HfS Network

Category Archives: CRM and Marketing

The back office is dead... long live OneOffice

May 13, 2016 | Phil Fersht

Intelligent OneOfficeIf someone called you "back office", I'd imagine you'd be a little bit offended.  It's probably not much worse than being called "useless", or "about to be automated out of existence"...

But I have good news for you back-office rebels - your time spent festering in the backend of yonder is finally coming to an end. Why?  Because the onset of digital and emerging automation solutions, coupled with the dire need to access meaningful data in real-time, is forcing the back and middle to support the customer experience needs of the front.

Our soon-to-be released study on achieving Intelligent Operations, which canvassed 371 major buyside enterprises, reveals two key dynamics that are unifying the front, middle and back offices:

  1. A "customer first mindset" is the leading business driver driving operations strategies.  Over half of upper management (51%) view their customers' experiences as impacting sourcing model change and strategy, which is placing the relevance and value of the back office in the spotlight.
  2. Three quarters of enterprises (75%) claim digital is having a radical impact. We can debate the meaning and relevance of digital forever, but the bottom line is that enterprise leaders need to (be seen) to have a digital strategy - and a support function which can facilitate these digital interactions and data needs. The old barriers where staff in the back office don't need to think and merely oversee operational process delivery, and those in the middle, which only venture a part of the way to aligning processes to customer needs, are fading away.

Consequently, we're evolving to an era where there is only "OneOffice" that matters anymore,

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Posted in: 2016 Intelligent Ops StudyAnalytics and Big DataBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO)

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Teleperformance, Concentrix and Sutherland lead the HfS Contact Center Operations Blueprint

May 03, 2016 | Phil Fersht

Our latest research into intelligent operations reveals a customer first strategy is the biggest driver for C-Suite leaders today, so where more important to focus than what's going on at the call center?  Has there ever been a more compelling time for call center service providers to step up and prove to their clients they can do a whole lot more than execute basic customer services?

Call center services have matured significantly in recent years, where you can find a plethora of providers doing a masterful job managing resources all over the world to deliver affordable voice services - but choosing between them has often never been so difficult.  However, with the need for so many enterprises to focus on the omnichannel customer experience to differentiate themselves, we're now in a critical bake-off between those call center providers delivering real customer value versus those still walking the treadmill of proving legacy voice services at ever-cheaper rates.  Plus, we still have many enterprise buyers who squeeze the life out of their providers on cost, and then expect the provider's A team to show up. Hence, there is a fine balance between the value clients need, the investments they are prepared to make to achieve this value, and the ability of smart providers to invest in As-a-Service models that take advantage of talent, digital technology and automation to deliver high value, without huge increases in headcount investments. Sounds easy, right?

In this vein, we're excited to announce the release of our first Contact Center Operations Blueprint, authored by HfS Research Director and contact center veteran, Melissa O’Brien, the only contact center analyst who's actually lived in the Philippines running a call center operation herself. Melissa's been exploring the cluttered competitive landscape, talking to a huge number of clients and leading providers, to help shed some light on the competitive landscape and where this market is truly heading:

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(Click to enlarge)

Melissa, please give us a flavor for the current state of the contact center operations market

This is a market undergoing a pretty dramatic transformation, in part due to increasing end-customer expectations - ambitious service providers are looking

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Buyers' Sourcing Best PracticesCaptives and Shared Services Strategies

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Rescuing BPO from its trough of directionless boredom: Make jobs challenging and creative

April 17, 2016 | Phil Fersht

Bored BPO CatWhen your enterprise is increasingly dependent on hiring "Millennials" with digital skills and lower wage needs, you'd better figure out a plan for creating exciting, challenging career paths, or you're pretty much already doomed.

Sadly, our Talent in BPO study from last year tells a very depressing tale when you ask BPO delivery executives what they think of their BPO career:

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What's alarming is the failure of enterprises to create and communicate a viable BPO career path for seven-out-of-eight professionals with under two years' experience.  And - while 63% of newbies strongly agree their job is vital to business performance, a depressing one-in-eight are actually excited by their career choice.  When people get past the first couple of years, their experience clearly improves, but the concern here is how can we attract top (or even middling) talent into BPO careers, when there is such a negative perception of the potential of the job.  If we can't attract the talent, the industry will never progress beyond a cost/efficiency play.

What can we do to attract the "Digital Generation" into the BPO business?

