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Category Archives: Absolutely Meaningless Comedy

HfS launches new unDigital magazine

April 01, 2016 | Phil Fersht

First Issue Available on Newsstands Now!

Initial Printing of Groundbreaking New Magazine to be Mailed to 200,000 Subscribers

The firm that coined the As-a-Service Economy is now disrupting the analyst industry even further. HfS Research, The Services Research Company, today announced it has launched its most disruptive research offering so far: HfS unDigital Magazine.

This revolutionary publication will challenge the rhetoric and hype currently being stirred up in the IT and BPO services industry, building on the success of the radical blog "Horses for Sources," which will soon be replaced by this cutting-edge print publication. HfS is now taking disruption to an entirely new level...by revitalizing the hallowed glossy magazine. The firm believes people are so tired of relentless social media that bringing back printed words and pictures will change the research game once more.

In announcing the latest development, Phil Fersht, HfS Founder and Industry Analyst, noted that this is not the first time the firm has shaken up the marketplace.

"In 2007, when I created the Horses for Sources blog, people thought I was crazy," said Fersht. "Who would read that? Then, when I started HfS Research a few years later, people became truly concerned for my sanity. Soon after, we created the industry's best summits. Now, with well over a million hits on our sites every year, we have decided to shake things up once again. How can people still doubt us now?"

HfS unDigital Magazine will be available on newsstands around the globe and via subscription to 200,000 existing clients and community members:


The first issue of the magazine is printed by Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, in Heidelberg (Baden-Württemberg), Germany, on 80lb glossy paper stock, features the following stories:

  • Phil Fersht tells all with his Undisrupted Undigital Experience
  • Dumb and Bummer: Why Artificial Intelligence is all hype
  • Hot News from December 2015Outcome-based pricing is worth the paper it is written on
  • A Labor Arbitrage love-fest with Agony Uncle Charles
  • Design Stinking: HfS sifts through the cheese to get to the real deal
  • De-automating your Back Office the Reuner way

"This is a huge undertaking," Fersht added. "But we know that a lot of our community has grown tired of staring at pixels and yearn for the feel of the printed page once again. Disruption has moved full circle and now we're disrupting back in print. Our clients tell us they miss being able to sit on the loo and flick through pages of their favorite analysts waxing lyrical. Those days are now back... so take your seat and enjoy!"

And of course... this was an:

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Posted in: Absolutely Meaningless Comedy



How Design Thinking could really help your brand strategy

January 31, 2016 | Phil Fersht

This company may have its digital transformation strategy spot-on, but it could definitely benefit from some Design Thinking to maximize its brand opportunities and re-imagine its customer experience:

Digital Ham 

Posted in: Absolutely Meaningless ComedyDesign ThinkingHfSResearch.com Homepage


If I was elected Prez...

September 16, 2015 | Phil Fersht

It's not too late to throw my hat in the ring, so I thought I'd test my manifesto with you folks first to see if I have a shot...

I would:

Running for President with policies that will surely nail it

Running for President with policies that will surely nail it

Charge income tax on robots

Make the European tradition of boozing at lunch an acceptable part of American culture

Not be anything like Donald Trump

Appoint Hillary as our Digital Trust Czar

Make all power accessories become "recognizable" by Apple devices, as long as they fit in the hole

Make analysts pass a basic IQ test before their next scatterplot

Make Apple upgrade every hotel radio and gym machine with the right adapter socket

Make sourcing advisors pass a basic IQ test before they, er, do anything

Make service provider executives stop wearing gray suits

Introduce the “Whiner’s Circle” – we’ll run a Blueprint every year on the leading buy side whiners

Not be anything like Donald Trump

Blast the Ashley Madison database and force them all to take an online course in “bots versus humans”

Introduce the “Sinners Circle” of top outsourcing execs caught soliciting robotic women on Ashley…

Appoint Sepp Blatter as Magic Quadrant Ombudsman

Build a wall between Canada and the US to keep out Tim Hortons

Appoint Bernie Sanders as Chairman of NASSCOM

Hire Carly Fiorina to leverage her experience of singlehandedly dismantling a well organized international organization… to take down ISIS

Roll out an RPA strategy for Congress. Robotic Political Automation

Not be anything like Donald Trump

Fine anyone who talks about Digital who fails to explain what it actually is first

Make Donald Trump build a very large wall around his house…

So there you have it, now to do I have your support?


Posted in: Absolutely Meaningless Comedy



How Robotic Process Automation has become a right dog's breakfast

September 03, 2015 | Phil Fersht

Dogs Breakfast RPAOver the course of this year, practically every conversation we've been having about IT and BPO has culminated in the impact robotic automation will have on service providers, third-party advisors, RPA software vendors and the poor unsuspecting enterprise clients, all seemingly unprepared for the tsunami of impending disruption caused by this suddenly-discovered ability to mimic human behaviour in software scripts.

