HfS Network

Category Archives: Outsourcing Heros

The dinosaur that is procurement: Get relevant to your business or become extinct

June 28, 2016 | Bram Weerts

Procurement’s very existence is in trouble. The function must be part of the whole negotiation process, not only to protect the company from making deals that do not benefit the firm but also ensure they are sensible, cordial and well-balanced - and both supplier and buyer realize the outcomes they both want to achieve. Sadly, this is so not the case with so many pivotal business deals today.

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Posted in: Design ThinkingOutsourcing HerosProcurement, Engineering & Supply Chain Outsourcing


HfS adds a new twist to Digital and IoT coverage with Oliver Marks

June 06, 2016 | Phil Fersht
Oliver Marks is Research Vice President, Digital and Internet of Things, HfS (Click for bio)

Oliver Marks is Research Vice President, Digital and Internet of Things, HfS (Click for bio)

You may have seen we've been busy expanding our research team to make sure we can help executives pull all the right value levers to take their enterprises into the As-a-Service Economy. In the old days we put a lot of focus into outsourcing services, until we really made a statement being the first analyst to introduce Robotic Process Automation to the analyst and advisory industry in 2012, before priming the Digital transformation services pump in 2014 and IoT in 2015.

So, we thought it high time we recruited one of the industry's most respected authorities on the digi and IoT topics, Oliver Marks... so without further ado, let's hear a bit more about HfS' newest recruit...

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

Thanks Phil! I’ve got quite an interesting past: I started out in the UK design and advertising business having done a graphic design degree which was remarkably similar conceptually to the current vogue for 'design thinking’ in the tech world. We ran a ‘concepts & copy’ creative shop on

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Posted in: Digital TransformationHfSResearch.com HomepageIT Outsourcing / IT Services


Meet the Dinamo driving TCS' business process services impressive growth

June 03, 2016 | Phil Fersht
Dinanath (Dina) Kholkar is Vice President and Global Head of BPS at Tata Consultancy Services

Dinanath (Dina) Kholkar is Global Head of Business Process Services at Tata Consultancy Services

As we endlessly debate the future of the global IT service delivery in the wake of advances in automation, digital disruption and the ability to maintain double digit growth rates, one area that has steadfastly kept to respectable growth and improved delivery confidence is our beloved business process outsourcing services.

In fact, we are about to reveal to all of you that the growth in Indian-heritage BPO has been consistently out-performing IT services over the last year.  Why?  Because BPO is several years behind IT in terms of widespread adoption, but is now coming to the forefront as processes can be better-enabled by cloud platforms and maturing global delivery models.

In this vein, I thought it timely to interview Dina Kholkar, TCS' global head of BPS, who has helped steer his division to $1.9 billion at a 6% growth clip... making BPS now represent 12% of the total TCS business...

Phil Fersht, CEO and Chief Analyst, HfS: Good evening, Dina. It's great to have you on HfS for the first time. You've been one of the best kept secrets behind the exciting growth in the Business Process Services (BPO) team at TCS. Maybe you can share a little bit about yourself, your own background and how you ended up leading the highest-growth division in TCS today.

Dinanath (Dina) Kholkar, Vice President and Global Head of BPS at Tata Consultancy Services:  Sure, Phil. I've been at TCS for a very long time. This is my 27th year in TCS! I started in 1990 as part of the IT business. I managed a few IT projects, went on to manage accounts across different geographies, different types of roles. The longest stint I had was in the capital markets area. I also spent a few years in TCS’ R&D unit, predominantly focusing on data warehousing and data mining. Those were the years when data had started becoming a focus in many organizations. I did have a stint in operations when I was managing customers, but I never really managed the business of running operations until I got the opportunity to manage e-Serve, which TCS had acquired from Citibank. After a few years, when it was integrated into TCS, I took on the role of the overall head of the TCS BPS business. So we’ve had quite an exciting and an interesting journey, a journey filled with lot of learning and a lot of customers we’ve been able to positively impact over the years. And I feel quite proud about the type of opportunities that I have gotten and the way I have delivered on the objectives that TCS has laid out for itself.

Phil: So what can you share with us then about the secret sauce at TCS? What is it that makes you guys really tick?

Dina: One thing which I have always seen probably over multiple generations—and all three CEO leaders of TCS—really strikes me is the customer centricity. We go the distance, which means we do whatever we need to do for the customer. We do the right things and ensure that we are taking care of the customer’s business, bringing all we have as an organization to solve problems that the customer has. I think that customer centricity is paramount in the organization. I think we also

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Posted in: Analytics and Big DataBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO)Design Thinking



Let's get lean digital with Shantanu

April 15, 2016 | Phil Fersht
Shantanu Ghosh, SVP CFO Services and Consulting, Genpact

Shantanu Ghosh, SVP CFO Services and Consulting, Genpact (Click for bio)

Digital, digital everywhere, but what about the finance function? It took a decade for accountants to make the seismic shift from Lotus 1-2-3 to MS Excel... so how much focus is our favorite business function putting on today's advances in analytics tools, interactive and collaborative solutions, mobility and automation?

