HfS Network

Monthly Archives: Jun 2016

Budgets? We don’t need no stinking budgets! Or do we? An interview with Accenture’s Bill Phelps

June 29, 2016 | Fred McClimans

Earlier this year, HfS Research and Accenture surveyed over 200 cybersecurity professionals around the globe to better understand how enterprises are securing their digital assets and dealing with increasingly sophisticated, and all too frequent, cyber attacks.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Bill Phelps, Managing Director, Accenture Security, to discuss our report. Bill was one of my co-collaborators in this research effort, and I was curious to get his take on both the survey and its implications for the cybersecurity sector moving forward.

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Posted in: Security and Risk


RPA is Dead. Long Live Intelligent Automation!

June 29, 2016 | Tom Reuner

I have been researching the notion of Intelligent Automation and, in particular, the rapid uptake of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for more than 4 years. It was this work that eventually brought me to HfS. Over the years, I have made many good friends and acquantances in the automation community – and many of those good folks have graciously suggested I have become a spokesperson for this community. Yet, it is time to take a stance and declare: RPA is dead!

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Posted in: Robotic Process Automation


Confessions of a market forecaster – we might not be real wizards, but let us at least pretend we are!

June 29, 2016 | Jamie Snowdon

This is a very odd confession, but I love market sizing and forecasting. Strong language, I know, but I just love it. I think it is the combination of attention to detail and precision calculation, coupled with the intellectual leaps of faith needed when assumption making. Starting with a blank sheet and a new market gives me the opportunity to spend hours on pure thought, and there are very few things that excite me that much (and only a couple of those are legal!) I just wanted to share a few of my thoughts about the market sizing and forecasting.

Sizing a Market – more about common sense than rocket science

There is sometimes a mystery that surrounds the market sizing process, that I don't think is necessary. There are very few ways to size any market - and none of them are rocket science. The accuracy and quality of any market size is primarily dependant on the quality of sample being used, and the way you segment the market to create representative groups.

For example, if I were to size the market for business PCs in the US using a buy side model (sizing the market from companies actually buying the PCs), I would segment the market into company size, by industry and by geography - I am using PCs as an example because often product markets, particularly a ubiquitous one like the PC is more universally understood and has less problems. The sample in each segment would be interviewed (or use another source of primary data) to discover annual spend on PCs by each sample company. The sample portion would represent a quantifiable proportion of the segment, which if it were 10%, the market size for the segment would be 10 times the total spend of the sample. Then you add all the segments up to produce the market size. The main assumption you make is that the samples spending is representative of the segments, so it is crucial that you divide the market into segments where spending is more consistent, this is why segmenting by industry is often used as it is likely banks spend is more similar to each other than to, for example, an agricultural business.

The main source of inaccuracy is ensuring the responses are representative, which is why this method of sizing always needs a cross reference, usually with service provider revenues. This provides a check on any mis-sampling where by chance you sampled the only 30 utility companies that only upgraded their PCs once a decade. These problems appear when you have markets which are less saturated, like many services sectors, particularly outsourcing. For example, if only one utility company has signed up for an HR outsourcing deal, and your sample misses it, then your market size is shot, likewise if you stumble upon just the companies that outsourced in a market that has few deals, you'd skew the market upward.

Verifying signed deals and revenues with the suppliers in a market helps to rectify these types of errors, and can mean either using an estimation for the industry garnered from the demographics/service provider revenues, or enlarging the sample or looking for new data points to guide the market size.

This is why most market sizing models used by analysts start with supplier revenues - you build a list of known suppliers in the market, which for the PC market is fairly easy for the top 10. You estimate the specific market revenues from the financials, which you may cross check through interviews / feedback. Then, you build a probability model to fill in the gap, estimating the part of the market not covered by the providers that you know. Essentially saying what is the probability that I am missing a supplier in the top 5, top 10, top 25 and in the remainder. This is where the analyst needs to be honest about her or his knowledge of the market and  be realistic about the likely number of smaller firms. Which is why having good demographics to build out a buy-side model helps set the parameters for the market – and helps to double check the probably.

It is these things that provide us forecasters with the biggest challenge, especially building a market sizing model that works in a fragmented (ad often hard to define) market like outsourcing, managed services or process automation. However, the saving grace is deal data, this gives another way of building the market size. You can estimate the annual revenue flow from each contract, segment it into service type and produce a market size. The issue here is again one of sampling, no database of contracts is complete. So we compare the data produced from the contracts with the vendor revenues and with the survey data to complete the picture. Hopefully producing an accurate market size!

