Q&A: Lee Coulter, SVP Global Shared Services, Kraft Foods
SSON: I am here with Lee Coulter, SVP of Global Shared Services at Kraft Foods. We are chatting about innovation and governance in BPO relationships and Lee is going to give us a summary of his golden rules for ensuring governance and innovation in a BPO contract.
Lee: There are a couple of things that are key. The thing we always hear about is failure to deliver innovation. I have a pretty simple rule on that, if you didn’t govern for it and didn’t plan to invest in it, then don’t expect to get it.
It’s a journey and if you innovated internally before, you knew what that took to generate genuine innovation. Well doing that with a partner requires you to be purposeful, have established a forum, govern for it, hold one another to task for it and don’t mix it with the governance for operations the two do not safely co exist.
It’s very difficult to keep people on task in an innovation setting if it’s the same people who have been asked review SLAs and deal with contract issues and that sort of thing. They are typically different groups of people and require different forms of management.
SSON: We talked briefly yesterday in the session about a good governance healthcheck and varying views were given. If you had to share with SSON members three things you absolutely have to do what would they be?
Lee: People disagree with me on the exact number, depending on how much effort it was for you to create your deal, you should assume that however much total effort it took you to create the relationship you should have in some perpetual contribution of governance at least 10% of that effort deployed annually to governing the relationship.
If you spent 15 FTEs of work to get the contract signed you should expect to have 2FTEs at the very minimum full time dedicated to governing the relationship, if you don’t it should be a red flag, so that’s one.
Second is that governance does in fact happen if people show up, so this notion of compliance with governance, you spent the time to describe how you would govern and particularly in good times it’s easy to allow that to fall away. The importance of complying with the governance commitments you made, establishing the goals, this is the only way you’ll end up in the place you meant to go to. Again, if you’re not putting the goals into governance you’re not going to be governing anything.
The last one is that if you want anything to happen make it someone’s job. Very simply, in my organisation we have a role called journey management, that person’s role is to make sure we all go on the journey of governance and she has a very interesting job. I believe so strongly in governance that I made it someone’s job to make sure that we governed.
SSON: Fantastic, thank you Lee.