Gartner has cited the work we did with CVS/Caremark and IBM as being instrumental in facilitating a “needed shift in mind-set (and) …helping to foster elements such as team bonding between IBM and CVS, and the creation of a joint purpose statement.”

After 18 months of attempting to achieve such an outcome on their own, the two partners brought us in to break a logjam caused by “fatigue” (their word). It was thus our job to get things moving again in the right direction.

After three-to-six months on the job, several significant bottom-line results emerged and a succinct way of summing them up might be to simply say that CVS now finds itself able to continuously deliver added value, reduced costs, improved steady state customer satisfaction and expanded business.

Prior to our involvement, IBM’s comprehensive multi-million dollar HR Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) contract with CVSCaremark had presented daunting challenges for both companies. Our expertise and guidance enabled them to finally develop new and stronger bonds in their relationship so that their mutual contractual obligations could be met and fulfilled. The Gartner report explained: …Critical to success was the use of the point of view of the internal end users of HR services as a crucial measure of the deal. To that end, CVS and IBM found significant overlap in what drove both companies from a core values perspective. Together the leadership and key team members from both companies invoked a philosophy called “HR Easy,” in which the employee experience in utilizing the services of the HR department should be “easy.”

Both companies agreed that “easy HR experiences from the employees’ perspective were of primary importance.” Our impact on the CVS-IBM relationship allowed both parties to fulfill this shared value and enabled them (and their employees) to work together effectively, thus making the vast majority of CVS Caremark day-to-day HR interactions “easy.”

IBM and CVS initially entered their contract in good faith and with a desire to do right by each other. They now acknowledge that the “pace of change and the decision making would have been much slower without consciously and continually working on the trust element of the relationship” which our facilitation showed them how to do. The challenge presented by this contract has thus affected both companies in positive ways as a result of our intervention: …CVS now maintains that when something is amiss, IBM is generally very quick to take the appropriate actions to fix it. IBM states that the lessons learned from its experiences with CVS have resulted in a much more robust methodology across all of IBM’s HR BPO deal pursuits in the past couple of years. The catalytic role we played in this joint positive outcome has enabled both IBM and CVS to glean applicable wisdom from the experience of learning how to trust and function successfully as partners. As a result, each partner was able to honor its contract and work harmoniously to achieve shared goals.