Can finance executives really embrace digital to break away from some of the legacy mindsets, processes and technologies that have plagued the function for decades?

Not too many people have been driving the digital agenda as aggressively with the CFO's office than Genpact's Shantanu Ghosh, with his firm's own methodology "lean digital," so we thought it high-time we caught up with him to get his viewpoint on the impact of digital o the finance function.

Phil Fersht, CEO and Industry Analyst, HfS: Shantanu, it's been a couple of years since we've had you on here. Can you tell us a bit about what you're up to in Genpact today?

Shantanu Ghosh, Senior VP & Business Leader - CFO Services and Consulting, Genpact:  Actually, my remit remains pretty similar to what it was two years back. I lead the financial accounting, sourcing and procurement service lines, globally. I also lead consulting across Genpact.

But I'll tell you, the complexities, the scale and the type of solutions involved in all three have changed pretty dramatically in the last two to three years. So it feels like I’m doing a new job every day, even though broadly the remit remains the same.

Phil: I've seen Genpact has been on a real tear, particularly over the last 12 to 18 months. I’ve seen a real uptick, especially in Europe, where you're winning a lot of deals. What's going on? What are you doing differently?

Shantanu: I think there are four things at play, Phil. One, I think it's a result of there or four years of sustained investment in our domain capability and our front-end capability. Obviously, in this business it takes a little bit of time for that to result in winnings in the marketplace, because you have to start engaging with clients at a different level. Then you get into a virtuous cycle, because

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Digital TransformationFinance & Accounting BPO



And it's all going to kick off at #Nasscom_ILF today!

February 10, 2016 | Phil Fersht

We're excited to speak at four sessions at Nasscom in Mumbai, culminating with our State of Industry session at 11.15 this morning. Come along and discuss what's really going to hit us down the road...

No more legacy as HfS reels off the insights at the 2016 Nasscom India Leadership Forum

No more legacy as HfS reels off the insights at the 2016 Nasscom India Leadership Forum

Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Digital TransformationHfSResearch.com Homepage


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



More bite than bark? Warner Bros transformation head, Jason Barkham, talks about his HfS Summit experience

December 17, 2015 | Phil Fersht

Posted in: 2015 HfS Buyers SummitBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO)Outsourcing Heros


The legend that is Bruce Richardson ...at the HfS Harvard summit

December 16, 2015 | Phil Fersht

Anyone who's been in and around the tech industry for the last couple of decades, will have come across the legend that is Bruce Richardson. The first of the true blogging analysts with his famous "First Thing Monday" newsletter, having had the misfortune of bringing me back to the analyst industry with AMR (Gartner) and being my (last) boss, has today survived that experience to lead strategy for Salesforce.

We were priveleged to dust off Bruce's old analyst hat and bring him along to our recent Buyers Working Summit at Harvard Square where he immediatetly declared, "If anyone here doesn't have a Cloud-first strategy, I am walking out of hrre right now"... He did also start to worry he was starting to sound like the Donald Trump of cloud computing... So  over to you Brucey!

Posted in: 2015 HfS Buyers SummitCloud ComputingIT Outsourcing / IT Services


Rohit's rhetoric

November 25, 2015 | Phil Fersht

While we can all obsess about a future where any work requiring any sort of basic logic will be automated, where we won't even need to think anymore, because machines will do that for us (in fact, we won't need to do anything anymore except exist, or maybe play golf or twister or something...), the market for good old-fashioned BPO is quietly picking up very nicely as several smart providers, quite simply, are getting better at developing offerings that are much more effective, profitable and scalable.

Rohit Kapoor is Vice Chairman and CEO EXL (Click for bio)

Rohit Kapoor is Vice Chairman and CEO EXL (Click for bio)

One such service provider, which has been quietly going about its business very effectively of late is EXL, which has been enjoying a record stock price this month and very healthy improvements in profitability and revenue growth this year.

I first met a fledgling EXL before the firm went public, back in 2006, and was immediately impressed by the hands-on steely determination of its CEO, Rohit Kapoor, and his close-knit team of process-obsessive young managers. Fast-forwarding a decade, and that same firm has passed the half-billion dollar revenue threshold, developing deep process niches in verticals like insurance, banking and healthcare, while building out real global depth and competency in analytics and finance and accounting.  And it's this breed of provider which is really beginning to thrive in today's As-a-Service Economy - small enough to be nimble to cater for needy clients, large enough to take on complexity and scale, and resourceful enough to lay the groundwork for multi-tenant As-a-Service offerings for the future.

So without further ado, let's drag Rohit away from the golf course (where he's probably upsetting yet another of his clients by not letting them win...) and hear his views of how the industry has evolved and how he intends his firm to evolve with it:

Phil Fersht, CEO and Industry Analyst, HfS Research: Rohit, it's great to have you with us today. I think I've known you nearly 10 years - and it's the first time we've had you on HfS to talk to our audience. So maybe you could give us a little bit about your own career background, what you started out doing and how you ended up running a major BPO firm like EXL?

