reviews
  36. 36. Present plans to Partner and IBM leaders</li></ul>Workshop with joint Leadership Team<br /><ul><li>Review the Partnering model
  37. 37. Present results
  38. 38. Discuss and validate results
  39. 39. Commit to action
  40. 40. Identify and prioritise improvement initiatives
  41. 41. Allocate members of the joint leadership team to initiatives</li></ul>19/01/2011<br />
  42. 42. 12<br />The Joint Leadership Team chose four initiatives to work on, with all members involved in at least one<br />Initiative: Relationship Charter<br />Description<br /><ul><li>Clarify the relationship:
  43. 43. Vision
  44. 44. Goals
  45. 45. Expectations
  46. 46. Roles and Responsibilities
  47. 47. Award & Recognition</li></ul>Initiative: Shared Information<br />Description<br /><ul><li>Ensure relevant IBM and Partner people have access to general partner information and role specific information;
  48. 48. Determine Partner & IBM requirements by role;
  49. 49. Provide access channels;
  50. 50. Provide minimum required content;
  51. 51. Alert existing staff to new capability through ‘Communication’ stream;
  52. 52. Update induction processes.</li></ul>Initiative: Collaborative Culture<br />Description<br /><ul><li>Promote more genuine collaboration between Partner & IBM to achieve business outcomes for Partner
  53. 53. Sponsor improved methods of “virtual co-location”
  54. 54. Clarify the purpose of Governance meetings</li></ul>Initiative: Communications Plan<br />Description<br /><ul><li>Drive mutual understanding of relationship and contract intent
  55. 55. Joint recognition / feedback on great performance</li></ul>19/01/2011<br />
  56. 56. 13<br />The teams worked throughout 2009, completing the majority of their programs<br />SharedKnowledge<br /><ul><li>Relationship gaps action plan (operational)
  57. 57. Relationship expectations developed (operational)
  58. 58. Joint communications strategy validated
  59. 59. Shared knowledge matrix & education</li></ul>2010 focus on “relationship over time” & “strategic long-term”<br />Mutual<br />Benefits<br /><ul><li>Delivery organisational alignment
  60. 60. Combined education in Incident Mgmt
  61. 61. Communication of successful teaming/collaboration
  62. 62. Joint project methodology published</li></ul>DistinctiveCompetencies<br />Commitment<br /><ul><li>Passion for Delivery Workshops
  63. 63. Joint executive podcast
  64. 64. Relationship gaps action plan (operational)
  65. 65. Relationship expectations developed (operational)
  66. 66. Key IBM staff provided with message bank
  67. 67. Key IBM staff desk phones diverted to mobiles
  68. 68. Co-location pilots conducted
  69. 69. Health Checks in place
  70. 70. Instant messaging pilot
  71. 71. Common “team room” trial
  72. 72. IBM contacts circulated within Partner
  73. 73. Virtual co-location and collaboration
  74. 74. Shared organisational charts</li></ul>Linkage<br />Pre-disposition<br />19/01/2011<br />
  75. 75. In addition there were a number of other ‘business’ initiatives, and two in particular had a crucial impact<br />14<br />Operational Performance Improvement Program<br /><ul><li>Under-performance in key SLA areas has long bin a source dissatisfaction and relationship tension
  76. 76. Many prior attempts to stabilise performance have ultimately proven unsuccessful
  77. 77. Senior IBM manager brought into the role and given responsibility
  78. 78. Worked with Partner managers and staff to deeply understand issues, consequences and Partner priorities
  79. 79. Absolute and unequivocal support from leaders
  80. 80. By early 2010 had achieved a first ‘all green’ monthly performance report
  81. 81. Improved performance sustained through the 1st half of 2010</li></ul>Contract Resigning – Education Program<br /><ul><li>As part of contract renewal, funding was allocated to training and cultural alignment of IBM staff working with Partner staff
  82. 82. Part of the program approach based on ‘right Vs right’, i.e. business scenario based narratives that contrast how two vastly different responses are each right in the context of ones company culture, but not in the partner’s culture
  83. 83. Both Partner and IBM were also running various other related initiatives, e.g. values, client orientation, talent development, leadership development</li></ul>Right vs. Right drawn from “Insights from IBM’s Tangible Culture Approach”, Sara J Moulton Reger (2006)<br />http://www.tangibleculture.com/<br />19/01/2011<br />
  84. 84. The 2010 Partnering Program commenced with a repeat of the survey to aid planning for a new range of initiatives<br />15<br />Relationship Pulse Survey<br /><ul><li>Measure effectiveness of Partnering Program and related business initiatives
  85. 85. Assess the current health of the relationship
  86. 86. Identify aspects requiring attention for the 2010 Partnering Program</li></ul>The Roadmap<br /><ul><li>Map progress made to date against the Roadmap
  87. 87. Jointly determine 2010 priorities, within “horizontal consistency’ and vertical progression’ parameters
  88. 88. Validate 2009 intent to focus more on strategic / longer term dimensions in 2010/11
  89. 89. Vertical Progression
  90. 90. Horizontal Consistency</li></ul>19/01/2011<br />
  91. 91. In a marked contrast to 2008, Partner and IBM staff have a consistent, positive perception of the relationship health<br />2010<br />n = 108<br />2010 – Both Partner and IBM have a positive perception across all six dimensions<br />1. Mutual Benefits<br />2. Commitment<br />3. Mindset<br />4. Shared Knowledge<br />5. Complementary Competencies<br />2008<br />6. Linkage<br />19/01/2011<br />16<br />
