Case Study 1

$3.5bn IT Outsource Transition

Two of the world’s largest telecoms and IT service providers decided to play to each other’s core competencies, and outsource key elements of their IT infrastructure to each other. Part of the deal included the $3.5 bn IT outsource of the European network, including a seamless and lightning fast transition that could only be described as “changing the wheels when the car’s moving.” 

Business Challenge

One of the world’s largest IT service providers agreed to outsource its network infrastructure to one of the world’s largest telecoms companies. Worth more than $5 bn in revenue globally, the European element represented the lion’s share of the infrastructure, covering 59 countries, 3,000 people and $3.5 bn in revenue, The network supported every customer in region, alongside the internal network, was massively complex and constantly changing.

The challenge was to ensure the transition supported the deal objectives. Firstly to enable the completion of the deal, secondly to make no impact on the ongoing operation in any way, and lastly to get it done in 6 months. Nothing too challenging then.


The approach was a model of how to deliver to an outcome:

Supporting the deal – Creativity was required, as there was no way a full due diligence could be completed prior to signing the deal. A transition services agreement was designed to ensure on time delivery, and enable easy retrofitting of more detailed due diligence and service levels later in the process, without commercial risk.

No operational impact – Great communication to all stakeholders including employees and customers, plus transitioning “as-is” with minimal transformational activity to remove risk of unnecessary technology change. Great communication, and build a transition team sitting alongside the operational teams to minimise impact on resources. Did we mention great communication?

Delivery in 6 Months – Stand up a team of expert resources, who could get the job done quickly. Build a well structured programme focused on critical workstreams. Did we mention communication ?

How it was done

A key part of the solution was to keep it as simple as possible, remove risk by transitioning as-is, build an outstanding transition team, and take a highly pragmatic approach where the “goals are set in concrete, the plans set in sand”:

  • Stand-up a dedicated, expert team of 50 to manage the transition, and get them storming, norming and onto performing quickly.
  • Establish critical work-streams with expert leads: Programme management, Programme Management Office, HR, Facilities, Suppliers, Technology, Finance, Life-cycle team.
  • Strong programme plan and structure.
  • Recognition that time and fluidity meant a detailed project planning for every element was not possible.
  • Heavy focus on operational stability and risk management.
  • Build a strong communication model.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.

> Outcome

Incredibly the largest element of one of the largest managed network deals of all time was completed to schedule, and achieved its objectives.

On the day of transfer, thousands of customers, over 3,000 staff across 59 countries, and the entire infrastructure from facilities to technology moved across without impacting operational performance. Job well done.

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