Sadly, most of these conversations are fraught with misconceptions about what RPA can - and should - deliver to the enterprise and real misunderstandings about the speed to benefit realization.  Yes indeed, the whole services industry has gone careening up hype creek, powered by advisor and provider-infused methane.  So let's enter the kitchen of HfS' Charles Sutherland, who will unravel the not-so-secret recipe of today's RPA dogs' breakfast...

RPA - why 9 out of 10 enterprises haven't really got a bloody clue

In a recent survey of 178 enterprise buyers, only 11% of respondents said that they have extensive or even some real-life hands-on experience with RPA to-date.   That means that 89% of respondents have not really experienced RPA hands-on but were instead getting their insights on its capabilities via indirect messaging.  Much of this messaging on RPA has sensationalized the benefits (scope and speed) of this technology and, in the view of HfS, created a misrepresentation of the art of the possible today. So how did we as a market get to this point of serving up this Dog’s Breakfast of RPA?

Recipe For Making A Dog’s Breakfast Out of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

  1. We began with one initial but tasty ingredient of a technology suite that uses software “bots” to replicate rules based human facilitated transactions.
  2. We introduced a portion of confusion as to whether the real application of RPA is for roles that are 100% replacement (e.g. all day data entry) or whether RPA is more likely to be applied in roles that are only partial substitutable with technology and when doing this make sure that the attributed benefits from application to the former are broadly applied to the later even when that can never be.
  3. Then a few cooks forgot to mix in the required portion of change management and internal communications as to how RPA will impact talent in the enterprise (and any service provider) and what their futures will look like post RPA.
  4. They then used less than the required amount of skilled talent who actually understand both the technologies and the processes against which they should best be applied.
  5. We also allowed any software vendor with even a passing association to automation to join the cooking team and add their own specific flavoring to the recipe.
  6. Then the market stirred up the resulting mixture with unclear messaging as to whether RPA is an end-state of technology or whether it is the means to an end of finding the cost savings to fund a future (and pending) transformation of the business process and its supporting technology into a natively digital end-to-end environment.
  7. Now as the recipe begins to become less recognizable than what you started with, just for good measure we have seasoned in hints of cognitive computing and artificial intelligence as further ingredients.
  8. Then we baked this mixture at a high heat with much hype into commercial discussions between enterprise clients, their third party advisors, consultants and BPO service providers until it takes a hot bubbling form.
  9. Finally, when ready to prove and serve to the enterprise service buyer, the market forgets to turn on a helpful light of real case studies from other enterprises that have sampled this before and instead pour the resulting breakfast dish into pilot or proof of concept sized bowls that don’t show it all in its tastiest form.

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Posted in: Absolutely Meaningless ComedyBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO)Buyers' Sourcing Best Practices



Forget Uberization, we must avoid Subwayfication

August 01, 2015 | Phil Fersht
The Used-to-be-a-Service Economy

The Used-to-be-a-Service Economy

The As-a-Service Economy is all about achieving the outcomes we most want with a great service experience.  So let's look at how to avoid that not happening and becoming legacy businesses that failed to stay ahead of the demand curve.

The perfect anti-example is Subway. Back in 2001, the release of Fast Food nation shocked much of the Western world into realizing we were slowly killing ourselves on pink-slime infused fast food. It was great for Subway as it sold sandwiches that - for all intents and purposed at the time - we thought were a far healthier option than Burger King.  And it seemed to taste OK too...

Fast forward to today - people are increasingly  aware that chemically-preserved fake colored bread, cheap antibiotic-induced meats and pesticide-flavored vegetables aren't much worse for you than a greasy concoction of pink slime, protein and french fries.

Coupled with this is the service experience - I accidentally ventured into a Subway the other day (one of those once-in-every-five yearly visits, where you are just so damn hungry and want to avoid the golden arches).  The only desired outcome

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Posted in: Absolutely Meaningless ComedyDesign ThinkingHfSResearch.com Homepage


HfS announces its entry into the outsourcing advisory market

April 01, 2015 | Phil Fersht

HfS_Logo_2_OrangeHfS Research, the leading analyst firm covering outsourcing strategies, today launched HfS Advisory (abbreviated to "HfS&") and announced its exit from the research analyst business.  The firm, once lauded for disrupting the research industry by giving its research away for free, finally conceded there is actually no money to me made from a business model where there the core product does not have an associated price tag.

As part of its relaunch as HfS&, the firm announced the following new advisory service lines, designed to disrupt today's outsourcing advisory marketplace:

1) FTE-Lite .  HfS& will disrupt the traditional outsourcing transaction marketplace by offering a

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Posted in: Absolutely Meaningless ComedyDigital TransformationHfSResearch.com Homepage



How to avoid being a terrible virtual worker

March 28, 2015 | Phil Fersht

One growing talent issue I have increasingly become concerned about, is observing people whose career development quickly nosedives when they isolate themselves in a work-at-home model.

I personally believe being able to work effectively within a virtual environment warrants a completely different skillset and attitude, if you want to advance your career and keep developing your potential.