Forecasting a Market – the joy is finding that consensus of inputs to perform one trendline

Market forecasting is a similar task in many respects to market sizing, but, for me, it is where most of the joy in the process comes. I suspect this is because you can draw on more information and it is about bringing together and distilling contrasting data into a simple trend.

The simple forecast method that is typically used for technology markets, is euphemistically called an assumption-based or judgement-based forecast. Largely, I tend to rely on a mixture of methods and tend to combine them.

For an outsourcing market, I would typically use a model that predicted the sales of a product from past data, generally a time series model. This provides a base trend line for the market, typically the market would accelerate or decelerate in line with the established trend for the particular market. This essentially extrapolates the existing trends, part of this process would also include looking at economic growth and making assumptions for how a particular market is likely to grow given the economic outlook.

The next stage would be to alter the predicted growth based on likely forthcoming events in the market. This tests the analysts and my knowledge of the marketplace mapping out the likely market drivers and inhibitors, quantifying their effects, weighting them by probability/strength of impact and summing the drivers and inhibitors to produce an overall market impact. Part of this equation is also the adjusting the forecast based on survey work, providing the forecast with direct input from the customers and suppliers. In the outsourcing markets, we also sample specialist advisors and consultants which can add another perspective – broader than a single client and, typically, more realistic (or is that cynical) than suppliers.

It is the balancing of the different factors and the bringing all the data together to produce a single growth rate that I find the most satisfying. A forecast at its best is a distillation of survey work, market data and analyst expertise, the marriage of the objective and subjective in as precise a way as possible.

The Bottom-line: There’s nothing more beautiful that quantifying that view of the market at that particular point in history and occasionally getting it right

The thing I love most about sizing and forecasting a market is that balance between fact and foresight.  When people look back at historical forecasts, the size of the market at that particular point in time should always be solid, providing said forecast is doing their job properly.  The forecast was simply what we all thought the market was going to do based on the available inputs we had at the time.  It doesn’t matter if it was widely wrong, as long as the inputs were sound the the forecaster was not smoking something too dubious =)

However, if we really got (some of) those forecasts in line with what eventually happened, then we can die happy knowing we performed some genuine wizardry doing something that we loved to do. 

Posted in: None


Ever wondered what analysts do?

June 29, 2016 | Mike Cook

Being an industry analyst, our work differs greatly from day to day and as such, today more than ever, we are wearing an ever increasing number of hats and taking on more responsibilities. Although, rather like the transition to the As-a-Service Economy, which dominates our research at HfS, overcoming the specter of legacy is one our key concerns.

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Posted in: None


Thinking Outside The Box To Support SaaS Applications

June 28, 2016 | Khalda De Souza

My husband and I have three children, including twins with autism. Over the past few years we have become accustomed to thinking outside of the box and trying different approaches as parents. We’ve learned the importance of good planning to meet a desired outcome (often the hard way!). We have also had to unlearn many parenting techniques employed with our eldest child to best support the twins.  Service providers have undergone a similar transition, as they battle with how best to support the high growth area of SaaS services compared with the requirements of the on premise world of yesteryear.

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Posted in: None


Forget about Omnichannel hype when your Basic Customer Service Sucks

June 28, 2016 | Melissa O’Brien

Everyone is talking about how to get to the right strategy for omnichannel customer communications, yet no one really knows what it means. First of all, let’s just get it out there that omnichannel is one of those terms everyone loves to hate.  It’s ubiquitous, it’s vague, and it’s a misnomer-- “omni” is impossible and customers don’t think in terms of channels.  That said, omnichannel is an aspirational goal pointing many service providers and enterprises in the right direction toward really getting customer experience right.  So with that in mind, it has become my mission to dissect the subject, get past the hype, and figure out where the opportunities lie for the services industry.  

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Posted in: None


Welcome to my blog: Berzerk with Derk

June 28, 2016 | Derk Erbé

This is my all new spot on Horses for Sources. The home of razor-sharp analysis and the place where hypes are crushed and real trends are born. Phil has set the bar incredibly high over the past decade. Inspired by the best analyst blogger around, my aim is to be as edgy as you are used to on Horses for Sources.

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Posted in: None


Has Knowledge Process Outsourcing re-emerged as the future of BPO?

June 28, 2016 | Reetika Joshi

When I entered the industry in 2008, working for a boutique research firm in Pune, India, the research themes floating around were about “what’s next for BPO, because this recession changes everything.”

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Posted in: The As-a-Service Economy


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


Watching out for the rapid evolution of core digital business changes

June 27, 2016 | Oliver Marks

It’s easy to make a compelling case that ‘digital’ will ultimately replace what was once ‘IT’ at some point in the future as the former rapidly evolves and the latter become more and more associated with legacy technology and practices. hedging bets on what will happen and when however is a different matter entirely and hugely variable from business to business.

