3. Case study
Periodic health checks or diagnostic reviews can be led and performed by the vendor management team, an independent consultant, or the internal audit/compliance team of an organization.
The management of a Fortune 500 company was facing difficulties with the operational performance of their large business process outsourced contract – the internal stakeholders were unhappy. At the same time, the cost of delivering those services had increased through multiple change orders or amendments. They had limited visibility on the fulfilment of contractual commitments and lacked the confidence to achieve the business case for outsourcing those services to a third party.
The company’s management decided to conduct an independent study to assess the health of the outsourced contract. The evaluation team reviewed the current contract and developed a review program that covered critical aspects of the relationship – such as contract performance, financial and compliance management, service delivery and overall risk and governance practices over the contract.
A detailed study was conducted of the contract structure, terms and conditions, existing processes responsible for monitoring performance and compliance to contractual commitments. The health check review helped the organization identify critical areas of improvement and risks to be managed. Some critical issues or risks identified included:
- Value leakages: Contractual commitments and benefits were not tracked, validated, and monitored for the realization
- Lack of visibility and ownership: Stakeholders had limited visibility into the achievement of the business case, contract consumption, cost compliance, supplier’s performance against agreed standards, and fulfilment of contractual conditions/compliances
- No alert or warning system was in place: No framework was in place to identify, track and monitor risks in contract delivery
- No quality assurance framework: Instances of scope non–compliance to the agreed scope of work, process controls gaps, inadequate talent/resource management, inadequate quality checks and process inefficiencies
- Limited governance and issue management
In addition, the review identified instances of ambiguous contract clauses, change orders not reviewed adequately before execution, service levels not baselined and monitored adequately, vendor invoices not reviewed adequately before processing, and penalties/service credits not computed and adjusted timely.
The outcome of this review helped the management identify risks in the contract and control gaps across the value chain. Together with the management, the service provider defined and agreed to immediate initiatives or action items and a long–term improvement plan. The organization established a framework to govern the outsourced contract and relationship with the service provider, including regular on–site and off–site reviews to effectively monitor the progress and manage risks.