Alliance performs some spectacular Satyam ambulance-chasing

I was stupefied to observe Alliance Global Services, a privately-held IT services shop, join the Satyam ambulance-chasers by promoting it's "IT Partners Bill Of Rights".  Alliance is hoping to get 100,000 signatures supporting some version of its bill of rights and to have the document serve as a platform to establish a "global ethic consortium for IT services vendors":

  1. The right to demand transparency throughout every step of an engagement — from sales to contracting to delivery and termination
  2. The right to fully understand the nature and character of an IT partner and the service that it provides to them
  3. The right to fully understand the financial viability of an IT partner
  4. The right to be made aware of any impending legal charges against an IT partner, should they arise, as soon as they occur
  5. The right to arrive at a mutually agreed upon definition of the term "trusted partner"
  6. The right to expect a clear contract that defines fees and expenses up front before any agreement is signed
  7. The right to terminate a relationship with no financial penalty in the event of any admitted fraudulent activity
  8. The right to demand the existence of a truly independent board of advisers
  9. The right to expect the presence of an independent financial auditor accompanied by a set of checks and balances
  10. The right to demand accountability for any actions taken within the scope of a technology project or as part of a firm's broader business practices

While I cannot argue with any client requesting any of the above from an IT vendor (or any client of any services supplier in any industry for that matter), this media-marketing is shamelessly exploiting the Satyam situation to market its own services and take advantage of media-hounds hungry to add fuel to this controversy.  One vendor cooks the books and suddenly the whole world of offshore outsourcing is crooked? Would this action really have prevented Ramalinga Raju doing what he did?  Puh-lease!

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7 Comments

  1. Lepeak
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    OK, Phil – be more supportive! I’m sure if this bill of rights was in place, no one at Satyam would have dared cook the books! Think of the shame and guilt. And as soon as we get a passenger bill of rights, air travel will become MUCH better as well. And by the way, enjoy your day today sitting in airport lounges, but don’t worry, I hear Ms. Pelosi & Gang have a “those suffering from inclement weather” bill of rights coming as well….

  2. Steve Allen
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I completely agree that this is shameless exploitation for marketing gain. While the Satyam scandal has brought an over-reaction of negativity to offshore outsourcing, what Alliance is trying to do here is draw further attention to the issue. It’s ONE company which transgressed – and not a partularly large one either. At least most of the clients I speak to aren’t being easily fooled by the media hype and the circling vultures. The quicker this scandal fades into the past the better. Thanks for airing this.

  3. Peggy Cope
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    The last time I checked, that passenger bill of rights was dead in the water and had been for years. And unlike air passengers, any buyer of outsourced service has the huge advantage of the due diligence phase. Most of the information these customers have a “right to know” is actually the kind of data any responsible buyer should turn up if they ask the right questions and conduct careful research before they sign any contract. It’s their responsibility to make sure they get answers that satisfy them.

    Yes, buyers are going to be asking all these questions and more now that Satyam has scared many of them silly, but many responsible providers are proactively making the information available in order to reassure skittish would-be clients already. I think Phil’s right… this is just an effort on the part of one smaller player to draw eyes their way. Which is fair enough, in my view. After all, most of the companies that are shrieking “We would NEVER poach an existing Satyam client!” were probably on the phone to State Farm and other firms five minutes after news of the scandal broke. There are many fine distinctions to be drawn in any discussion of business ethics.

  4. Posted January 29, 2009 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    You are dead right Phil. This was a shoddy manoeuvre by Alliance…cheesy too.

  5. Posted January 30, 2009 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    I completely agree that this is shameless exploitation for marketing gain. The Satyam scandal has brought an over-reaction of negativity to offshore outsourcing.

  6. Posted February 4, 2009 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Full disclosure I work for Alliance and worked on this campaign -

    While I understand the cynicism surrounding such initiatives I would imagine
    you would differentiate an effort to raise the level of conversation from
    pure ambulance chasing – like some of our competitors advertising on google keyword
    “Satyam Scandal”. This was an effort on our part to say outsourcing can be
    done better and transparently to benefit customers, vendors and their
    employees.

    And thanks for posting the rules in their entirety.

  7. Posted February 8, 2009 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Hi Sreekanth,

    In all honesty, this was one of the milder cases of ambulance-chasing and does propose some sensible measures, but the timing causes anyone to be cynical. If your firm had released this publicity prior to the scandal, then you could have really gone to town with it. The simple fact that the media has failed to uncover any other cases of corruption, despite intense efforts, nullifies this issue as an industry-wide problem for Indian services,

    PF.

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