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Posted in: Digital Transformation


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


Welcome to my blog: In Digital We Trust?

June 27, 2016 | Fred McClimans

I don’t believe there is any digital business or consumer that can be 100 percent secure 100 percent of the time, unless they opt to abandon technology and live in an obsolete analog world. It’s as simple as that. 

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Posted in: Digital TransformationSecurity and Risk


The broader issues behind Brexit send a frightening message to the services industry

June 26, 2016 | Phil Fersht

The vote for Brexit wasn't really about debating the finer points of EU membership - it was a big thumbs down for the establishment from over half the UK voters who feel disenfranchised.  This is a reflection of the ever-widening gap between the wealthy and the working classes, the educated and the uneducated, the socially-connected ambitious younger generation and the disconnected older generations, who've lost interest in the direction of the modern world that no longer represents their interests.

Moreover, this rebellion against the establishment can be clearly mirrored in many of our enterprises, where similar issues of disenfranchisement are rapidly permeating.

Rote jobs are being eliminated with limited reorientation and progression planning

We talk a lot about the new work and career opportunities being created by digital disruption and digital business models, but these require greater problem solving skills, critical thinking and creative capability, if the World Economic Forum's new jobs report is to be believed:

Click to Enlarge

And while we can complacently talk about all the exciting work creation the As-a-Service Economy is bringing, we've already precisely pinpointed that 30% of routine, low-value positions are being phased out through automation over the next five years, far outweighing the expected new jobs being created in the medium-high skills areas:

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

This means we need to ensure our businesses and colleges alike are actively involved in reorienting this 30% to avoid their exit from working society. This is serious stuff which needs to be urgently addressed by our politicians, if they genuinely want to get back in touch with their increasing base of disenfranchised voters.

The younger generation, clearly more in tune with opportunities of free labor movement and their career growth, overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU.  In fact, the majority of British voters under the age of 45 want to stay "in"; it's the 45+ year-old people which see no value of EU membership for themselves, which opted to stick it to the faceless politicians:

Age analysis for Brexit votes3

And when we delve even deeper, it's also highly obvious that the better educated the person, the more they were inclined to vote "remain":

Voter analysis, Brexit

The Bottom-line: As automation and further outsourcing take a firmer grip on enterprises, we face an almighty challenge - and cost - to reorient staff in low-skilled jobs

We've long-countered the whole argument about job elimination and offshoring, with the response that businesses need to be competitive and this is all part of the natural evolution of society and business. However, when 30% of services jobs are likely to be phased out over the next five years, we need to ensure these people can orient themselves into new jobs. Politicians need to forge closer ties with business leaders to ensure this happens, otherwise we'll have more Brexits and more fascist lunatics creating frightening futures for us.

When you have 52% of your voting public sticking it to the establishment, there is a serious situation emerging that could change the game forever:  if we can't have leadership that can get back in touch with the people doing these rote jobs, we will end up with governments that force even more draconian measures on businesses to protect jobs. And this will likely mean less competitive businesses and less jobs to go around in any case.  This is a journey to the bottom if we give in to archaic government measures and an avoidance of investment in work creation through re-education and training.

Taking away EU employees from British firms, and the ability for low-wage EU workers from places like Poland, Ukraine etc to wait on tables and clean hotel rooms, the economy is much worse off.  Just as a benchmark, British science is hugely dependent on EU grants and talent to keep it going.  It's the same with university programs and technology start ups benefitting from EU synergies and subsidies alike.

Many governments need to accept the fact that this 30% of future job elimination is caused by woeful education systems over the last few decades that long lost touch with the reality of business and modern day commerce. Serious investments need to be made by governments to fund the reorientation of workers to be relevant for the future workplace.  Our businesses need to be funded to retrain staff and retain them, not simply look to reduce headcount wherever possible.

Brexit symbolizes the failure of government to listen to so many of their people who are just angry.  They feel neglected at the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor.  There's a reason Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump (for various reasons) gained so much popularity. Love or hate their policies, many people see them as politicians who can "hear" them.  David Cameron may have fought - and lost - the cause to keep Britain in the EU, but the majority of his people felt cut off from the future and made their voices clear.

The painful process now begins for legacy establishment politicians across the globe to wake up to the reality that an increasing majority of their voting bases are fed up with their lack of affinity to the common workers, and the fact that our business leaders have limited (or any) incentives to protect them or reorient them.  Otherwise, they will get voted out and we'll have some alarming social unrest that could well put us all out of business.  This is serious stuff, and we can't afford to keep brushing these issues under the carpet in a democratic society.

