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New Boss Gets Himself Fired After Demanding An Entirely New Solution For Automation Process And Making Company Lose $1.2M Per Year
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New Boss Gets Himself Fired After Demanding An Entirely New Solution For Automation Process And Making Company Lose $1.2M Per Year

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In this life, there are many rash decisions that ultimately cost the people who made them millions in losses. Suffice it to cite, say, Warren Buffett and his purchase of Dexter Shoe Company, Carl Icahn and acquisition of Blockbuster LLC, or at least the guy who recently bet almost a million and a half on the Chargers victory in the halftime.

What unites almost all bad decisions is that nearly all of them were made solely with good intentions. And, most likely, from a lack of information, knowledge, or simply bad luck. In other words, everything starts the same way, but the outcome is always different.

For example, as it happened in this story, which appeared in the Reddit Malicious Compliance community a few days ago under the authorship of the user u/thernker, and has already collected more than 5.8K upvotes and over 350 different comments. We will talk about the glorious times of the mid-’00s, when technologies were already quite developed, but the managers who made decisions about their implementation were not always there.

More info: Reddit

The author of the post led the back office process for a shared service center in the mid-’00s

Image credits: Danial Igdery (not the actual image)

So, the author of the original post in those years led the back office process for a shared service center which was owned by a major European telecommunications company. In turn, the offshore unit was based in India. One of the processes that the original poster’s team had to deal with was SIM activation, and yes, in those glorious days, it was a manual procedure.

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Image credits: u/thernker

One of the main procedures those days was SIM card activation, which was usually done manually

Data on the activation of the new SIM card came in an Excel sheet, and then someone from the team members activated the card manually based on certain pre-requisite checks. And there was really a lot of work on this procedure. According to the OP, at that time, there were fifteen people on the team, and they worked literally 24/7.

Image credits: u/thernker

One day they simply automated activation by using a macro in Excel sheet – and it turned out to be a free yet effective solution

As is often the case, at some point, the idea arose to automate this process – for example, using macros, which made it possible to reduce the amount of manual work on the procedure by about 85-90%. As the OP recalls, the stakeholder in Europe was happy about this and they were thus able to redeploy 12 members to different units outside the team’s processes. And then this story happened…

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Image credits: u/thernker

A few months later, a new Compliance Head appeared in the company. When the manager was put into action, of course, he was also shown the newly automated procedure for activating SIM cards, but the new superior wasn’t at all enthusiastic. According to the manager, the main problem with this solution was that it was developed not within the company, but with the involvement of external resources.

Image credits: RODNAE Productions (not the actual image)

Several weeks later the new Compliance Head was hired – and he immediately demanded that the team quit that solution and return to manual activation

As the original poster recalls, it was hardly a security threat – the macro did not use system credentials and, of course, did not have access to the internet. But nevertheless, the new boss demanded that everything be fixed immediately. “Fix everything” in his understanding meant immediately closing the automatic activation of SIM cards and making a request to the IT department to develop their own solution – but for now, do everything manually in the old-fashioned way.

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Image credits: u/thernker

The Compliance Head did not take into account two incredibly important factors. Firstly, the vast majority of team members were already employed on other projects. Then, secondly, it was Friday. However, no arguments had any effect on the authorities, and they had to comply. Of course, maliciously – what else could the original poster do?

Image credits: u/thernker

It was Friday and the weekend was extremely hard as the team didn’t manage to cope with lots of manual activations

The weekend went absolutely horribly – the remaining members of the team, of course, could not cope with the avalanche of activations that hit them, which cost the company many escalations and complaints. The head of compliance immediately accused the OP and their team of not following the process, but they contacted the stakeholder and briefly explained the situation and who in fact caused it. The stakeholder, as the author of the post recalls, was supportive.

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Image credits: u/thernker

Eventually the whole process was transferred to a third party and it actually cost the company £1 million

A week later, the IT team reported that it would take a month to develop and implement their own automation solution, and all this would cost £20K (using RPA). Just let us remind you that the initial solution was free. Of course, the stakeholder was not happy and suggested to move the whole process to a third party. In the end, so it turned out and the third party did the automation free of cost. True, while employees got redeployed, as the OP recalls, it still cost the offshore unit £1 million, which was the cost of their team every year.

