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Category Archives: HfS Surveys: State of the Industry Study 2010

The Industry Speaks, Part VI: Customers increasingly look to industry-specific BPO solutions, but which vendors will ultimately invest to define and deliver them?

February 15, 2010 | Phil Fersht

Modern-industry As we discussed during the previous five chapters of this encyclopedic journey to over-analyze our industry, customers are looking beyond the old simplicities of outsourcing to find new and creative ways to find new performance thresholds. 

One of these areas is to exploit BPO opportunities within industry-specific domains, especially where there is opportunity to bundle both BPO and IT services together under a single vendor's provision to generate more efficient business outcomes. 

To cut to the chase, the industry-specific (vertical) process domains are where some of the newer vendor entrants are infiltrating, almost unnoticed, into the BPO industry.  Most of the strong IT services vendors have been developing BPO niches in specific verticals where they have developed some strong process acumen and client credibility, and have the determination to invest in becoming best-in-class within that industry. 

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Buyers' Sourcing Best PracticesCloud Computing



The Industry Speaks, Part V: As the mid-market looks aggressively at Finance & Accounting BPO, the move to standardize heats-up

February 09, 2010 | Phil Fersht

Camembert I took a rather embarrassed peek at the very first post I wrote on the Horses and, having been revived from the camembert fumes of consultant-speak from yesteryear (did we really write like that?), I realized that we were actually onto something back then. 

The only major difference today is that this is no longer a game for the glitzy F100, when clients could demand their vendors take their existing processes, and simply run them at lower cost, with very little change to the actual way they did things.  And if the resulting savings weren't quite as good as originally promised, and the books weren't getting closed promptly, the vendor always bore the full brunt of the blame.

The big difference today, is that more clients are tending (though not always) to take more responsibility for the success of their BPO engagement.  If clients take flawed processes and run them offshore,  it's only going to expose how flawed they were in the first place.   Plus, if you're put in charge of managing a BPO engagement today,  you're charged with making it work, not coming up with reasons for failure.  If you can prove you can do this successfully in one firm, many other firms will want to hire you to do it for them too.  I'm trying to convince a good friend of mine to guest here and talk about how he's managed to oversee two major F&A BPO transitions for two companies, because it's truly becoming a lucrative - and scarce - expertise for customers today.

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Posted in: HfS Surveys: All our Survey PostsHfS Surveys: State of the Industry Study 2010



The Industry Speaks, Part IV: Cloud services will separate the "real" business services providers from the body-shoppers

February 06, 2010 | Phil Fersht

GruyereFor once I am stumped for a catchy title, and am opting for some good ol' jargon-laden gruyère to tee-up Part IV in the series discussing our New Normal in Outsourcing Delivery survey.  At least I've avoided the 'T' word lately, to grant myself a morsel of poetic license to indulge in a little schmolz... 

But we all love the term "Cloud" (c'mon, you know you do...).  It gives us a nice fluffy visual of ripping out all that complex, clunky computing chaos from our organization, and having some nice services vendor deliver us everything we need for our business... leaving us with simply a screen, a keyboard and lots off additional space in the office to set up that Fussball table... or a Twister mat in the corner... 

Why Cloud Computing is the future of outsourcing delivery 

While I am probably the first cynic to de-odorize the latest cheese fumes that infuse our industry, I have to admit I am rather taken with the whole philosophy of Cloud Computing.  Cloud signifies the coming-together of business process and IT delivery in a fully outsourced model (see earlier post).  Cloud's not simply about outsourcing the heavy-duty computing grunt - it's about the delivery of real business services, enabled by the applications needed to support them, powered by the requisite computing and network infrastructure to host and deliver them. 

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Buyers' Sourcing Best PracticesCloud Computing



The Industry Speaks, Part III: Demand for outsourcing is reaching new heights, but will vendors disappoint?

January 31, 2010 | Phil Fersht

Wow... just look at that growth

Industry analysts are often accused of hyping the market they cover, creating hockey-stick growth projections to get everyone excited and avoiding ever reporting a worrying decline in growth.   I just heard you gasp in shock and horror at this revelation...

So what do you do when you're actually in a position to dust-off the old hockey-stick, last seen used adorning a forecast for online vacuum-cleaner parts from ’99, and slap it under a title such as "Outsourcing spending to reach $250 Gazillion by 2016"?

Which brings us to the topic du jour: what are customers intending to do this year with their outsourcing strategies?  When we spoke to 1055 customers, intermediaries and vendors across the global sourcing industry earlier this month, they gave us the real picture:

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Cloud ComputingFinance & Accounting BPO



The Industry Speaks, Part II: When the labor arbitrage deals dry-up (and they will), customers will select vendors that can deliver business-value beyond basic low-cost services

January 24, 2010 | Phil Fersht

Ari_gold2Fed up with short, punchy news titles such as "Outsourcing is Dead", or "My Delivery Manager Ate my Hamster", designed purely to capture your attention with minimal substance? 

Well, salvation can be found right here, as long-winded rambling ones are going to be all the rage this year, so here's one to send you into a tail-spin:  "Infosys will buy Capgemini, then IBM will acquire the newly-merged entity before spinning it out as part of a joint-venture with Deloitte, GE and Macdonalds".  Actually, before you hurry out to purchase some stock in the Golden Arches, I just made that up...

Instead, let's talk about outsourcing vendors, and what on earth they are going to do when these tasty labor-arbitrage deals start to fizzle-out.  As we discussed at length back in November, operational service provision is commoditizing and leveling the playing field.  Customers did their planning during the recession, and, now armageddon has (apparently) been averted, it's time to execute on that planning.  And part of many customers' planning right now, is to take advantage of moving operational support offshore and driving out some cost. 

This is bonanza-time for the offshore-specialists that can deliver basic IT and BPO services at competitive prices.  Contract-signings that were delayed during the painful recession months are now in full-swing, service vendors are reporting healthy results and even the sourcing advisors have stopped moaning about their lack of deals, and are making money again.

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Buyers' Sourcing Best PracticesHfS Surveys: All our Survey Posts



The Industry Speaks, Part I: it's not all about cost anymore, outsourcing provides a powerful change-agent

January 17, 2010 | Phil Fersht

Global sourcingSo it's time to drip-feed the intentions and experiences of 1055 buyers, intermediaries and vendors into the global sourcing industry.   

We'll be discussing the results from our "Seeking the New Normal in Outsourcing Delivery" in full at the Global Services Conference on 28th January, but the nuances behind why - and how - companies are exploring sourcing delivery models, as we come out of a painful recession into an uncertain climate, need to be aired and discussed.  

There's been a lot of talk about a "New Normal", or a "Reset Economy", that things will never be quite the same as before, however, we really need to zone-in on reality to grasp what these new dynamics really entail, in order to understand how we can address them.  

To cut to the chase, most industries are in a state of profound change, where businesses are having to accomplish new levels productivity and sources of revenue simply to survive, let alone grow, in this climate.  Whether you're making cars, pharmaceutical products, providing consulting services, and so forth, the chances are there's someone else in your industry vying to deliver what you do at lower cost, and potentially better quality.  (Unless you're in banking, where it's business as usual...).  

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Cloud ComputingHfS Surveys: All our Survey Posts