There’s No Money in the Training Budget

We have this fairly large account called “Big Road Bank” (BRB). The account has been with The Company for a number of years, but the new executives in charge of things there have decided that they do not wish to outsource their work. Thus, they have begun to transition servers and support slowly back in-house to be completed by 2010. No problems thus far.

The Company is clearly not happy about losing such a big account, so as BRB begins transitioning the account in-house, The Company is desperately trying to get the account to India so that they can maximize their profits for the last year it is around. Thus, a big chunk of our work is leaving us to go to India for now. The Company wants us to train the Indians to do our job. However, there is a caviot — there is no money to train them.

What?

For other accounts that The Company rushes to get to India or Brazil, two things happen. Initially, members from the offshore team come to the U.S. for two weeks to start learning to do the jobs. Then a couple of people from the U.S. head to India or Brazil for a week or two to insure things are up and running smoothly. This helps minimize the impact to the customer for the transition.

So, how do we train Indians with no training budget?

“Oh, you use our Instant Messaging tool. They log into your ticketing system and work all BRB tickets. You will be in a chat with them and they will pester you with tons of questions about the same things over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. That’s the best way.”

Because Indians do not operate without a tight script or flowchart, we have increased our ticket count. Why? Because whereas we in the U.S. know that a CPU running high, paging rates, or other “who cares” alerts can be sat on until we see the problem go away, India does not do that. These servers are supported by other teams so the tickets have to be sent there. The System Admins or other support people see these worthless SEV 3 tickets (which BRB won’t get rid of) and immediately close them as “server working as normal” even if the conditions that caused the alert have not stopped. That means that we get another alert and another ticket whereas before, we would sit on the ticket and monitor until things returned to normal.

Further, because the Indians are so “by the book” oriented, they give us constant updates.

“We see ticket in the queue.”
“We open ticket in the queue.”
“We see this is SEV 3 ticket for Oracle to look at.”
“We transfer ticket to Oracle Support.”
“Ticket is transfered.”
“We are waiting for another ticket.”

It is interesting that as The Company continues to rapidly send stuff to India and Brazil, conditions continue to degrade that make it a cost savings for The Company. The Brazilian folks have proven to be pretty dumb when it comes to IT/IS work (not all, but most) so The Company is sending more and more work to India instead. However, the Indians are expecting more and more money (how dare they?), so much so that the projections we are told is that by 2013, it will cost the same to work stuff out of India as it does out of the U.S. If thats true, this is a huge waste of time and energy for what will ammount to a very small cost savings in the end.

Well, who am I other than a worker bee who tries to do the best job he can, only to have the executive bees make a right mess of things for their own 6-figure cost-cutting bonuses?

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