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Category Archives: HR Outsourcing

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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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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Accenture, IBM, NGA and NTT Data lead in SuccessFactors services

March 12, 2016 | Phil Fersht

One of the most significant shifts towards As-a-Service delivery, in recent times, has been the investments in delivering comprehensive IT and business process services to support the enablement of leading SaaS platforms. With the gravy train of revenue the leading service providers have enjoyed from clunky on-premise ERP services, over the last 2+ decades, now slowing, the land-grab to manage the data, business transformation and integration elements of the leading SaaS platforms is hotter than ever.

To this end, we're very excited to unveil the industry's very first HfS Blueprint on SuccessFactors Services. With HfS Principal Analyst in SaaS services, Khalda De Souza, at the helm, this Blueprint builds on the direction we carved out in our Workday and Salesforce Blueprints in 2015.  So who better than Khalda to bring us up to date:

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Khalda, why have we undertaken an HfS Blueprint on the SuccessFactors Services market?

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Blueprint author Khalda De Souza covers SaaS for HfS. (click for bio)

The SuccessFactors Blueprint continues our theme of looking at the markets for services around leading SaaS platforms, following on from our Workday and Salesforce Services Blueprints of the past 12 months. All of these markets are in high growth mode as enterprises seek flexible, user-friendly solutions to better manage their HR or CRM processes. The service providers included in our SuccessFactors Blueprint have experienced an average of 45% growth in SuccessFactors services last year and expect to see the same growth levels next year. Given that enterprises with SAP ERP in the back-office are more likely to select SuccessFactors for their cloud HR solution, the potential market is huge.

We also see snippets of the HfS Ideals of the As-a-Service Economy in the SuccessFactors service market. Clearly, enterprises are making the commitment to Write Off Legacy by moving to SuccessFactors and building new HR processes around the platform. Service providers are also driving Collaborative Engagements with flexible engagement methodologies and a key focus on desired business outcomes.

How does HfS define the SuccessFactors Services market?

HfS has defined a Value Chain of services that applies to all the SaaS platforms we cover. This includes the five components delivered by service providers to create value for enterprises: Plan, Implement, Manage, Operate and Optimize. For SuccessFactors services, Plan includes consulting services such as SuccessFactors business case development, compliance, security and governance services, as well as HR strategy and SuccessFactors-specific process and design services. Implement covers all the services and skills required for effective deployment, including but not limited to project management, testing, training and data migration services. Manage includes all ongoing integration and support services. Operate includes business processing outsourcing (BPO) services where they are delivered by the service provider around the enterprise's SuccessFactors environment. Finally, Optimize services are intended to improve the impact of SuccessFactors solutions and may include: the assessment of new SuccessFactors releases and solutions and on-going HR strategy alignment.  

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

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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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Mike Cook joins HfS to give HR a good roasting...

February 17, 2016 | Phil Fersht

As many of you are no doubt aware, we've been on a rapid expansion at HfS these past few months, and one of our exciting new analyst additions is Mike Cook, who joins us from UK-based researcher NelsonHall, to cover the fastest-growing As-a-Service market... HR-as-a-Service (check out his recent work...).

So we managed to find some time to drag Mike away from his favorite pastime of skeet shooting to learn a little more about him, his research focus and why (on earth) he joined HfS...

Welcome, Mike! Can you share a little about your background and why you have chosen research as your career path?

Mike Cook is the Human Resource Services Research Director at HfS Research, shaping the firm’s research in a newly formed ”HR-as-a-Service” domain that helps enterprises re-imagine their HR and workforce management capabilities in the emerging As-a-Service Economy. (click for bio)

Hi Phil! Sure; in my younger days I was convinced a career in cycling was going to be my future, although after racing for a few smaller pro teams I soon realized my ambitions might outweigh my physical capabilities! So university called and I started off with a Bachelor of Commerce degree majoring in Economics and Econometrics at the University of Johannesburg, I then followed this up with a post grad degree in International Trade and Development Economics at the same institution. Following this I traveled extensively before starting as a junior analyst and working my way up to principal analyst at a BPO focused analyst firm. Following this I then moved into a buyer advisory role within this same company, assisting sourcing and procurement professionals in making key outsourcing decisions.

I think my inherent curiosity is what was the deciding factor in me pursuing a career in analysis. I can remember as a youngster, taking apart all of my toys to find out exactly how they work, (unfortunately not many of them got put back together!) and that's exactly what I enjoy about this career. We get to pick apart an industry from a number of angles and really get to understand it, but then also relay these ideas and principles to our clients (Oh! Have I mentioned how much I enjoy talking??).

Welcome to HfS, Mike... so why did you choose to join HfS? And why now?

Well, Phil, HfS stands out from competing analyst firms in a number of ways, but primarily it is the company’s willingness to challenge the norm and stick its head above the parapet. This forward thinking approach is what really attracted me to join HfS. Also I believe that I am now at the right stage of my career to join HfS, in that I can now really contribute to the company’s vision and talent pool, given my prior experience on both the buyer and service provider side of the outsourcing equation.

