“I was engaged as an associate to consulting firm Xansa to lead their transformation programme for MyTravel”

Prior to its acquisition by Thomas Cook Group, MyTravel Group plc was a major retailer and operator of package holidays, with 16,000 employees, 700 travel agent shops and over £1bn turnover.

Prior to its acquisition by Steria, Xansa PLC was a business process outsourcing organisation with annual turnover of £400m and an impressive collection of blue chip clients.

In 2004, Xansa won a major outsourcing contract with MyTravel’s to run its financial operations.

I was then engaged by Xansa as an associate Programme Director to lead its financial transformation programme for MyTravel. Leading a team of Xansa business and technology consultants, we implemented document imaging, workflow, management information and call centre systems, built an Indian processing operation, designed and managed the organisational and process change to drive 80% off-shore operations.

This assignment won Xansa the National Outsourcing Award for BPO of the Year in 2005.

Thanks in part to the improved control that this assignment provided MyTravel, the business has undergone significant financial recovery and subsequently merged with Thomas Cook.


Developed and Agreed a New Operating Architecture

First step in the transformation of MyTravel’s financial operations was the design – how the processes would operate across on-shore and off-shore locations, the systems required to facilitate this and the organisational structures in all locations required to manage the processes, all within the constraints of implementation costs agreed with Xansa and the target operating cost savings contracted for.

We led this design work, with a team of business analysts, and contributed heavily to the detailed design, drawing on his multi-client expertise of financial operations.

Implemented call centre systems and processes

With distrbuted working an esential part of the operating model, rigorous handling of calls and queries was essential to maintaining and enhancing operational performance and service levels. We achieved this through implementation of a CRM call logging and management system, quality training of call operators, and establishment of query answering systems to reduce call times. All of this was tied together through comprehensive processes and supported by a knowledge base of technical financial FAQs.

Implemented Imaging and Workflow Systems

Document imaging (Markview) and workflow systems were implemented to allow seemless linkage of Oracle Financial ledgers to underlying transaction documentation.

We eliminated the paper train of invoices and correspondence, replaced by work queues, SLAs (Service Level Agreements) and online search and lookup of documents.

This allowed us to significantly reduce the time to approve invoices, and to reduce the effort required in back-office operations, at the same time as gaining robust control over the financial obligations and accruals processes.

Set up an India-Based Offshore Processing centre

The migration of work to India required creation of 2 new operating units within existing office facilities in Chennai and Noida. In the timescales required, the recruitment of over 100 new finance professionals, the training and knowledge transfer and the kitting out of office accomodation was a significant challenge. Despite the size and complexity, all milestones were achieved to planned and agreed timescales.

Launched new Oracle management information systems

We introduced new Noetix MI systems, allowing finance and non-finance users to create and maintain their own and shared repositories of MI reports, with scheduled and ad-hoc creation in a variety of formats.

This allowed a reduction in effort in the back office creating reports on bahalf of other users, allowing the finance team to focus on real added value activities – decision support and commercial review etc.

Designed and Implemented Business Process Change

To support the above changes, particularly the need to control financial operations across split locations, required significant process change. Wherever possible, we took opportunitites to introduce automated controls to tighten the financial robustness of the business, or to reduce operating costs.

Designed and Managed Major Organisational Change

To leverage the full value of the outsourced financial operations, roles and responsibilities needed to change both within finance and within the greater business teams. This programme of change was designed upfront, and implemented on a phased basis, allowing impacts to be managed without major disruption.