Thursday, June 19, 2014

The way to outsource Exams

The bank thought it totally unnecessary to let the world  know that they had entered into some agreement with Reliance on 'Banking correspondents' in unreached areas. The bank had stopped the whole exercise a few years back due to financial advantage taken by the BCs. But now the bank changed its mind and thought it would be great t extend the agreement. The news hit in through the newspapers and more noise followed. There was heated discussions at our offices on how we would end up workin for Ambanis.

Apart from bank, every public sector organisation  outsource all their parallel activities today so as to focus on the specialised areas. In the same way, the bank decided to outsource it's recruitment examinations.

Conducting recruitment examination was a matter of pride for the bank. The bank also drives the recruitment process for associate banks and even the intterview process. The whole thing sounds like 'SBI recruits for other bank'.

But managing an examination is no child's play. The question papers have to be checked in, examination centers arranged for. Stationaries brought, seating arrangements made in advance, food and snacks arranged for, officials and others found for the duty, questions and stationeries  all have to be supplied in time, attendance taken & finally everything sealed and sent to Mumbai. The cost and time for the logistics involved is considerably big.

Then TCS, the solution provider for all ailments in the country, comes up with a solution. They would conduct the exams, correct all he papers and publish the results. All bank has to do is pay for each student applying for the exam. From the outset this looks like a win-win situation for all. Since it's a migration to online mode, a  major portion of effort and cost comes down in a single go. So it's all supposed to be smiles and handshakes. This could be the watershed movement for the whole óutsourcing. Industry. Sweet sounds of cost control, Business process re-engineering, streamlining wafts through the air.

And the day of examination  comes near. Lakhs of candidates are fighting for a few hundred psts. I am apointed as one of  the invigilator. The very first minute, there seems to be something fishy.  20 minutes to go and there sems to be a lot of unusual confusion. Attendance has not been marked, stationaries not supplied and moreover invigilators at the exam hall looks so youngish.
Wait a minute, I spotted a guy who I know.. BU he is supposed to be in college and here he is wearing a TCS tag. And he tells me he is here a s a 'volunteer'. Not just him, the whole bunch of people running the critical examination is 'volunteers'. Well volunteering is free though with a fees of 500 bucks and food.

The picture became all the more clear when we learnt the whole gamut. The entire process is controlled by some team in Chennai. There are only two TCS employees as such in a center to cordinate and that too fresh out of college. Rest of the process the biggest IT company in India outsourced to even cheaper labour

In the end what happened was, the entire process got screwed up. Hall tickets were not collected in time. No stationaries were supplied and candidates lost a good 10 minutes.

The story doesn't end here. The very next week the bank asked us officials for explanation on the 'lapses'. We were elieved of our invigilation  duty thereon

As the bank management unilaterally moves to outsource major banking activities to big 'Solution Providers', they may have to do some serious soul searching. Where will they fix the accountability ? Tatas? Ambanis? Or somme poor employee. . Looking at the disastrous human resource management of the bank in recent years, the probablity is very clear

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