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)HfSResearch.com HomepageHR Outsourcing

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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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HfS is back in Cambridge University for another no-cheese bake off of services leaders

December 21, 2015 | Phil Fersht

The Event: The European HfS Service Leaders Summit

The Date: 21-22nd March 2016 (click for details)

The Venue: Gonville & Caius College Cambridge

The Theme:  Avoiding the Race to Irrelevance

To Apply for a Seat / lead a session (buyers only):  Email us here

This promises to be another UK style "throw the kitchen sink at everything crappy about our service industry"

We're back at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge this Spring (Click to learn more)

We're back at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge this Spring (Click to learn more)

Join these core discussions where we'll finally address these issues:

The Race to Irrelevance: Are we on a race to the bottom, or are we genuinely in the midst of change: Are service providers really selling what service buyers actually need?
Europeans v Americans: Who’s outsourcing smarter and where can we improve to get to the As-a-Service Enterprise?
Demystifying all that Robo Hype: What is the realistic place for a Robotic Process Automation strategy inside the enterprise - and what should Service providers be doing to support it?
Digital Transformation: It's really all about the business, stupid!
Beyond the Transition: How can service buyers and providers really share their risks to achieve longer-term gains?
Ending the Master/Slave Model: Can service buyers and providers leverage "Design Thinking" to fashion a collaborative relationship with a common purpose, common values and jointly desired outcomes?
Getting beyond the Paperwork: What does it really take, in today's environment, to execute and manage a meaningful, effective and lasting contract?
Getting past that "outsourcing career track" discussion: Is the outsourcing "profession" now part of a broader management capability?
The Message we have to Send Back to the Industry: How can we fix this industry to deliver the As-a-Service Enterprise?

Service buyers email us here to apply for your seat...

None of that famous Cambridge cheese, honest!

None of that famous Cambridge cheese, honest!

Posted in: Buyers' Sourcing Best PracticesCaptives and Shared Services StrategiesDesign Thinking

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The HfS 2016 Blueprint Research Agenda ...at your service

November 22, 2015 | Phil Fersht

2016 will mark our seventh year as an analyst firm and will be our most expansive as we tackle many emerging areas and industries.  Yes, we have come an awfully long way since the days people thought we "only covered BPO":

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The analyst industry's most ambitious 2016 research agenda tackles the continuum from legacy operations to the As-a-Service Enterprise across talent, technology and process

Earlier in 2014, we introduced to the world the concept of the As-a-Service Economy and how it is fundamentally impacting how business and IT services have to be fashioned, solutioned and delivered. Enterprise service buyers and providers have little choice but to evolve how they manage their services, or face extinction.

This means both parties need to make genuine investments in their underlying process architectures, reorient their talent capabilities and make some short-to-medium term sacrifices in their financial models to remain viable in the As-a-Service Economy. The same issues apply to sourcing advisors and analysts that face increasing irrelevance if they fail to adjust to the shifting demands of what it means to be an “As-a-Service Enterprise” in this new economy.

The legacy model of IT and business services sales and delivery that has dominated the industry for decades has rapidly become obsolete in our increasingly digital world, where speed, agility, flexibility and re-invention are no longer optional, but core characteristics for the success of any As-a-Service Enterprise.

For HfS, As-a-Service is about continuous progression, where enterprises do not pause at a status quo state. Instead they are continually exploring better ways to automate processes, access rapid meaningful data, and advance self-learning capabilities in a secure, trusted environment.

Our thinking about the Ideals of the As-a-Service Enterprise also has progressed this year. We now segment the ideals into Change Management Ideals and Solution Ideals that intermingle and build upon each other on the journey to the As-a-Service Enterprise. This journey will require significant change management, and through the course of 2015, we have seen encouraging examples of that throughout the industry, especially with efforts to simplify and automate increasingly unwieldy legacy operations and technology.

We could write and talk for hours about the unwillingness of enterprises to change the status quo to achieve better results. But ultimately it all boils down to the leadership of the enterprise having the appetite to go out and find a trusted partner that is motivated to share the risks of this transition within a financial model that works for all parties. Middle management will always resist anything that doesn’t pay them more, make them happier and more excited, or more motivated to perform. The only way forward to achieve genuine plug-and-play digital business solutions is for service providers and enterprises buyers to embrace real design thinking concepts and work together continuously in a much more collaborative and transparent fashion. This means they need to invest in talent, in training, in change fundamentals—and ultimately in solution fundamentals.

The Ideals of the As-a-Service Enterprise explained

In sharing our thinking on the Ideals of the As-a-Service Enterprise through countless client strategy sessions, industry-wide webinars and briefings this year, we have had the chance to test these Ideals with industry stakeholders to understand their relevance and practical applications.

What came out from these sessions was that the Ideals fell into two key themes: Change Management Ideals and Solution Ideals. In many cases enterprises approach these ideals sequentially.

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To move toward the As-a-Service Enterprise, it is beneficial to begin with a willingness to write off the legacy technology and operations and with that adopt Design Thinking as a way to look at business challenges and opportunities with a fresh perspective. Then an enterprise can orient governance and relationships toward building service solutions with the optimum capabilities,

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

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IBM makes a meteoric rise into the HR-as-a-Service big three

September 29, 2015 | Phil Fersht

IBM_MeteorixJust when you thought IBM's Global Business Services was cratering into an As-a-Sleep state, having sold-off its call center business exactly two years' ago, Big Blue's next-gen services star is once again shining, with the acquisition of one of the finest up-and-coming specialist Workday services firms in the market:  Meteorix.

Every HR head wants a Workday rollout... and every SI wants a SaaS services acquisition

There is a clear scramble for talent which can implement and support popular SaaS platforms, such as Workday, not completely unlike what happened with specialist consulting firms supporting the ERPs in the '90s and 2000s, such as SAP, Oracle, Peoplesoft et al.  Specialist SaaS services providers supporting SaaS products, such as Workday, Salesforce, SAP SuccessFactors, NetSuite, ServiceNow and Google apps, are now in hot demand as ambitious global service providers seek to avoid the commodity trap of legacy software maintenance, which can still generate revenues, but not at the growth rates of past years.

As HfS, we estimate this has set IBM back something between $80-$100m and adds 180 certified Workday consultants to IBM's stable. This creates the third biggest Workday services player in the market, with a total of 380 certified Workday consultants and elevates IBM into the coveted

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)HfSResearch.com HomepageHR Outsourcing

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