  92. 92. The majority of people from both partners now have a positive perception of the relationship health<br />19/01/2011<br />The most frequent response to questions by the Partner’s people was a positive response<br />2010<br />Overall the perception has moved from negative to positive<br />2008<br />Nb. Numbers in red indicate a negative perception, i.e. below the neutral figure of 3.5<br />1, 2 or 3 is a negative perception<br />4, 5 or 6 is a positive perception<br />17<br />
  93. 93. Areas of biggest improvement are...<br />19/01/2011<br />18<br />Partner<br />
  94. 94. Senior Managers are now much less negative about the intent of the relationship<br />19<br />19/01/2011<br />2010<br />2008<br />- ‘ve<br />+ ‘ve<br /><ul><li>Partner senior managers perception of the value created improved from an average of just 1.43 in 2008 (1.00 is the lowest possible) to 3.20 in 2010 – although that is still slightly negative
  95. 95. Partner and IBM senior managers share a relatively consistent view of all intent-related questions, be it negative or positive
  96. 96. In 2008 Partner’s most frequent response was strongly negative or negative for all these questions, whereas in 2010 none were worse than slightly negative
  97. 97. “There are encouraging signs that value creation is improving.” IBM Senior Manager</li></li></ul><li>Managers are now beginning to be positive about how Partner and IBM are working together<br />2008<br />2010<br /><ul><li>Both sets of managers are positive or at least neutral about how Partner and IBM are now working together, whereas it was almost entirely negative in 2008
  98. 98. Partner and IBM managers share a relatively consistent view of all working together related questions, perhaps except for ‘shooting the messenger’ and ‘blame game’
  99. 99. “While the people we work with face-to-face appear to have our best interests at heart, getting actions done in the background is difficult.”Partner Senior Manager
  100. 100. “There has been a great deal of improvement over the last 12 months. There are ‘green shoots’ of trust and I expect this to accelerate over the next few months.” IBM Senior Manager</li></ul>19/01/2011<br />20<br />2010<br />- ‘ve<br />+ ‘ve<br />- ‘ve<br />+ ‘ve<br />
  101. 101. However, effectiveness is lagging intent and working well together<br />2008<br />2010<br /><ul><li>Overall the perception about effectiveness-related matters has improved significantly
  102. 102. However, Partner senior managers and managers remain slightly negative about most aspects, probably reflecting both the lag in changes made translating into better outcomes and also a bit of ‘wait and see if it is sustained’ before confirming
  103. 103. IBM senior managers and managers are slightly positive about most aspects and positive about the skills and competence of people deployed to projects (where a difference of view has opened up)
  104. 104. “Often successful collaboration depends on the individuals involved and not the culture or processes of the two organisations.”Partner Manager</li></ul>19/01/2011<br />21<br />- ‘ve<br />+ ‘ve<br />- ‘ve<br />+ ‘ve<br />
  105. 105. Trust within the relationship has improved, and with the acute negative intensity dissipating<br />2008<br />2010<br /><ul><li>22% of all managers rated trust as a strong negative or negative compared with 53% in 2008
  106. 106. Only one person rated trust as a strong negative compared with 22 people in 2008
  107. 107. However, trust remains an issue with the most frequent response “negative” by both groups, although the average rating did increase by 0.87 in the Partner group and by 0.82 in IBM
  108. 108. “I feel there is an increasing level of trust between the organisations. However, this trust seems to disperse quickly during major incidents.” IBM Manager</li></ul>19/01/2011<br />22<br />
  109. 109. The key points arising from the 2010 survey and associated comments can be summarised as: <br />There has been a significant across the board improvement in the perception of the health of the relationship from both companies. Contributing factors are likely to be:<br />Sustained improvement in operational performance, with many long-term performance issues addressed<br />Wind down of IT Transformation Program<br />Executive focus on improving the relationship<br />Changes in the senior management team at both companies<br />Senior Managers prepared to pick people up for behaviours inconsistent with relationship intent<br />Execution of a program of work to address deficiencies<br />Impact of internal change at Partner<br />Partner saw improvements were across all dimensions reasonably equally, except “Complementary Competencies”. In particular Partner believes communications between the organisations and within Partner organisation has improved significantly and they are starting to see value being created.<br />IBM improvement tended more to ‘governance’ related aspects and some early signs of culture change.<br />The “Complementary Competencies” dimension has opened up as a new area of difference between the organisations, particularly in relation to the skills of resources.<br />Trust improved across all role groups, but least for team members where the mode remained at “2”.<br />The perception of intent and governance has increased , but effectiveness less so. This suggests there may be a lag while programs take effect AND that more work is needed in effectiveness related areas.<br />The ‘contract’ remains as a significant negative for both organisations and needs to be neutralised as an issue and seemingly constant mismatch between intent and reality on the ground.<br />Improvements in perception and the actual ‘climate’ are probably fragile. There is still work to do at the ‘basic expectations’ level, but both organisations are probably ready for work at the ‘value add’ level in parallel.<br />19/01/2011<br />23<br />