Start new hires on activities that require creativity and critical thinking. Working in BPO has to be about delivering capabilities beyond rote, operational processes.  Today's college graduates are simply not coming out of school willing to perform mundane routine work.  Just look at the new WEF jobs report to see how skills requirements are quickly shifting, as business needs evolve - especially the need for creative skills, going from number ten to number three in merely five years:

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Click to Enlarge

In the past, for example, an accountant would often earn his/her chops processing accounts and doing routine GL work, before progressing to controllership activities, such as budgeting, quality audits, FP&A, forecasting and risk assessment work.  With much better technology and offshoring

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Posted in: 2015 Talent in BPO StudyAnalytics and Big DataBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO)

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Confusion-as-a-Service: The massive disconnect between vision and reality

March 04, 2016 | Phil Fersht

"Our clients come back from conferences demanding they need an Automation and a Digital strategy, with no idea what they are", said a senior partner in a Big 4 consultancy yesterday.

I have never known a time in the world of business when there is no much hype, confusion and unsettlement. Sadly, we are now living in a world where snippets of soundbites are so intensely shared across the variety media we use (I nearly said "omnichannel") that our industry is completely dominated by hype, as opposed to reality.

Data from our recent As-a-Service study just shows how alarming this disconnect is... the C-Suite is just living on a different planet from the teams below them trying to keep their businesses functioning:

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"Cannibalization" is merely the C-Suite waking up to the realization they can spend less with their service providers

Let's stop beating around the bush on this one - services providers (in most cases) make nice profit margins on their outsourcing deals. What's happening is that supply is now outsripping demand - there are too many competitors vying for a pool of enterprise clients who want to decrease their external spend.  The "demand" is coming from the next layer down of clients (the proverbial "mid market") which just don't have the size and resources to warrant the attention of the top tier providers.  What's more, the top tier of service providers is simply not structured to go after the mid-market - they can't afford to - and are stuck circling the same legacy enterprises like vultures trying to find new ways to squeeze money out of them.

Terms like "Digital transformation" are being used as the new levers to encourage gullible C-Suite

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Posted in: 2015 As-a-Service StudyAnalytics and Big DataBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO)

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Now for some proper #DesignThinking

March 03, 2016 | Phil Fersht

One of the cleverest (and most subtle) pieces of branding you will ever see... but just think of the Design Thinking the branding agency applied to come up with this:

George Nespresso

Posted in: Buyers' Sourcing Best PracticesContact Center and Omni-ChannelCRM and Marketing

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There's a whole generation with a new explanation... in San Francisco

February 25, 2016 | Phil Fersht

Get ready! We're Coming to San Francisco!

sf-email-headerYou may have heard we just announced our first-ever Working Summit for Buyers in San Francisco at the St. Regis Hotel May 26th - 27th. The summit's theme—Vision 2020 for Intelligent Operations—brings together the IT and business process services industry's brightest minds and stakeholders. Seats are limited and available at no cost to well-qualified senior buyers. So, if you are interested, pencil us in your calendar and apply for a seat now.

Unvarnished Discussion Sessions

  • The State of the As-a-Service Economy and Intelligent Operations: Is It Here?
  • Evolution or Revolution: What does the Future really Look Like?
  • The Current State of Intelligent Automation – what’s working and what’s not for buyers
  • Service Automation: Robots and the Future of Work
  • The Digitization of the Finance Function
  • Co-inventing for the As-a-Service Economy
  • Hiring for As-a-Service Skills and the Role HR must play in the As-a-Service Economy
  • The evolution of Omni-Channel for CRM: What is it really, and does is exist?
  • Analytics and Big Data in the As-a-Service Economy… what’s really coming next?
  • Getting ahead of Trust and Security in the As-a-Service Economy
  • The C-Suite Advisor – Buyer Face/Off
  • The C-Suite Service Provider Shootout

Apply-Now-Button-Email

Featured Discussion Leaders

  • Mary Lacity, Curators’ Professor, University of Missouri
  • Lee Coulter, CEO Shared Services, Ascension Health
  • Allison Sagraves, Chief Data Officer, M&T Bank
  • Phil Fersht, CEO HfS Research
  • Carol Britton, CPO, Bank of New York Mellon
  • Charlie Aird, Global Leader, PwC Shared Services and Outsourcing advisory
  • Chip Wagner, CEO Alsbridge
  • Dave Brown, Global Lead, Shared Service & Outsourcing Advisory at KPMG
  • Dennis Howlett, Co-Founder, Diginomica
  • Dilip Vellodi, Chairman and CEO, Sutherland Global Services
  • Jay Desai, Senior Director, Enterprise Outsourcing, AbbVie
  • Gajen Kandiah, Executive Vice President and General Manager Cognizant Digital Works and Business Process Services
  • Harry Wallaesa, CEO, The W Group
  • Jesus Mantas, Head of Global Business Services, IBM
  • Joe Frampus, Partner, Avasant
  • Kevin McDonald, VP of BPO Governance, The E.W. Scripps Company
  • Leslie Willcocks, Professor, Workforce and Globalization, London School of Economics
  • Mark Voytek, Partner, Ernst and Young
  • Michael Corcoran, Head of Strategy, Accenture Operations
  • Pradip Khemani, Head of Global Business Services, Blue Shield of California
  • Scott Furlong, Partner, ISG
  • Shantanu Ghosh, SVP & Global Head – CFO & Transformation Services, Genpact
  • Srinidhi Rao, Head – Service Management and Process Excellence, Juniper Networks
  • Tony Filippone, Senior Vice President, Outsourcing Management, AXIS Capital
  • Robin Rasmussen, Partner, HR SSOA KPMG
  • Vishal Sikka, CEO Infosys
  • Wesley Bryan, Co-Founder, OneSource Virtual

