Feeds

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

Offshore stampede

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Best practices for enterprise data

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’

Recommendations for simplifying OS migration

More from The Register

next story
Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage
More NB than transport links to next-gen buyers - study
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Speak your brains on SIGNAL-FREE mobile comms
Readers chat to the pair who flog the tech
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?