Showing posts with label Teleperformance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Teleperformance. Show all posts

Monday, April 19, 2021

Creating Business Advantage with Technology-Enabled Flexible Work

Transcript of a discussion on how a global business process outsourcing leader uses a “Cloud Campus” to improve remote worker productivity and their end users’ experience.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: Citrix.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you’re listening to BriefingsDirect.

As businesses plan for a future where more of their workforce can be located just about anywhere, how should they rethink hiring, training, and talent optimization? This major theme for 2021 and beyond poses major adjustments for both workers and savvy business leaders.

Stay with us now as we explore how a global business process outsourcing leader has shown how distributed employees working from a “Cloud Campus” are improving productivity and their end users’ experience.

To learn more about best practices and advantageous outcomes from a broadly dispersed digital workforce, we are now joined by José Güereque, Executive Vice President of Infrastructure and Nearshore Chief Information Officer at Teleperformance SE in Monterrey, Mexico. Welcome, José.

José Güereque: Thank you, Dana. Good morning all. Nice to see you.

Gardner: We are also here with Lance Brown, Executive Vice President Global Network, Telecom, and Architecture at Teleperformance. Welcome, Lance.

Lance Brown: Great to be here. Looking forward to it.

Gardner: And we are here with Tim Minahan, Executive Vice President of Business Strategy and Chief Marketing Officer at Citrix. Welcome back, Tim.

Tim Minahan: Thanks, Dana. Great to be back.

Gardner: Tim, when it comes to flexible and hybrid work models we often focus on how to bring the work to the at-home workforce. But this new level of flexibility also means that we can find and attract workers from a much broader potential pool of talent.

Are companies fully taking advantage of this decentralized talent pool yet? And what benefits are those who are not yet expanding their workforce horizons missing out on?

Pick your talent anywhere

Minahan: We are at a very interesting inflection point right now. If there is any iota of a silver lining in this global pandemic it’s that it has opened people’s minds to both accelerating digitization of their business, but also opening their minds to new ways of work. It’s now been proven that work can indeed occur outside the office. Smart companies like Teleperformance are beginning to look at their entire workforce strategies -- their work models -- in different ways.


It’s not about should Sam or Susie work in the office or work at home. It’s, “Gee, now that I can enable everyone with the work resources they need, and in a secure workspace environment to do their best work wherever it is, does that allow me to do new things, such as tap into new talent pools that may not be within commuting distance of my work hubs?”

This now allows me to even advance sustainability initiatives or, in some cases, we have companies now saying, “Hey, now I can also reach workers that allow me to bring more diversity into my workforce. I can enable people to work from inner cities or other locations -- rural locations -- that I couldn’t reach before.”

This is the thought process that a lot of forward-thinking companies are going through right now.

Gardner: It seems that a remote, hybrid, flexible work capability is the gift that keeps giving. In many cases we have seen projections of shortages of skilled workers and gaps between labor demand and supply. Are we in just the early innings of what we can expect from the benefits of remote work? 

Minahan: Yes. If you think way back in history, about a year ago, that’s exactly what the world was grappling with. There was a global shortage of skilled workers. In fact, McKinsey estimated that there was a global shortage of 95 million medium- to high-skilled workers. So managers were trying to hire amid all that.

But, in addition, there was a shortage of the actual modern skills that a lot of companies need to advance their business, to digitize their business. And the third part is a lot of employees were challenged and frustrated with the complexity of their work environment.

Now, more flexible work models enabled by a digital workspace that ensures employees have access to all the work resources they need, wherever work needs to get done, begins to address each of those issues. Now you can reach into new areas to find new talent. You can reach skills that you couldn’t before because you were competing in a very competitive market.

Now you can enable your employees to work where and how they want in new ways that doesn’t limit them. They no longer have a long commute that gives them added stress in their lives. In fact, our research found that 80 percent of workers feel they are being as, if not more, productive working remotely than they could be in the office.

Gardner: Let’s find out from an organization that’s been doing this. José, at Teleperformance, tell us the types of challenges you faced in terms of the right fit between your workforce and your demands for work. How have you been able to use technology to help solve that?

