Growing a research firm is all about attracting the best and brightest minds in your industry and making sure they have food, shelter, a twitter account, and a constant supply of rubber chicken and cheap wine.
This is all while having an interested pensive look on their face, whilst nodding occasionally, so people actually think they are listening to them. It’s this philosophy which has propelled HfS to the forefront of thought leadership and the queue to the bar.
When we searched far and wide for a great mind to help bolster our BPO knowledge, we decided to double-down on someone who has lived and breathed every nuance, issue, value proposition, disaster, theory and pipe-dream in the BPO business for sixteen years.
Charles Sutherland will be playing a key role in helping lead many of our strategic BPO assignments across traditional horizontals, such as F&A and Procurement, in addition to driving new coverage in growth areas such as Supply Chain Management and Robotization. So, without further ado, Let’s find out more about this intriguing character…
Charles, can you share a little about your background and why you have chosen research and strategy as your career path?
My background is in strategy consulting. The majority of my career to date was with Accenture where for sixteen years I provided strategic support both to external clients especially in the media & entertainment and telecom industries and internally for the Outsourcing and BPO Growth Platform. I chose this career as I really enjoy working with clients to understand their marketplaces, business opportunities and challenges and then shaping implementable plans based on that research which help them to realize their goals and ambitions in new and value creating ways.
Why did you choose to join HfS and why now?
Charles: I chose to join HfS because I think the BPO marketplace is entering a period of radical change in how solutions are designed and delivered which in turn will also greatly change the way that value is created for clients. I wanted to be in a firm where I would have the chance to be a part of all this change, working directly with leading Service Providers and with visionary buy-side clients on their strategies, offerings and needs. I have had a great relationship with HfS over the years and appreciated what you and the team were trying to do to help advance the value of our industry and I think that together we are going to really help bring about that radical change over the next few years.
What are the subject areas and topics that you will focus on in your analyst role?
Well, my role as SVP for BPO Strategy really consists of two parts. The first is leading our custom project initiatives for all our clients and here the topics will vary according to the strategic needs of our varied clients. For the second part, I am going to be our analyst covering Finance & Accounting, Procurement and Supply Chain BPO. For many Service Providers and clients these three process areas are interdependent and overlapping and I think having a view that is individual to each and yet stretches across all of them will be of great value to our clients.
What trends and developments are capturing your attention today?
At the heart of all the trends and development that are capturing my attention today are the roles that analytics, technology and automation have in bringing about the radical change in the BPO business model that I mentioned before. The ways in which these elements are being conceived and implemented across the Services Providers are very different so it’s a great time to be an analyst and an advisor in this market as there is just so much that is new and exciting, to track and understand.
What are you working on first for our clients?
I am just in the process of completing a report on how technology is being deployed by leading F&A BPO Service Providers today and contrasting that to what the common beliefs were ten years ago on how technology might changed that market. I am also wrapping up a follow-on to last year’s HfS report on Robotic Automation “Robotistan” to see how the market for the technology has changed over the last twelve months and what role it may play in the future evolution of horizontal business processes. Both of these initial reports are bringing to live great examples of the types of trends and developments that captivate me and lead me to believe that we are entering this period of change. Now I can’t wait to begin working with our clients on their own custom projects as well with the full breadth of the HfS Research team.
When you’re not drilling into technology enablers and process enhancers, what do you do with your spare time?
Well, with three teenagers in the house, I don’t know how much “spare time” there really is, but I try to get out and golf and go kayaking with them although to be fair finding good water isn’t so easy down here in Texas. Aside from that I am an avid reader and I am dabbling in creating art pieces that have a business theme, something I am calling “cubicleism”.
Cubicleism? We’ll hold you to exhibiting some of this! Welcome to HfS, Charles.