7 minute read 27 Jul 2020
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How the customer experience can define IT success in a carve-out sale

The experience of the business customer is an important part of how IT divestiture programs are perceived.

Business customers are (or can be) defined as employees, external suppliers, customers and contractors. Lessons learned from recent divestitures suggest IT transaction teams should focus on four key impact areas to improve the business customer’s experience during transactions.

EY - Business customer experience

IT transaction teams often focus on technical activities, such as data separation, during carve-outs. While these activities are important for Day 1 (closing) success, business customers perceive the success of the transaction based on firsthand experience.  Transaction teams should align early on the overall business customer experience strategy with key considerations for each focus area to enhance delivery.

Effective planning, prioritization and execution of the business customer’s experience

Deal announcements generate enthusiasm but also raise concerns with business customers. Employees are often anxious about their ability to perform their job on Day 1 (upon close), and what seller services will be available during the TSA period. In particular, they seek assurance that they can still use their communication devices and other hardware, as well as access applications. The key impact areas of collaboration services, service desk, device enablement and security and access should be examined closely for risks specific to the transaction. More importantly, they should be examined based upon their impact on the business customer experience. Business customers can hold IT responsible for any impact to their daily business.

Effective planning, prioritization and execution are critical for success. When managed well, business customers can not only ease into the organizational transition but may also understand how to succeed and operate under the new processes. A business customer’s positive experience also prevents employees from becoming overwhelmed and acting independently based off assumptions.

A structured approach with tailored communication and training can help transaction teams control the message and guides business customers through Day 1 delivering a better experience. Below is a summary of key business customer impact areas, risks and potential mitigation activities the transaction team can use to improve deal value.

EY - Business customer impact

Considerations for business customer communications

When to communicate with business customers?

When balancing announcement and close, the goal is to select a time close enough to deal close to remain fresh for the business customers, but provide enough time to process the information.

What medium will be used to communicate with business customers?

Email instructions are the easiest way to reach a mass audience; however, face-to-face meetings can be more effective and personal. Townhalls, web-based training and teleconferences can all be used to supplement email communication.

How should you prevent business customers from being overwhelmed with communications?

Leverage a centralized communications team to confirm that messages are appropriately delivered with respect to timing, consistency and digestibility. When business customers receive less frequent, more targeted messages, they are more likely to read.

What should you focus on for transaction training?

Typically, the focus is Day 1 business continuity. If there is major change in job roles or system use (e.g., loss of seller system, addition of a buyer system), employees should receive adequate training to ensure they can perform their role Day 1.

What are ways to enhance employee impact on Day 1 beyond training and pre-close communications?

Job aids containing FAQs, hypercare support and helpdesk training all can help support employees.

What are some ways to best manage stakeholders and confirm that leadership is kept informed of progress?

In addition to regular leadership meetings and sharing status and updates, targeted communications that are consistent, transparent and build upon one another are very effective at achieving buy-in, commitment and understanding.

Conclusion

To many employees, the key question that needs to be answered is “how is this transaction going to affect my job?” Successful transaction teams incorporate effective business customer experience planning, prioritization and execution activities into separation planning throughout the deal life cycle. Resolving key questions such as: collaboration services, service desk, device enablement and security are critical to maintain business continuity and minimize impact to business performance. Although often overlooked, their experience often is the greatest concern for transitioning employees.

For each key impact area, the transaction team may need to identify project-specific risks and mitigations. Careful planning, prioritization and execution while addressing key business customer questions can de-risk Day 1 and help lead a smooth and successful carve-out.

Summary

The experience of the business customer is an important part of how IT divestiture programs are perceived. Transaction teams should align early on the overall business customer experience strategy with key considerations for each focus area to enhance delivery.

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EY Americas

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