Apply-Now-Button-EmailHfS Analysts

As usual, we'll have a full contingent of HfS analysts on site to present the latest data and stimulate discussions. In San Francisco, we'll have Phil Fersht, Charles Sutherland, Barbra McGann, Fred McClimans, Melissa O’Brien and Reetika Joshi.

Apply-Now-Button-Email

Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Captives and Shared Services StrategiesCloud Computing

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Three very handsome CEOs take on three advisors... only on HfS

January 20, 2016 | Phil Fersht

Posted in: Analytics and Big DataBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO)Buyers' Sourcing Best Practices

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HfS announces expansion plans for 2016 across our analyst and commercial operations

January 14, 2016 | Phil Fersht
Click to access press release

Click to access press release

Posted in: About UsBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO)Buyers' Sourcing Best Practices

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The discussion thread that defines us? Traumatic 2016... Survive the race to the bottom!

January 03, 2016 | Phil Fersht

It's on… 2016 is the year that will separate the service dinosaurs from the savvy cannibalizers, as revenue growth slides towards negative territory and the onus shifts from selling more buttocks on seats to maintaining sexy profit margins.

Cutting to the chase, the technology and business services industry is becoming a very different place, and those of us failing to adapt, should start considering alternative career plans.  I hear massage therapy is in high demand these days…

Indian heritage majors... rev growth 2010-present

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So what will really happen as we embark on our negative revenue growth journey?  Here are five scenarios detailing how this will play out...

1) Big sucks - especially for providers... so get smaller and smarter.  You're still huge, clunky, siloed and political, constantly looking at "new" ways to reduce the workforce, while only being allowed to bid on big legacy deals, where the advisor is (still) squeezing everyone for price and your marketing team is still pretending you're delivering nextgen solutions to clients (which you really aren't).  Under all the swirl of nonsense, you're strategy is still really all about carting in even cheaper, younger kids from even cheaper, more remote places, and quietly ushering your burned out middle-management the exit. Meanwhile, as the allure of big provider life fades, many of the stars you want to keep are getting enticed by the thriving start up scene. Yes, people, being big and clunky is an increasingly crappy place to be, and many people reading this will be nodding violently that this is where they, quite frankly, are.

2) The mid-tier BPOs and up-and-coming As-a-Service providers have a great opportunity to steal the show. You either need to find sole source clients prepared to co-invest with you in their futures, or start to cater for new-gen deals that force you to build out your multitenant delivery

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Posted in: Analytics and Big DataBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO)Cognitive Computing

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10 issues defining the services industry in 2016

December 31, 2015 | Phil Fersht

We've pooled all the big discussion topics from our recent service buyers summit in Harvard and let our analysts loose to demand 10 big things the industry needs to address if we are going to drag ourselves away from legacy land and avoid becoming massage therapists... and venture into the promised land of the As-a-Service Economy:

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Click to Enlarge

1. Outsourcing is now part of a broader management capability; it is not a standalone profession. Outsourcing is a competency that is learned on the job and through real experience as opposed to a qualification or certification. It is an ongoing, amorphous capability that has no end-state or stamp of perfection, it is the ability to partner to improve constantly processes, outcomes and performance. Outsourcing is a means to improvement, access to resources and better capability, usually not the means to a specific end.

2. Intelligent Automation has emerged as a core competency for operations staff. Like outsourcing,Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a means to improve processes and applications, but rarely the ideal end-state - it typically is retrofitted to make legacy applications and processes function more automatically and efficiently. Legacy operations delivery and BPO can only achieve a certain level of efficiency, without a well-planned Intelligent Automation roadmap. RPA is one of the leading technologies to provide efficiency improvement in rules based tasks and processes, but Intelligent Automation (see link)  is also now including the adoption of real time self-learning techniques, predictive analytics and cognitive computing.

3. Ambitious providers will cannibalize their revenues when their buyers give them more to work with. Moving forward, buyers will need to make some new investments in Intelligent Automation (especially RPA) technology and expertise, while the service providers will ultimately have to concede they may need to reduce the FTE provision on their side, as automation takes effect. A service provider must prove it can redeploy "freed-up FTEs" on their clients’ higher value

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Posted in: 2015 HfS Buyers SummitAnalytics and Big DataBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO)

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