Güereque: Our business was mostly a finite structure of brick-and-mortar operations. When COVID struck, we realized that we faced a challenge of not being able to move people to and from the work centers. So, we rushed to move all of our people, as much as possible, to work from home (WFH).

At-Home Workers May Explore Their Options. 

Technically, the first challenge was to restructure our network, services, and all kinds of resources to move the workforce to WFH. As you can imagine, that came in hand with security measures. Security is one of the most important things we need to address and have in place.

But while there were big challenges, big opportunities also arose for us. The new model allows us to be more flexible in how we look for new talent. We can now find that talent in places we didn’t search before.

Our team has helped expedite this work-at-home model for us. It was not embraced in the massive way it is right now.

Gardner: Lance, tell us about Teleperformance, your workforce, your reach, and your markets.

Remote work: Simpler, faster, safer


Brown: Teleperformance is a global customer experience company based in France. We have more than 383,000 employees worldwide in 83 countries serving over 170 markets. So it’s a very large corporation. We have a number of agents who support many Fortune 500 companies all over the world, and our associates obviously have to be able to connect and talk [in over 265 languages and dialects] to customers.

We sent more than 220,000 of these associates home in a very quick time frame at the onset of the pandemic.

Our company is all about being simpler, faster, and safer -- and working with Citrix allowed us to meet all of our transition goals. Remote work is now a simpler, faster process -- and it’s a safer process. All of our security that Citrix provides is on the back end. We don’t have to worry as much with the security on our endpoint as we would in other traditional models.

Gardner: As José mentioned, you had to snap to it and solve some major challenges from the crisis. Now that you have been adjusting to this, do you agree that it’s the gift that keeps giving? Is flexible work here to stay from your perspective?

Our company is all about being simpler, faster, and safer -- and working with Citrix allowed us to meet all of our transition goals. Remote work is now a simpler, faster process -- and it's a safer process.

Brown: Yes, from Teleperformance’s perspective, we fully are working to get our clients to remain at WFH -- for a large percentage of the workforce. We don’t ever see the days of going back to 100 percent brick and mortar, or even mostly brick and mortar. We were at 90 percent on-site before the pandemic. Now, at the end of the day, that will become between 50 percent to 65 percent work at home.

Gardner: Tim, because they have 390,000 people, there is going to be a great diversity of how people will react to this. One of the nice things about remote work and digital workspaces is you can be dynamic. You can adjust, change, and innovate.

How are organizations such as Teleperformance breaking new ground? Are they finding innovation that goes beyond what they may have expected from flexible work at the outset?

Minahan: Yes, absolutely. This isn’t just about can we enable ourselves to tap into new talent in some remote locations or for disenfranchised parts of the workforce. It’s about creating an agile workforce model. Teleperformance is on the frontlines of enabling that for its own workforce. But Teleperformance is also part of the solution, due to their business process outsourcing (BPO) solutions and how they serve their clients. You begin to rethink the workforce.

We did a study as part of our Work 2035 Project, in which we went out over the past year-and-a-half and interviewed tens of thousands of employees, thousands of senior executives, and probed into what the world of work will look like in 2035. A lot of things we are talking about here have been accelerated by the pandemic.

One of those things is moving to a more agile workforce model, where you begin to rethink your workforce strategies, and maybe where you augment full-time employees with contractors or gig workers, so you have that agility to dial up your workforce.

Maybe it’s due to seasonality, and you need for a call center or other services to be able to dial up or back down. Or work locations shift, moving due to certain needs or responses to certain catastrophes. And like I said, that’s what a lot of forward-thinking companies are doing.

What’s so exciting about Teleperformance is they are not only doing it for their own organization -- but they are also providing the solution for their own clients.

Gardner: José, please describe for us your Cloud Campus concept. Why did you call it Cloud Campus and what does it do?

Cloud Campus engages worldwide


Güereque: Enabling people to WFH is only part of what you need. You also need to guarantee the processes in place perform as well as they used to in a brick-and-mortar environment. So our cloud solution pushes subsets of those processes and enables control -- to maintain the operational procedures – at a level where our clients feel confident of how we are managing their operations.

