Feeds

'Expect to be fired' says AT&T Wireless' Mr. Motivator

Offshore stampede

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One Infographic

A botched software project cost AT&T Wireless $100m in lost business, according to a post mortem by CIO magazine. But the magazine also points to outsourcing as a factor: as IT staff struggled to fix the buggy software, the company's CIO - an offshoring evangelist - motivated them by telling them that their jobs were about to disappear.

The carrier was paralyzed by glitches in its number portability project last November, which led to support staff being unable to deal with customer queries for a week. Almost everything that could go wrong, did go wrong with the company's CRM software. AT&T Wireless already had a mammoth task before number portability was introduced, as it introduced a GSM system alongside the older TDMA system it was intended to replace. AT&T chose a number portability system from NeuStar rather than Telecordia, used by the other carriers.

However a new CIO appointed in April 2003 from Indian offshoring firm Wipro had his own techniques for motivating the IT staff, which borrowed heavily from Dilbert's Pointy Haired Boss. At Merrill Lynch, Christopher Corrado had been responsible for sending tech jobs offshore.

"Former employees say morale wasn't helped by Corrado's first presentation to the IT group, in which they say he proclaimed, 'Come in every day and expect to be fired'. Intended to inspire the troops to greater effort, the talk backfired," reports CIO magazine.

AT&T Wireless was planning to shift 3,000 tech and customer support jobs offshore, and had earmarked 1,800 when Corrado was appointed. Around a thousand jobs have already been transferred.

"Postpone layoffs and offshore outsourcing until a vital systems project is completed," advises the magazine, which also adds that senior executives have been seeking their own escape hatch from the company.

As a result of the debacle AT&T Wireless missed out on capturing new customers, and only signed a tenth as many as Verizon in the final quarter of last year. This morning, the company said that it lost 367,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2004, compared to 257,000 gains in the same quarter a year ago. However Executive VP Corrado has won himself a small place in the Motivation Hall of Fame. ®

Related stories

AT&T admits to portability problems
You have no idea the evil we do - MCI insiders break their silence
Tech worker body count reaches 160,785
AT&T Wireless users balk at ‘compulsory downgrade’

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.