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Case Studies

Extending a US finance function to Mumbai

The goal was to reduce processing costs within a year by outsourcing 50% reduction application processes to Mumbai while building a platform to efficiently handle the processes. The results were even better than expected.

The Client:
Fortune 100 manufacturing and financial services conglomeration with finance functions distributed across the US. Annual budget 400M USD (1999). Client recognized lower labor costs on Indian Subcontinent could reduce processing costs. The total technology infrastructure was highly fragmented with as many as 8 separate platforms and not standardized onto one platform. In addition, market conditions and auditing requests drove the need for timely and accurate reporting to a critical point.

The Challenge:
50% reduction of processing costs within 12 months by migrating all applicable processes to Mumbai concurrently with building a standard platform for efficient processing.

Client had implemented Six Sigma as a methodology for problem solving. Used modified DFSS, to build new environment offshore—new process, new technologies.

An advanced team was formed to document and diagram existing financial policies, procedures, and adjudicate decisions for continuation of process tasks (VA/NVA). Not surprisingly, each US office had there own practices. Process clarity was extracted from the employees and documented. Discussion of in-country activities persisted.  Changes in the process moving activities overseas required diplomatic coercion; given that the change management and knowledge management hurdles were multicultural—both on US soil and in Mumbai

Initiated strong Project Management culture on both sides of the project. Heavy HR involvement as US visits to Mumbai were considered hazardous duty. Client required 6 month full commitment from employees participating in program especially from US employees. US staff on project assured of position when project ended. Sensitivity awareness to cultural differences discussed on both sides of project. Disciplined succession planning protocol put in place.

Project teams worked together. Errors were tracked for continuous improvement. Metrics designed and monitored for slippage. Employees achieved Six Sigma training and certification on parts of project.  Expectations were managed clearly—so project ran smoothly.

Application, communications infrastructure, processes, metrics and reporting built concurrently. Total 400 FTE with various skills rotated through project.

Reduced Finance budget for specific processes by 50% within 9 Months, made continuous improvements to reduce budget another 12% by 12 months. 62% reduction total. Big bang implementation—no fallbacks required.


  • Disciplined approach to Project Management, Process and Technology design provided a roadmap for managing expectations—Six Sigma provided methodology.
  • Commitment to project was supported by management and HR. Most employees benefited from project for self improvement (Six sigma Green Belt or Black belt credentials).
  • Cultural hurdles were not allowed. Parochial attitudes addressed early in project for both Indian and US staff.
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