From blockers to champions: using a GBS model to deliver change
Posted on July 10, 2019
5 min read
One of the components of our T22 strategy is to simplify how we work so it is easier for our people to deliver great service; invest in the workforce of the future; while reducing our cost base and maximising our portfolio management. Our Global Business Service function, created in July 2018, is helping us deliver on this.
As a global business service function serving Telstra, we’re changing how we work and what we can deliver both to our customers and our people as we execute our T22 strategy. Part of that new strategy means overhauling how we deliver end-to-end services to the business in the form of our Global Business Services division – and that’s not an easy task for the largest and oldest telecommunications company in the nation.
Managing change is difficult for every organisation, no matter the size, shape or industry. A key to success, however, is gearing your organisation and your people for change. Here are just some of the lessons we learned when implementing our new Global Business Services model.
Getting nerdy with it
Look at the data you have across the business and how you can use it to coordinate with other parts of the business.
Bringing our disparate analytics teams from across the business under the umbrella of GBS gave us an opportunity to centralise this source of truth and knowledge, and to use that knowledge to inform our decisions and make sure that the changes we were making were the correct ones.
Having our data, reporting and analytics teams organised vertically in our matrix model helps them focus on understanding and planning as a specialty function – instead of operating with a broad remit, that specialisation allows them to find areas for efficiencies, improvements and customisation, and highlights areas of duplication that can be shared with other parts of the business.
Being able to clearly demonstrate the time and money saved when a new process is implemented makes it much more likely that you’ll generate the support you need to make that change. We’ve seen this clearly as we’ve made changes to simplify our bills, introduced new tools to support our field technicians and shifted our supply chain processes to be more efficient.
Agents of change
Separate out the day-to-day operational work from the strategic. You need to give people time and space to focus on innovation and simplicity.
Our CEO Andrew Penn made the point of learning not to expect to be comfortable. The process of change is by its nature disruptive and contains uncertainty, which requires a different mindset to the day-to-day work we usually undertake.
To drive change, you must have a person responsible to both advocate for it and to push for that change to be more radical and innovative. In the GBS model, we deliberately split operations and delivery from strategy and innovation for purely that reason – a strategic lead can look at options like automation and AI, which are still in a nascent state, without the pressures and distractions of making sure day to day operations continue to run smoothly.
Geared for change
Make sure your organisation sets you up to succeed. You will need buy-in from right across your company and the backing of your leadership team if you’re going to create real change.
For us, we couldn’t change quickly enough in the state we were in at the beginning of 2018 – so the T22 strategy formed a fundamental foundation for our push for organisational change. Companies that do not adapt do not survive.
Our leadership team recognised the need to make significant changes over our multi-year transformation – changes that range as far as becoming a more agile organisation in the way that we work, with those changes cascading down to all our employees across the business.
We decided quickly that a Global Business Service model best suited the goal we wanted to achieve in our function, and we had the buy-in from our leadership team to make it happen.
Changing mindsets makes change happen
Shifting mindsets is crucial to effecting real change in an organisation of any size, shape or industry. What links all of the above learnings is an underlying mindset change. Our people need to be thinking differently, challenging the status quo and seeing opportunities in new technology to break down static and stubborn processes.
We saw this when our team looked at our warehouse processes and realised that not only could we save time by simplifying how we package our products, but that we could reduce our impact on the environment by eliminating the use of redundant plastic packaging in the process. All it took was someone to look at a process we’d been doing the same way for years with a fresh set of eyes, and we found a simple way to save money and offer customers a better experience.
Key to the mindset shift is creating an environment where people feel safe to voice suggestions and, importantly, where those voices are heard by management and considered. Leading by example and continuously highlighting and celebrating innovation-led thought has helped us to foster this new mindset. It’s not always easy and you need to stick at it, but it’s necessary.
We believe that we have set ourselves up for continued success with our transformation, and no small part of that comes from the mindset we have adopted throughout the journey.