Image credits: Karolina Grabowska (not the actual image)

Before leaving themselves, the author dropped an email describing the Compliance Head’s behavior and got him fired

After some time, the original poster themselves decided to join the third party, and before leaving, they simply dropped an email in which they explained in detail how the impulsiveness of the Compliance Head cost the company its reputation and loss of business. As icing on the cake, the OP reminisces that eventually the Compliance Head got fired after eight months.

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People in the comments claim that such a situation is, alas, far from being uncommon in contemporary business

As some people said in the comments, here, in principle, both sides can be understood, and this is called “shadow IT”. Just imagine that you have an issue that you fixed with some external solution. But now the IT comes into play, for which it is nothing more than an unknown “system” on which an entire business now probably depends. And it’s unclear to them what could be done about it.

On the other hand, other commenters claim that there is also a fairly common situation here when the new bosses show up and want to prove themselves literally from the first day on the job. “They inevitably just make things more complicated and annoy everybody in the process. This, however, goes above and beyond,” the commenter sadly states.

If you liked the whole topic about toxic managers, then you will probably appreciate our post about the manager assistant who screwed herself over by suspending almost all her staff for giving her the silent treatment in response to constant nagging. Anyway, if you happen to face or witness some similar situation as well, please feel free to tell about it in the comments.

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ola_n avatar
Headless Roach
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It really depends on what kind of I/O data the automata processes. I personally have 30+ automated work flows set up, so that I don't do stuff manually. But some things just cannot be done this way due to security / PI protection and I work with the respective dept to develop appropriate workflows. It's part of normal operations in a professional company.

angela_turrall avatar
DeVille
Community Member
1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yeah, there's definitely two sides to this one. From what they explained, I would have been happy to leave it running as is while we investigated an alternative solution. But we don't know what other rules were in place that this new person needed to follow, and also it's still an unsupported tool. I've encountered many such tools, and often, a little bit of knowledge creates a very dangerous, siloed problem, definitely as often as it creates a good reliable workaround. And there were definitely info security processes in place at that time, in telco (having been telco then myself).

Load More Replies...
jhart_1 avatar
J Hart
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I think the blame needs to go around to all the head management. Who allows one person so much authority to implement something that large with big consequences on their own? Especially someone new. That should have been a multiple executive decision with input from IT who are experienced before such a move was made. A wise collaboration saves a multitude of headaches. My two cents.

docdra_1 avatar
ADB
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Not sure I buy this story. I worked for a Telco and some of the details here seem suss. Plus, why are so many of these now introduced by way of, "I've been thinking about writing this for a while now," or something similar...

ola_n avatar
Headless Roach
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It really depends on what kind of I/O data the automata processes. I personally have 30+ automated work flows set up, so that I don't do stuff manually. But some things just cannot be done this way due to security / PI protection and I work with the respective dept to develop appropriate workflows. It's part of normal operations in a professional company.

angela_turrall avatar
DeVille
Community Member
1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yeah, there's definitely two sides to this one. From what they explained, I would have been happy to leave it running as is while we investigated an alternative solution. But we don't know what other rules were in place that this new person needed to follow, and also it's still an unsupported tool. I've encountered many such tools, and often, a little bit of knowledge creates a very dangerous, siloed problem, definitely as often as it creates a good reliable workaround. And there were definitely info security processes in place at that time, in telco (having been telco then myself).

Load More Replies...
jhart_1 avatar
J Hart
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I think the blame needs to go around to all the head management. Who allows one person so much authority to implement something that large with big consequences on their own? Especially someone new. That should have been a multiple executive decision with input from IT who are experienced before such a move was made. A wise collaboration saves a multitude of headaches. My two cents.

docdra_1 avatar
ADB
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Not sure I buy this story. I worked for a Telco and some of the details here seem suss. Plus, why are so many of these now introduced by way of, "I've been thinking about writing this for a while now," or something similar...

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