Building New Capability For Product Management with Organisation Design and Recruitment

A key customer asked Gray Blue to support their strategy to build capability and start managing and steering their existing multi-supplier IT infrastructure with in-house resource. The suppliers had varying contracting lengths remaining and were delivering services to varying standards. The most crucial part of this was a lack of joined up technology strategy across the functions.

The solution for the customer was to build their own in-house team that was technically capable of taking strategic ownership, while allowing the suppliers to deliver and challenging poor service and delivery performance.

Designing Structural Requirements

Building a team to take over strategic ownership of suppliers is not just about having technical knowledge. It is also about the commercial, operational and delivery aspects. Historically suppliers had been self-managed with a SIAM arrangement. This didn’t provide the joined-up strategy required to support the future direction of the organisation.

The team had to be strategic, technical, commercial, operational, financial and able to manage and deliver change.

The new design also needed to align to service and functional requirements, scaled to the suppliers who delivered into these areas. Some suppliers covered multiple areas, while others only part of an area. The four central Product areas were:

  • Office Productivity – all commodity applications
  • Devices – laptops, desktop, tablets and mobiles
  • Networking – LAN, WAN, WiFi
  • Printing – any printing or scanning device

Depending on the size and scales of the Product Area, additional sub Products were created.

Building Ownership Into Design

What was crucial with the new design was ownership. Ownership was not just about strategy and delivery, but also commercial and financial responsibility. Areas of the business needed to be embedded into the design and made part of the Product Teams. The budget responsibility historically sat centrally and was not delegated.

Going forward the design required that each area had responsibility for budgets – this enabled the full end to end ownership of a product.

“Without Gray Blue we simply would not have been able to design and recruit the team in time to manage our suppliers. They [Gray Blue] got me to really think about what I wanted the new design to deliver and then ensured every aspect of that was covered.”

Cross Functional Professions

A key issue with the current management of suppliers was the lack of strategic technology design. Suppliers did not work together effectively – driving up cost and increasing time-scales with ineffective collaboration and supplier ownership.

To streamline how products and suppliers worked together, a number of centralised professions enabled collective understanding, while enabling each product area to focus on what was important to their delivery.

The Technical Architects profession was an example of how this worked. This provided central governance and thought leadership, whilst enabling technical architects to be operating autonomously within the Product Area.

Recruiting the Team

With the design completed the next phase was to recruit the team, this was to be done over a six month period. During this time adjustments to the design would also take place. Recruiting a team of nearly 100 people with the right skills required a structured approach.

Creating a team rapidly required a mix of temporary and permanent resource – the temporary resource was required to meet some immediate requirements, it also served to bring it expert talent to shape the processes. Recruitment of both types of resource took place simultaneously. A clear process of recruitment, coupled with high quality job specifications enabled time-lines to be met successfully. Working with trusted recruitment partners to provide high quality candidates was essential.

Metrics for the successful recruitment enabled tracking the overall progress of building the team. This also enabled a thorough on-boarding process to take place – that included enabling every new team member to be acclimatised, security checked and IT equipment to be provided in a timely manner.

"I’m confident we did the best recruitment drive the organisation has ever done. Recruiting high numbers of people is always challenging and Gray Blue helped us structure our approach and get the right people on-board."

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