Service Transition Management (Outsourcing)
In general, a "transition" is a process of transfer of something from one position/place/phase to another. Considering that, "Transition Management" is the process of effectively managing the transition of things from one position/place/phase to another.
In outsourcing, typically many processes and employees need to be transitioned from the client to the vendor. Depending on the outsourcing contract, the client may want to outsource certain processes to another country. In any case, such transition of processes has to be handled carefully and it should be ensured that knowledge transfer is done effectively, because the processes will be handled by the outsourcing vendor (the insourcing company) in the future.
Goals of Transition Management
The 3 main goals of transition management are:
- Ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities so that there is no disruption of service at client's end.
- Handle the people side of the transition in such a way that the employees are treated fairly and with respect.
- Design the jobs to optimize work, finding opportunities for multi skilling people in order to improve flexibility and the quality of work.
Transition Management Roles
There are various roles being played:
- TRANSITION MANAGER (TM): Once the deal is signed for an outsourcing venture, the transition process really starts. The person responsible for this process is known as the transition manager. He or she owns the end-to-end responsibility of the transition of a project and is the face for the client during the transition phase of the project before it is handed over to the delivery team. The TM has to collaborate with multiple teams in the insourcing organization as well as from the client side. A TM has to work with the sales team which is responsible for the outsourcing project win, the HR team which will be responsible for providing the resources, the Delivery Team which will be working with the client post transition. At the client side, the TM will have to collaborate with the Project Manager, subject matter experts, and process owners depending on the project.
being a TM is a challenging role as it requires excellent communication and governance skills, as well as stakeholder management and project management skills.
- HR TEAM: TMs have to collaborate with the HR team so that the required resources for the project can be allocated. The HR team has to allocate the resources required for the project to the TM, who has to consider the time required for this process in the overall project plan as it will impact the overall project timelines.
- Delivery TEAM:
The Delivery team will work on the processes which have been outsourced. It includes the associates and specialists and a Delivery Manager (DM) who will be managing the team once the processes are handed over to the insourcing organization. As said, the TM has to collaborate with the DM and his team to make sure that the knowledge transfer is effectively done so that the best possible service can be provided to the client.
Steps in Transition Management
Below are the typical generic steps or phases that are to be followed in transition management:
- PRE-KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER: This includes the understanding of the current processes at the client side on a high level. It also considers the timeline of allocating the resources which are suitable for the roles of the project.
- KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER: This phase is the most important one, as it includes the actual knowledge transfer of the processes in the scope of the agreement. The training of the resources is done for the processes which they are going to perform for the client in the future. Client Subject Matter Experts typically provide the training to the vendor's people for a proper understanding of the processes at the client side.
- VOLUME RAMP UP: This is the phase where the insourcer's people start to handle the processes at the client's end. As the name already suggests, the volumes of these processes taken by the vendors resources is gradually increased. For example, if we split the Volume Ramp up in 4 weeks, and consider that each week 25% of the work will be ramped up, it means for the first week the vendor resources will take up 25% of the cases for the week and then 50% in the second week and so on until in the final week they will handle 100% of the incoming cases from the client. Once the client is confident with the work being performed by the Vendor, they provide an approval for going live and perform the work in the place of the client's resources! Of course, it makes sense that some support will still be provided by the client during the early stages of the go live.
The mentioned phases and roles can be segregated or clubbed and have other names based on organizations and how they follow the process. Suppose if one organization decides to club Pre-Knowledge Transfer and Knowledge Transfer, they may call it as single term "Knowledge Transfer".
I hope I was able to give a good overview based on my own experiences as a TM 😃 Please feel free to add any information that I missed.
Sources: Unknown author, "The difference between Change and Transition Management in service outsourcing", Servicefutures
Anna Erdmanska (2015), "What is Transition Management and Why is it so Challenging", Agilepmo.