In the past, you needed to do a lot of things if you were an agent in our company. You needed to physically go to a central office to fulfill processes, and then you’d be commuting. Today, the Cloud Campus digitalizes these processes. Now a new employee, in many different countries, can be hired, trained, and coached -- everything -- on a remote basis.

We use video technology to do virtual face-to-face interactions, which we believe is important to be successful. We still are a very human-centric company. If we don’t have this face-to-face contact, we won’t succeed. So, the Cloud Campus, which is maintained by a really small team, guarantees the needed processes so people can WFH on a permanent basis. 

Gardner: Lance, it’s impressive to think about you dealing face-to-face virtually with your clients in 83 different countries and across many cultures and different ways of doing business. How have you been able to use the same technology across such a diversity of business environments?

Brown: That’s an excellent question. As José said, the Teleperformance Cloud Campus gives us the flexibility and availability to do just that. For our employees, it just becomes a one-on-one human interaction. Our employees are getting the same coaching, counseling, and support from all aspects of the business – just as they were when they were in the brick-and-mortar office.

Planning a Post-Pandemic Workplace Strategy? 

We are leveraging, like José said, video technology and other technologies to deliver the same user experience for our associates, which is key. Once we deliver that, then that translates out to our clients, too, because once we have a good associate experience, that experience is the same for all of the clients that the associate is handling.

Gardner: Lance, when you are in a brick-and-mortar environment, a physical environment, you don’t always have the capability to gather, measure, and digitize these interactions. But when you go to a digital workspace, you get an audit trail of data.

Is that something you have been able to utilize, or how do you expect that to help you in the future?

Digital workspaces offer data insights

Brown: Another really good question. We continue to gather data, especially as the world is all digitized. And, like you said, we provide many digital solutions for our clients. Now we are taking those same solutions and leveraging them internally for our employees.

We continue to see a large amount of data that we can work with for our process improvements and our technology, analysis, and process excellence (T.A.P.) teams and the transformation our agents do for our clients every day.

Gardner: Tim, when it comes to translating the value through the workforce to the end user, are there ways we can measure that productivity benefit?

Minahan: One of the key things that came up early-on in the pandemic was a huge spike in worker productivity. Companies settled into a hybrid work model, and that phase was about unifying work and providing reliable access for employees in a remote environment to all the resources they needed.

The second part was, as José said, ensuring that all employees can safely access applications and information -- that our corporate information remains secure.

A solid digital workspace environment provides an environment where employees can perform at their best and collaborate from the most remote locations.

Now we have moved into the simplify-and-optimize phase. A lot of companies are asking, “Gee, what are the tools I need to introduce to remove the noise from my employees’ day? How do I guide them to the right information and the right decisions? How do I support more collaboration or collaborative work execution, even in a distributed environment?”

If you have a foundation of a solid digital workspace environment that delivers all the work resources, that secures all the work resources, and then leverages things like machine learning (ML), virtual assistants, and new collaborative work management tools that we are introducing -- it provides an environment where employees can perform at their best and can collaborate from the most remote locations.

Gardner: José, most businesses nowadays want to measure everything. With things like Net Promoter Scores (NPS) from your agents and employees, when it comes to looking for the metrics of whether your return on investment (ROI) or return on innovation is working, what have you found? Have you been able to verify what we have been talking about? Does this move beyond theory into practice, and can it be measured well?

Güereque: Yes, that’s very important. As I mentioned, being able to create a Cloud Campus concept, which has all the processes and metrics in place, allows us to compare apples with apples in a way that we can understand the behavior and the performance of an agent at home -- same as in brick-and-mortar. We can compare across those models and understand exactly how they are performing.

We found that a lot of our agents live in cities, which have a lot of traffic. The commuting time for them, believe it or not, was around one-and-a-half hours – as many as two hours for some of them -- just going to and from work. Now, all that commuting time is eliminated when they WFH.

At-Home Workers May Explore Their Options. 