  110. 110. The partners have made progress against their Partnering Roadmap<br />19/01/2011<br />24<br />
  111. 111. The 2010/11 program aims to maintain the basics and cherry pick value adds to strengthen the strategic aspects<br />Delighted Partners<br />Value Realisation Program<br />Model Partnering Team<br />Innovation Program & funding<br />Value add that builds commitment<br />Continuous Improvement Program<br />Skills Audit & Plan<br />Satisfied Partners<br />Reduce duplication of roles<br />Must succeed to maintain viability<br />Maintain operational performance<br />Reduce mismatch between contract & intent<br />Dissatisfied Partners<br />19/01/2011<br />25<br />
  112. 112. Lessons learned<br />26<br />What went well – do again!<br /><ul><li>Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – having initiatives under various programs and not all under ‘Partnering’ was important in involving many people and in getting breadth
  113. 113. Leaders have to be absolutely committed to the partnering vision and drive activity across all aspects of the relationship and operations
  114. 114. The people in the relationship improve the relationship – widespread involvement is critical and improves ownership and commitment
  115. 115. Use of a ‘Partnering Framework’ was important in gaining shared understanding of what partnering meant and a common language
  116. 116. The role for the consultant moves into the background as coach to leaders and key influencers
  117. 117. Dialogue around relationship health brought out issues that would normally be un-discussable and allowed a shot at resolution, e.g. personal alignment, trust, competence, fairness</li></ul>What didn’t go so well – do differently!<br /><ul><li>Start where you are at, not where the theory would like you to be – be pragmatic, flexible and allow momentum to build
  118. 118. Developing trust in the team and opening up on sensitive issues takes time and the ‘right space’. Short workshops / meetings at the workplace are not conducive to that – work hard to get the time required off site
  119. 119. When people are brought into initiatives ensure they are well briefed and that there is agreed intent, e.g. a company Values Program is likely to be at odds with partnering values (refer Right Vs Right)
  120. 120. There is always turnover of people, but there is an assumption that the team has a common understanding and commitment to what was agreed. New people weren’t there and can’t have that – make the time to brief and coach them</li></ul>19/01/2011<br />
  121. 121. References<br />27<br />19/01/2011<br />
  122. 122. The method was drawn from IBM’s Partnering Framework and Relationship Alignment Method<br />28<br />http://slidesha.re/h3G6l1<br />Downloadable copy available at:<br />19/01/2011<br />
  123. 123. IBM’s book on this new approach has just been published, and it contains a chapter devoted to outsourcing<br />"This is an excellent book that provides a pragmatic approach to identifying and alleviating cultural issues created when two groups of people must work together. Effectively blending business cultures is a key requirement for successful outsourcing, and most companies lack the tools necessary to do this. Companies looking to reduce outsourcing risk should follow IBM's Tangible Culture approach.“<br />-Lance Travis, vice president, Outsourcing Strategies, AMR Research<br />For more information about the book:<br />http://www.tangibleculture.com/<br />For more information on Right vs. Right:<br />http://www.research.ibm.com/thinkresearch/pages/2004/20040604_brain.shtml<br />19/01/2011<br />29<br />
  124. 124. About the author...<br />Alan Williamson<br />Alan Williamson is a Senior Managing Consultant in the Strategy and Transformation practice of IBM Global Business Services. Alan has 15 years experience in partnering relationships, business transformation and organisation change across a range of industries and Government in Australia, Asia and Europe.<br />Alan is IBM’s lead in partnering relationships and Relationship Alignment for Australia, New Zealand and Asia Pacific<br />Alan authored a number of papers on inter-company relationships and was a speaker at an international conference on business collaboration.<br />Alan has also facilitated a post-graduate program for RMIT University and has acted as a mentor and coach, both within IBM and his wider professional network.<br />Alan has a Masters of Applied Science in Innovation and Service Management. His thesis, titled “Unlocking the Potential of Inter-Company Relationships” draws from hands on experience in helping companies establishing productive and healthy partnering relationships.<br />Alan’s partnering clients include:<br />Alan can be contacted at: alanwill@au1.ibm.com<br />30<br />19/01/2011<br />

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