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February, 2014 - KnowledgeSource is pleased to announce the addition of two new consultants to our global network of HR transformation specialists, Mr. Perry Kardasis and Mr. Craig Austin.

Perry Kardasis, Senior Consultant - Perry is an accomplished business leader with 17+ years of experience in Human Resources, Information Systems, Shared Services, Business Process Outsourcing, Organizational Effectiveness and Operational Excellence.  Most of Perry’s career has been spent with Fortune 500 companies, where he has managed department budgets, focused on strategy development and execution, and HR transformation.  Perry also has extensive experience with mergers and acquisitions.

Perry holds a BS from DePaul University Business School and a MBA from Oakland University.  He and his family reside in Rochester, Michigan. Perry enjoys running, travel and spending time with his family and friends.

Craig Austin, Consultant - Craig has extensive consulting experience with twenty years of experience in both Fortune 500 Companies and start up organizations with a consistent focus on teamwork, and creating clear and attainable project objectives while managing constraints.  Craig has an outstanding track record of providing efficient solutions and well developed action plans, whether developing a new product or managing a holistic approach on existing offerings to mitigate risk and ensure success. 

Craig hs a unique combination of experience in project management, team leadership, sales, customer service, quality assurance and product management, while interfacing with executive leadership. Craig has recieved training in Six Sigma, Process Excellence, Green Belt, SAS 70, and ISO 9000 and has a proven ability to work horizontally and vertically across an organization of diverse teams and leadership styles, with strong analytical and organizational skills, and able to follow through on assignments and meet deadlines. 

About KnowledgeSource, Inc.

KnowledgeSource, Inc. is a privately held company headquartered in Dallas, TX with additional operations in the United States, Canada, Europe and South America.  To learn more about KnowledgeSource please visit us at www.ksi.com.  For additional information regarding services, general inquiries or employment opportunities, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or 1-214-988-5412.  

It’s Not Always The Vendor’s Fault

When assessing your current sourcing relationship, ask yourself the following questions:

  1.           Are your expectations (success criteria) clearly defined?
  2.           Are you “managing the vendor”?
  3.           How far “outside of the box” have you forced your vendor to go?
  4.           Do you have the correct sourcing model/vendor for your situation?
  5.           How will the situation differ next time?

Expectations

All too often, organizations rush to implement solutions without properly defining success criteria.  Not only are these criteria critical to establishing a proper roadmap for projects/implementations, they are measuring sticks that give the buyer a means of judging performance – during and after “go live”.  Spend some time working with key stakeholders and list out several metrics that are vital to your everyday operations.   Work with your solutions provider to determine how those metrics can be tracked and insist on service goals tied to those definitions.  More often than not, the majority of your success criteria are the same as other clients, but for those items that are specific to your situation, make sure you clearly state who/what/why/when/where.  Do NOT rely on the vendor to derive your criteria from requirements sessions and one off discussions - it is your responsibility to definitively state what will and what will not make your implementation successful.

Vendor Management

Are you managing your vendor or is your vendor managing you?  Do you have weekly meetings to review open issues with little to no say in priority/severity?  Are service requests and enhancements pushed to the next release or are never a high enough priority to make it into the product?  Go back to your contract and identify what agreement was established prior to implementation.  Most contracts have a turnaround time for issues of all severity/priority levels and penalties associated with a failure to meet the contracted terms – make sure you review/understand your contact and manage to the document.  Partner with your vendor and make it clear that their success is directly tied to yours.  The days of, “I’m right because I’m the customer” are over.  It is essential to establish a working relationship with your Customer Service Manager that makes them as eager to meet your goals as are you (remember; you catch more flies with honey…!)

Pushing for More

Organizations sometimes find themselves asking a sourcing provider to solve a problem that is not within the original scope of the sourcing agreement and for whatever reason, hasn’t been effectively solved internally.  In the case of outsourcing firms, marketed solutions are defined and documented so service related tasks can be consistent and reliable.  This solution standardization is one way sourcing organizations survive.  If during the implementation phase, your organization chooses to outsource an extremely complicated process that the vendor has stated is outside of their normal scope, not their area of expertise,  or not something they would normally agree to, DO NOT be surprised when your problem goes unresolved, intensifies in error or other areas of service decline.  Vendors have a predefined service offering for a reason.  Expanding the service menu often results in dissatisfaction, frustration and the assignment of fault.

Sourcing Model

Does your staff have a wealth of functional expertise?  Do you have unions, heavy M&A activity or constant reorganization?  These types of questions/activities can help determine the proper sourcing model for your organization.  If your staff tends to know more than your existing provider about HR or Payroll functions OR your employee population consists of highly complex bargaining unit obligations that will be difficult for an outside entity to support, you might want to consider an ASP or SaaS model.  This will allow you to retain some degree of control, while outsourcing the technology to a group that considers hosting one of their core competencies.  Outsource/In-source/Co-source – all are viable options that should be taken into consideration when assessing your current relationship.  Do not assume that your existing vendor (and their model) can only be replaced with like service offerings.

The Grass is Always Greener

You’ve got 12 months left on your current contract and you’ve been given the go ahead to find a new vendor.  2-3 months for RFP, site visits, review and selection – 1-2 months for contracting – 6-7 months to setup the project, determine requirements, configure/code, parallel, UAT, train and implement.  This sounds like enough time until you realize that the project team has existing responsibilities outside of the project, so you:

a.       Rush through the RFP – As long as it’s not our current vendor, we’ll be fine…

b.      Only call clients the vendor has provided as references – don’t have time and don’t want to focus on the negative…

c.       Agree to the standard SLAs – we’re probably just like their other clients…

d.      Schedule 2 weeks for all day requirement sessions – that should be enough to get the big stuff, the rest we’ll figure out on the fly…

e.      Only discuss problem areas with current vendor during 2 week all day requirements sessions and not requirements from A to Z – the new guys will get the basics, let’s alleviate the existing pain…

While e. may actually resolve itself and your existing pain points go away, chances are that other pain points of equal or greater severity will arise because you’ve made the same mistakes in a.-d. that you did with the original vendor. 

Maybe you should sit back down with your existing CSM and see if you can redefine your SLAs, restate your expectations and take back some of the work they aren’t doing so well….Your vendor will probably have a few changes for you as well.     

Submitted by:

Scott Showers, Principal – KnowledgeSource, Inc.

Scott is a seasoned HR veteran with significant transformation experience from both a practitioner's and consultant's perspective.  As a principal with KnowledgeSource, Mr. Showers focus is providing consulting services in the areas of designing, aligning and implementation of “best-fit” HR strategies, HR Service Delivery Models, Shared Services, HR Outsourcing and HR systems and technology.     

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