Rohit Kapoor, Vice Chairman and CEO, EXL:  Hi Phil, thanks for having me on – great to be here! I started my professional career with the Bank of America in India, ,and came to New York 25 years ago to establish a new business unit for the bank dealing with High Net Worth Individuals, helping them manage their money. As part of this, I started to make a lot of private equity investments into the Indian IT services companies, which were just growing up at that stage. These were highly under invested companies, not very well known in the public market, and there were a lot of myths

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Posted in: Analytics and Big DataBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO)HR Strategy



Did HfS really just uberize the analyst business?

November 07, 2015 | Phil Fersht

Yes, I know I promised to savage anyone who used the term "uberize" to describe a disruptive business model, but having spent a fascinating day at the ARForum in London last week, it really struck me that uberization is pretty much what HfS has done to the traditional IT analyst industry, when you look at the results of what ~1000 consumers of IT research are saying:

Click to read the full article over at Influencer Relations

Click to read the full article over at Influencer Relations

While you can't really do a direct apples-t0-apples comparison between the Uber and HfS business models, what we have in common is the fact we've both leveraged digital platforms to disrupt traditional, slow-moving industries - and with limited infrastructure and resources.

So why is HfS the "Uber" of the analyst industry?

1. We use digital technology, the web and social as our customer platform. At HfS, we do not need to hire armies of expensive, aggressive sales people to grow our customer base. We use our webplatform, a host of digital content and marketing apps, our blog and our social communities to bring the customers to us - at a fraction of the cost.

2. We don't view "customers" as entities that have to give us money. Do Facebook, Twitter and LI fail to influence people because they are free? It's the same with research - why does everyone have to pay money to be considered "influenced".  We get over a million visits to our stuff every year, well over 100,000 subscribers to our blogs and research and 15-20k pieces of research being downloaded each month.  These are our customers.  We just don't believe in making everyone pay-to-play - we are of a size where we are proud to share what we do without slapping a huge paywall in front of the world. That's why we are already the #3 firm in the industry in terms of reach and influence, after only 6 years in existence.

3. Freemium research, that is compelling and easy to access, is what gets read today.  Most people tend to read only research when it's slapped in front of them, that is digestible and compelling.  Trying to navigate your way behind an expensively assembled firewall and search engine pretty much loses most people before they even think about trying to reset their password.  I recall when I was last working for a "legacy" analyst firm that we were lucky to get more than 15 people downloading a report.  Today we have in excess of 20,000 reading them. The difference is, simply, off the scale.

4. The revenue model is different from the incumbents. We don't believe most people really want to pay for libraries of reports any more.  They will, however, pay for benchmark and pricing data, competitive analyses and access to awesome analysts, who are fun to talk with and easy to get hold of.  We also mix access to our massive global community (both physical and electronic) with the research access.  Our buyer clients can come to our industry-leading quarterly summits, while vendor clients can have sponsorship privileges.  We believe peer networking and sharing the dynamics of thousands of the global community as a critical part of the Research 2.0 process.


Talking about analyst disruption last week, at the 2015 ARForum

5. The customer experience is just so much better.  I love the fact that, with Uber, both the drivers and customers get to rate each other.  It's a bit like that with HfS - we love our clients and we want them to love us. We do not put in 1-800 numbers to set up faceless analyst discussions, and we certainly do not stick analysts on competing postage-stamp P&Ls where they cover extremely narrow areas. In fact, talk to HfS and you'll likely get a meeting with 4-5 of our analysts within a few days as so many areas are overlapping, if you really need to talk to us urgently. We also make time to hang out with our clients, at our office or theirs. We do this because we enjoy it, not because we just want to get through the ol' 9-5 treadmill.  It's like getting into an Uber, where the driver is genuinely grateful to be of service, as opposed to some self-entitled miserable worker who's just going through the motions.

6. The incumbents can't/won't cannibalize their revenues.  No-one likes having to drop their prices, while improving  their services and customer experience at the same time. It costs money and upsets investors with short-term mindsets. There is also an arrogance when your firm has been printing money for years, and suddenly you have to work for it again. Entitled people just do not want to work harder/smarter and with a better attitude. It's the same for many of these overpriced creaking old taxis that smell like a dog died in the trunk - they simply have lost the ability and appetite to up their game.

The Bottom-line: It's all about being non-traditional, using digital tech and creating a workable revenue model

Hopefully, after reading this, people will start to use the term "HfS-ize" instead of uberize =)

But, seriously, surviving in a market that refuses to change, such as the traditional IT analyst industry, is all about leveraging digital tech and the web to have a much, much more competitive model in terms of cost, reach and customer accessibility.  However, you can use all the cool tech in the world, but it's useless without the human factor to drive it and make the magic work.  That's where having a team of motivated, passionate - and genuinely nice people, makes this business successful.

While technology and a great business model is what makes the thing function, it's really the people, the socially intelligent attitude and culture which make up our secret sauce.

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