People started to give lot of value to those things because they can spend their time smarter -- or have more family time. So from customer, client, and employee satisfaction, those employees are more motivated -- and they’re performing great. Their scores are similar – and in some cases better -- than before.

So, again, if you are able to measure everything through the digitalization of the processes, you can understand the small things you need to tweak in order to maintain better satisfaction and improve all scores across both clients and employees.

Gardner: Lance, over the past 30 years in IT, we’ve been very fortunate that we can often do more with less. Whether it’s the speed of the processor, or the size of the disk drive. I’m wondering if that’s translating into this new work environment.

Are you able to look at cost savings when it comes to the type of client devices for your users? Are your networks more efficient? Is there a similar benefit of doing more with less when we get to remote work and digital workspaces?

Cost savings accumulate via BYOD

Brown: Yes, especially for the endpoint device costs. It becomes an interesting conversation when you’re leveraging technology like Citrix. For that [thin client] endpoint, all of the compute is back in the data center or in the cloud.

Your overall total cost of ownership continues to go down because you’re not spending as much money on your endpoint, as you had in the past. The other thing is the technology allows us to take an existing PC and make it a thin client, too. That gives you a longer life of that endpoint, which, overall, reduces your cost.

It’s also much, much safer. I can’t stress enough about the security benefits, especially in this current environment. It just makes you so much safer because your target environment and exposed landscape is reduced. Your data center is housing all the proprietary information. And your endpoint is just a dumb endpoint, for lack of better word. It doesn’t have a large attack vector. So you really reduce your attack vector by leveraging Citrix and putting more IT infrastructure in your data center and in your cloud.

Güereque: There is another really important factor, which is to enable bring your own device (BYOD) to be a reality. With the pandemic, the manufacturers of equipment, the PCs and everything, their time to deliver has been longer.

What used to take them two to three weeks to deliver now takes up to 10 weeks. Sometimes the only way to be on time is to leverage the employees’ equipment and enable its use in a secure way. So, this is not just an economic perspective of avoiding the investment in the end device, but is an opportunity to enable them to work faster rather than waiting on the delivery time of new equipment.

Minahan: At Citrix, we’re seeing other clients do that, too. I was recently talking with the CIO of a financial services company. For them, as the world moved through the pandemic, they saw the demand for their digital banking services quadruple or more. They needed to hire thousands of new financial guidance agents to support that.

And, to José’s point, they couldn’t be bothered with sending each one a new laptop. So BYOD allowed them to gain a distributed digital workspace and to onboard these folks very quickly. They attained the resources they needed to service their end banking clients much faster.

Güereque: Just following on Tim’s comments, I want to give you an example. Two weeks ago we were contacted by a client who needed to have 1,200 people up and running within a week. At the beginning, we were challenged. We wanted to be able to put 1,200 new employees with equipment in place, and weirdly our team came back with a plan. I can tell you that last week they were all in production. So, without this flexibility, and these enablers like Citrix, we wouldn’t be able to do it in such a small time frame.

Gardner: Lance, as we seek work-from-home solutions, we’re using words like “life” and “work balance.” We’re talking about employee behaviors and cultures. It sounds like IT is closer to human resources (HR) than ever.

Has the move to remote work using Citrix helped bond major parts of your organization -- your IT capability and your HR capability, for example?

IT enables business innovation

Brown: Yes, now they’re seeing IT as an enabler. We are the enabler to allow those types of successes, from a work-life balance and human standpoint. We’re in constant contact with our operations team, our HR team, and our recruiting team. We are the enabler to help them deliver everything that we need to deliver to our clients.

In the old days, IT wasn't viewed as an enabler. Now we're viewed as an enabler. We come up with innovative solutions to enable the business to meet its business needs.

In the old days, IT wasn’t viewed as an enabler. Now we’re viewed as an enabler, and José and I are at the table for every conversation that’s happening in the company. We come up with innovative solutions to enable the business to meet those business needs.

Gardner: Tim, I’m going to guess that this is a nice way of looking at the glass as half full. IT enabling such business innovation is going to continue. How do you expect in the future that we’re going to continue the trend of IT as an enabler? What’s in the pipeline, if you will, that’s going to help foster that?

