HfS Network

Category Archives: Talent in Sourcing

The Art of Deal Negotiation: 5 Simple Tips

July 08, 2016 | Bram Weerts

Doing business is all about making successful deals happen and negotiating them effectively. Getting deals done right says something about your own personal negotiating capabilities, but most importantly, it speaks volumes for your company’s brand.

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Posted in: Talent in Sourcing

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How to Power Up and Re-think your Outsourcing Experience

June 27, 2016 | Barbra McGann

“They don’t bring us ideas.” 

“When we first outsourced, our service provider had the newest ideas, but now three years later, we have caught up to them and they’re treading water. So what’s next?”

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Posted in: Design ThinkingHealthcare and OutsourcingTalent in Sourcing

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When did employees become "costs"?

May 21, 2016 | Phil Fersht

Stapler - Office MovieIt suddenly dawned on me what the core issue is with the future of the workplace: the simple fact that company leaders and their stakeholders started viewing employees as walking costs at some stage over the last 30 years, and have devoted a huge amount of focus and energy trying to figure out how to remove as many of them from their business as possible... without it impacting the top line.

Surely, people, human labor should be viewed as a valuable commodity that adds value to a business, not some burden on the profit margin that needs to be eliminated at all costs?  So what's really gone amiss here?

Enterprises hired people into jobs they no longer value. Over the decades, our enterprises have ballooned with staff hired to provide inputs into process chains to keep them ticking over - whether they were writing lines of spaghetti code to make processes flow from one subtask to the next, or producing reports out of SAP for a historical view of the business some manager will archive away

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Posted in: HfSResearch.com HomepageHR StrategySourcing Change Management

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Buyers perceive Accenture, Deloitte and KPMG as the most trusted consultants for achieving Intelligent Operations

May 06, 2016 | Phil Fersht

john-lylyIn 1588, the English dramatist John Lyly, in his Euphues and his England, wrote:

"...As neere is Fancie to Beautie, as the pricke to the Rose, as the stalke to the rynde, as the earth to the roote."

In other words, "Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder", which just about sums up how buyers perceive consultants when they need some serious rethinking and rewiring done to their operations to make them more intelligent:

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So what's actually surprising here?

In the past, you may have expected to see the pureplay strategy houses rule the roost, however, when we break down the Change Management and Solution Ideals enterprises need to achieve more Intelligent Operations, the focus shifts much more to using consultants with real change management, process transformation, analytics and automation chops... this is less about strategy, and more about just driving through the changes. Most company leaders know where they want to go - it's now more about executing a plan to get there:

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The Bottom-line: We're moving to a world where the expertise enterprises need to be successful is really changing 

One of the above firms asked me recently if it should start an automation practice.  My response was "If you're only asking me this now, then you're already too late to the game".  In a nutshell, enterprise operations functions need genuine expertise in adopting a mindset to write off their legacy systems and obsolete processes - and a real understanding of how to approach automation and embrace digital opportunities.

A lot of this is about prioritizing what not to automate and learning where digital transformation actually makes business sense. This is about creating an operations function that can pivot and support the rapid changing needs of the front office with actionable data, that is secure and available in real-time.  This is about defining and devising a digital strategy that has the customer at the forefront of the business and an operational support function that has the customer experience at its core.

Hence, consultants need talent that can not only think creatively with their clients, but also create an ongoing environment for writing off legacy, embracing change and being smart and proactive about leveraging automation and real digital strategies effectively. The speed at which some of these advisors must make the pivot from merely brokering transactional contracts, or spouting off some high level fluffy strategy, to supporting real change is critical - I'd imagine we'll know in the next 9-12 months which ones will genuinely be helping their clients achieve these ambitious ideals.

Posted in: 2016 Intelligent Ops StudyBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO)Design Thinking

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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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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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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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Twelve ways to survive the race to irrelevance - download your life jacket now!

April 12, 2016 | Phil Fersht

If you weren't able to make our excellent buyers summit at our research partner Cambridge University, we managed to crack the code (finally) on surviving in these disruptive times - in twelve simple steps.  Just download our report and all will become crystal clear:

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

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It's time we started Being As-a-Service

March 23, 2016 | Phil Fersht

Coming away from our Cambridge University buyers summit this week, I was pleasantly surprised by the increased level of sophistication and maturity many services buyers are now exhibiting.

Gone are the provider bitch-fests and endless ranting about failed promises and absent innovation (that they didn't pay for in the first place).  Instead, there was a desire to look at themselves, and really try to figure out how to broker change and run their outsourcing engagements as part of a broader business agenda, not some quirky siloed activity, forever tarnished by the word "outsourcing".

Adopting a mindset to change today (not tomorrow), is where everything must start

Yes, the conversation has turned to buyers accepting they need to change first, before heaping all the blame for their woes onto their service providers. This is why our Ideals of As-a-Service begin with a mandate for buyers and providers to change how they behave, how they can adopt a mindset to start writing off their legacy processes and technologies.  In short, it's time we focused on fixing our present - it's time we focused on Being As-a-Service:

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It's time we stopped talking about this scenario of "this was legacy and this is our future desired endstate"... we'll just remain stuck in this perpetual stranglehold of never getting anywhere. We'll always we a work-in-progress, a project that never finishes...

As someone joked during our Cambridge University summit this week "Cognitive computing is always going to be huge in the future"... so let's stop evangelizing about a nirvana we many never reach and, instead, start talking about what we need to do today. Let's stop panicking about the future, which is scaring so many people, and start focusing on what we can do today to be more effective.

Let's start talking about Being As-a-Service today... not tomorrow, or some far off point in the future, where we just hope this all becomes somebody else's nightmare...

Bottom-line: We have to narrow the chasm between hype and reality in order to be successful in the present

Our industry is beset by fear, like never before. People are scared - they know their skills and capabilities could quickly become obsolete in a world where the job openings increasingly demand creativity, analytical prowess and an ability to pivot across domains.  Suddenly, if you're not a Digital native who talks about endless disruption and the coming robo-geddon, you're a dinosaur... The gap between hype and reality has reached ridiculous proportions, and it's time we stopped thinking about the fantastical future and focus on what we can achieve today.

Successful sourcing executives have to become "brokers of capability" (which one buyer commented sounds like a rock band) where they can live in the present to drive a change mindset for the future. Most of the executives have been tasked with adopting Digital strategies (whatever those may be) and to come up with smart approaches to take advantage of automation technologies. But to get there, they need to change how their teams think, collaborate and operate.

It's a mindset change, it's a culture change. It's about bringing together the key stakeholders and delivery leads to address the As-a-Service Ideals today and stop looking at them as some far off nirvana someone else will take them to.  Simply put, most firms can't simply saw-off their legacy by disposing of some archaic ERP system and slamming in some SaaS product, or mimicking every defunct manual process into a piece of RPA software, or firing an entire department of ineffective process wonks. In fact, a lot of the legacy actually works and the ROI of binning it doesn't make financial sense.  Writing-off legacy is about starting the process of re-imagining a future without those legacy systems and processes that are holding back our businesses.

So the Ideals of As-a-Service can be initially addressed today by making the most of what we currently have, not simply waiting for the day budget magically appears from above to bring in teams of nose-ringed consultants to redesign our businesses.

Posted in: 2015 As-a-Service 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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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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