Verizon is focused on keeping people, businesses, and things connected with each other, and the company’s chief financial officer (CFO) knew he needed to get his dispersed team focused on serving the business better. The group he led would play an important role in shaping the company’s future, so he set a goal of building a world-class organization that could deliver both strategic decisions to maximize shareholder value and efficient, effective, and customer-centric global services. And he wanted to do it all while developing future leadership that could readily navigate an ever changing telecommunications landscape.
The task was ambitious and the challenges were daunting. After years of mergers and acquisitions, the finance group’s thousands of employees were decentralized, worked out of several hundred locations, and used outdated legacy IT systems. But that wasn’t all: Challenges also included duplicate functions, conflicting sources of data, high operating costs, and an inability to adapt to the rapidly changing needs of the business. A study showed the organization was three to five years behind its corporate peers in the areas of people, processes, and technology.
Encouraging work was already under way. Some of the group’s functions were considered best-in-class. System updates and consolidations had begun, and key people were being trained in advanced analytical techniques.
But the road ahead was long. The CFO didn’t want merely to catch his corporate peers. He wanted to leapfrog them. To do that, the finance organization needed to consolidate into one efficient, integrated unit that could provide timely, accurate, meaningful information and insights to the business.
Verizon’s finance organization today is approaching world-class and has put the resources, capabilities, and governance in place to deliver strategic value for the long term.
Its new service delivery model enabled the group to reduce its footprint by 60 percent, co-locate employees to create synergies and enhance career opportunities, improve the services it delivers to the business, and cut operational costs. Several thousand jobs were relocated without impact to ongoing business operations. The number of finance-related certifications held by employees has increased 70 percent – bringing more advanced finance and analytics skills to the business.
Specific accomplishments include:
KPMG worked closely with Verizon to design a new service delivery model, select future hub locations, identify and negotiate location incentives, plan and manage the transition of thousands of positions to the new delivery model, and develop a strategy for capturing and transferring valuable institutional knowledge.
Throughout the transformation, there was little distinction between Verizon and KPMG team members – the entire team benefitted greatly from the diversity of skills and talent and a collaborative mentality. It was a roll-up-your-sleeves team effort.
Organizational transformations require a commitment from the top leaders. Lip service won’t cut it. Leaders must make their commitment so palpable that the organization understands and follows the vision.
A critical element of planning a transition is controlling the speed of change. Set a cadence that generates momentum while maintaining operational stability and support for the transformation program team.
Use a robust program-governance structure to oversee the transition activities, which could include building new facilities, creating network and IT infrastructures, developing business-continuity plans, documenting processes, and recruiting and training new employees.
Use impact assessments, focus groups, and executive communication campaigns to prepare employees for change well before the transition occurs. Explain the process and what employees can expect. Be honest and transparent.