Minahan: With the backdrop of the continued global shortage of skills, particularly the modern skills that are needed, companies such as Teleperformance are looking at what it means for their workforce strategies. What does it mean for their customer success strategies? Employee experience is certainly becoming a top priority to recruit the best talent, but also to ensure that they can perform at their best and deliver the best services to clients.

In fact, if you look at what employees are looking for going forward, there’s the salary thing and there’s the emergence of purpose. Is this company doing something that I believe in that’s contributing to the world, the environment?

Planning a Post-Pandemic Workplace Strategy? 

But right behind that is, “What are the tools and resources? How effectively are they delivering them to me so I can perform at my best?” And so IT, to Lance’s point, is a critical pillar, a key enabler, of ensuring that every company can work on making employee experience a competitive advantage.

Gardner: José, for other companies trying to make the most of a difficult situation and transitioning to more flexible work models, what would you recommend to them now that you’ve been through this at such a large, global scale? What did you learn in the process that you think they should be mindful of?

Change, challenge, partner up

Güereque: First of all, be able to change, and to challenge yourself. We can do much more than we believe sometimes. That’s definitely something that one can be skeptical of, because of the legacy we have been working through over many years. Today, we have been challenged to reinvent ourselves.

The second one is, there is tons of public information that we can leverage to be able to find successful use cases and learn from them. And the third one is, approach one consultant or partner that has experience in putting all these things in place. Because it is, as I mentioned, not a matter of just enabling people to WFH, it’s a matter of putting all the security environment in place, and all of the tools that are required to be able to perform as a team so you can deliver the results.

Brown: I’ll add one thing to that. It was about a year ago that I was visiting with Tim and the pandemic was starting to come to fruition. The pandemic had started overseas and was rapidly moving toward the US and other parts.

I met with Tim at Citrix and I said, “I’m not sure exactly what’s going to happen. I don’t know if this is going to be 100 people that go home or 300,000 people. But I know we need a partner to work with, and I know we have to partner through this process.”

So the big thing is that Citrix was that partner for us. You have to rely on your partners to do this because you just can’t simply do it by yourself.

Gardner: Tim, it sounds like an IT organization within Teleperformance is much more of an enabler to the rest of the organization, but you, at Citrix, are the enabler to the IT department at Teleperformance.

Minahan: Dana, to borrow a phrase, “It takes an ecosystem.” You move up that chain. We certainly partner with Teleperformance to enable their vision for a more agile workforce.

But, again, I’ll repeat that they’re doing that for their clients, allowing them to dial up and dial down resources as they need, to work-shift around the globe. So it is a true kind of agile workforce value chain that we’re creating together.

Gardner: I’m afraid we’ll have to leave it there. You’ve been listening to a sponsored BriefingsDirect discussion on how businesses should rethink hiring, training, and talent optimization in the age of flexible work.

And we’ve learned how a global business process outsourcing leader, Teleperformance, has shown how distributed employees working from a Cloud Campus are improving productivity and their end users’ experience.

So a big thank you to our guests, José Güereque, Executive Vice President of Infrastructure, and Nearshore Chief Information Officer at Teleperformance. Thank you so much, José.

Güereque: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: And a big thank you as well to Lance Brown, Executive Vice President of Global Network Telecom and Architecture at Teleperformance. Thank you, sir.

Brown: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: And a big thank you lastly to Tim Minahan, Executive Vice President of Business Strategy and Chief Marketing Officer at Citrix. Thank you so much, Tim.

Minahan: Thanks, Dana. I appreciate the dialogue.

Gardner: And a big thank you as well to our audience for joining this special BriefingsDirect remote work innovation discussion. I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host throughout this series of Citrix-sponsored BriefingsDirect discussions.

Thanks again for listening, please pass this along to your business associates, and do come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: Citrix.

Transcript of a discussion on how a global business process outsourcing leader uses a “Cloud Campus” to improve remote worker productivity and their end users’ experience. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2021. All rights reserved.

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