Managing a Global Team Harvard Case Solution & Analysis


Sun Microsystem’s Indian client HS Holdings had their servers crashed but couldn’t get in touch with anyone at Sun Microsystem despite having the 24x7 Sun software premium. They then, threatened the company with a lawsuit, asking them for $300,000 of the contract price and to compensate them for the lost revenues due to the servers being down.


HS Holdings, a client of Sun Microsystem Inc. was involved in online banking and had experienced a problem with their servers which caused their services to be disrupted for two hours, resulting in a huge loss in revenues to the client. The customers of the client were angry as HS Holdings tried to explain the issue to them. Sun Microsystems, Inc. had a service contract with HS Holdings, which ensured that HS Holdings received 24x7 support from Sun Microsystems, but no one from Sun Microsystems responded due to a number of reasons. HS Holdings threatened Sun Microsystems, Inc. with a lawsuit, asking them to return the $300,000 of the 24x7 Sun software premium contract along with the compensation for lost revenues.

HS Holding’s attorneys contacted Sun Microsystem’s Global Vice President who then, asked his Global Manager, Greg James about the failure at HS Holdings. James met with his team and became aware of serious and complex interpersonal issues within his team. He then pondered about what needed to be done in order to prevent such occurrences in the future, his communication strategy and the steps that he could take to manage his team better.

Managing a Global Team Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Evaluation and Analysis of the Problem Drivers:Problems in Communication:

The customer service manager of the Mumbai Team, Rahul Ashok kept calling and paging the US team for hours without response. The support engineer in Mumbai, Praveen Devilal did not call Nick Elliot who is the primary contact for the account as he had felt insulted by him on a previous occasion. Instead, he chose to contact the on-call manager and in the process, used the wrong contact protocol. Nick Elliot didn’t know of the issue until Monday.

Later, it was found upon inquiry that the issue was logged wrongly in the queue. The programming of the queue was done by Jamal, an engineer from Dubai. There was miscommunication between the teams in America, India and UAE with regards to the objective of the queuing system. The requirements were not properly communicated within the teams which had caused a miscommunication, resulting in the queuing system being wrongly programmed. The program was checked by another engineer but the instructions on which it was based, were wrongly communicated.

Elisabeth Fournier, the Customer Advocate for European Accounts contacted Nick and Greg about the HS Holdings situation immediately after she received a call from HS Holding’s manager but both of them didn’t respond, after which, she directly contacted the support engineer who then, contacted the HS Holding manager but by then, he had left the office.

It seems that there are a number of layers involved in communication, both within Sun Microsystem and the team’s communication with the client. The crisis could have been averted if the communication within the team was streamlined. There are clearly serious communication issues within the team such as the support engineer not contacting the primary contact directly because he felt insulted by Nick...............

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