So here's my guide to being an effective virtual worker in six easy steps:

1. Use voice and video as much as you can.  Staring into a computer relentlessly typing emails for 16 hours a day with little voice contact with your clients/co-workers makes anyone miserable - and anti-social over time.  Make considerable effort to talk to people as much as you can.  Use video for conference calls too - it forces everyone to pay attention (and get dressed) and have a much more personal series of dialogs.

2. Sort out your voice technology.  There's nothing worse than communicating with people who have a crappy wifi connection, with whom you can never get a clear skype/google conversation without the echos, constant disconnections etc.  If your wifi's garbage, you can get great quality Skype (for example) over 4g LTE these days on your iPad or iPhone.  Oh, and while we're at it, stop slurping coffee and eating into your microphone on calls, it's disgusting...

3. Stop using email for every bloody communication.  Email is a tool for passing along information and instructions. Learn how to be cordial, get your message across and use voice as much as possible to communicate.  Never use email for heated conversations that have emotion (especially negative emotion).

4. Buy an exercise machine and work out everyday.  Without fail.  You're sitting on your bum most the day burning zero calories and likely visiting the fridge on an hourly basis.  You have to exercise, or you will balloon and die.  Buy yourself an elliptical trainer, exercise bike or treadmill, use it everyday, and after a while you'll get so fit you can even take calls while you get even fitter.  I would recommend going to a gym, but who has two hours to carve out when you're an overworked virtual nutcase glued to your machine all day and night?

5. Invest more time getting out to see your clients, your peers and do more networking.  When you see noone bar your family, pets and the plumber on a daily basis, the only way to stay motivated and continue to develop yourself is to go to more conferences, make more effort to visit your clients / peers etc.  You learn the most from your collective discussions with others, from having discreet conversations.  Everyone's fed up with social-media - meeting people and being social is back in vogue.  Really - get out of the house!

6. Stop complaining about how stressed and overworked you are.  Boohoo - just suck it up, we're all over-bloody-worked.  It's all in the mind - so get healthy, get social again, start enjoying your work and you'll forget about stress and go with the flow.  Just go with the flow, it's the only way to survive these days.

There endeth my lesson for the day.  Go back to your weekend...

Posted in: Absolutely Meaningless ComedyBuyers' Sourcing Best PracticesCloud Computing



2015: Time to salvage yourself from your digital wreckage of a work-life

December 29, 2014 | Phil Fersht

10 years ago, you most likely checked your email once in the morning, once after lunch and once at the  end of the day.

You actually spent your day being productive, writing reports, presentations, attending meetings that actually had agendas, going to client meetings that had been organized weeks' ago. You might even have had time to read things and educate yourself... In short, you probably had some semblance of an organized work day, and there was a clear delineation between your work life and your own life.

And after work, you'd perhaps meet some colleagues for a drink and a bite to eat, then (heaven forbid) go to a karaoke bar or hit a dance floor. In those days we were physically social with each other. You interacted, you got stuff done, you had fun, you let your hair down occasionally.

Today, you probably wake up at 6.00am and wearily reach out to your mobile device to check your email, before you've had time to even think about anything else.  And you'll probably spend your entire day checking it at a minimum rate of once every 15 minutes, getting precious little work done, reacting to memos, getting added to meetings with no agendas (that you probably should never have been invited to in the first place) that have zero follow-through or real purpose.

That ppt deck you started at 6.45am has barely progressed, as you decide to check your LinkedIn updates for a third time that morning to see who else had viewed your profile, or join into electronic congress with someone who trusts you, even though you have no recollection of ever having met said person.  It's now 11.00am, and finally you're ready to write your name on the front cover of that ppt deck, but then - lordy lord - you just realized you'd (gasp) forgotten to check your twitter feed all morning.  A welling of fresh excitement bubbles up into your electronic life as you check out those three retweets from your late night tweeting bonanza, but this quickly extinguishes

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Posted in: Absolutely Meaningless ComedySocial NetworkingSourcing Change Management



Gartner, HfS and Forrester top the Analyst Firm of the Year awards, voted by 1100 research consumers

December 20, 2014 | Phil Fersht

The Analyst Firm of the Year 2014 Awards combines the opinions of 1,100 worldwide users of analyst firms who voted in the Analyst Value Survey, led by the worldwide acclaimed analyst of the analystsDuncan Chapple.  It is the only credible study today conducted on the analyst firms, that incorporates the views of a very large, statistically-significant community of research consumers:

Click to Enlarge

Duncan and his colleagues deserve a lot of credit for their hard work reaching out into the industry of end users and vendors to get the real, unvarnished view of this world and educating the masses on who is really influencing and performing.

I also wanted to praise the hard work of the HfS analyst team for working so hard to get our voice and brand above the deluge of noise in today's industry and making such long term commitments with us to get us where we are today.

You can read Duncan's full post on the awards here.

Posted in: Absolutely Meaningless ComedyHfSResearch.com Homepage



When you may get better outcomes using speech recognition software...

December 18, 2014 | Phil Fersht

Posted in: Absolutely Meaningless Comedy