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



Digital labor will trim 1.4 million global services jobs by 2021

June 24, 2016 | Phil Fersht

It’s time we dispelled the scaremongering and hype and gave you the true picture of how advances in automation tools and methodologies, such as RPA and autonomics, will impact the global IT services and BPO industry over the next five years.

The current debate on these issues is as polarizing as it is confusing. On the consumer-facing side of technology, we have a fervent and far-reaching debate about the ethics of artificial intelligence and automation, led by executives from the likes of Google and Facebook. On the enterprise side, we frequently see quotes from studies from firms such as McKinsey and Gartner predicting seismic job losses through the impact of disruptive technologies that could have a devastating impact on the global economy and society in the next few years.

Yet, many of the leading stakeholders much closer to the true deployment of emerging enterprise Intelligent Automation tools and platforms—namely the service providers, the ISVs and the sourcing advisors—remain on the sidelines when it comes to discussing the true impact of automation as it’s adopted by many enterprises today.

We’ve been talking, for the best part of two decades, about how to “transform” business and IT processes after the cost benefits of labor arbitrage have been maximized. Well, the simple fact is that much of these arbitrage costs are close to optimization for mature services providers that have well-honed global delivery machines. As enterprise clients demand further cost advantages, and as competitors become increasingly aggressive with their service pricing, the focus shifts toward clients attaining outcomes that are not always directly linked to lower headcount rates.

“Intelligent Automation-as-a-Service” is a genuine lever for enterprises to pull for further productivity gains beyond low-cost offshore labor

Consequently, many enterprises that have chosen to externalize their service delivery can enjoy even more cost effective services, as ambitious service providers further rationalize their delivery organizations by taking advantage of automation to standardize and scale service delivery to their clients.  In short, while many enterprises can invest directly in Intelligent Automation into their own processes, they can also simply outsource those processes to service providers, which can embed further productivity gains tied to automation, in addition to labor arbitrage.  “Intelligent Automation-as-a-Service” is quickly emerging as a significant productivity option for enterprises as part of their service delivery.

Sadly, greater productivity and effectiveness through “digital labor” comes at a societal cost—jobs that were once required are no longer needed. However, we would point out that the jobs that are being phased out are no longer being recreated in any case, and much of this shrinkage will likely come from natural attrition as some people leave the service industry for more relevant jobs in other industries.

The Impact of Automation on Services Jobs

The following graphic shows three Automation Impact Scenarios for the IT and BPO services industry, ranging from a modest/conservative prediction which is a continuation of current RPA use to a scenario we consider more likely where adoption of RPA and more Intelligent Automation increases to an aggressive scenario, where automation adoption hits a broader range of the skills. If we examine the most likely outcome, Scenario 2, we see strong growth for highly and medium skilled personnel—with highly skilled positions in our industry increasing by 56%, and medium-skilled by 8%. However, low skilled, routine jobs drop 30% as many of these roles get phased out over the next 5 years, resulting in a net loss of 9% of jobs, totaling 1.4 million:

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The following graphics shows Scenario 2, the Likely Scenario, in more detail, outlining the number

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Cognitive ComputingDigital Transformation



Can HPE + CSC dominate the digital underbelly, or has that ship sailed?

June 19, 2016 | Phil Fersht
Digital Underbelly

Just stare at that digital underbelly... there's a lot of work needed down there!

When the news broke last month about the second largest IT services merger of all time (after the 2008 HP-EDS whopper), the reaction among the services cognoscenti was - and has continued to be - one of confusion.  Big services mergers have just not done very well over the years. HP/EDS was a culture clash of immense proportions - and occurred right before the great recession, while other mergers, like Dell's acquisition of Perot, has resulted in the old Perot business being flipped over to NTT Data at a significant loss, and the Xerox/ACS merger has been shaken up and spun off and needs a major reinvention under new CEO Ashok Vemuri to get the company back on track.  Meanwhile, Capgemini and IGATE are still figuring out the best pieces of each other to mesh together, while not taking their eye off the ball, during the services industries' most cut-throat transition phase.

We heard HPE CEO, Meg Whitman, excitedly address the firm’s key clients and industry analysts at HP’s recent Discover event in Las Vegas, with an obsessive focus on “digital transformation” and the impending impact of “digital disruption”.  However, the real opportunity for HPE isn’t really in the design of digital business models for clients, it’s the enablement of them – it’s the provision of the agile “digital underbelly” to make digital change really happen for enterprises.

It's easy to be cynical about legacy IT services, but there's an awful lot of it to scrap over as enterprises are forced to fix their plumbing

Digesting the merger of these two struggling services giants has resulted in more rumination than most, considering the timing, sheer scale, transitional uncertain market and motivation. This is not a time when most traditional service providers are looking to add more global delivery scale to already large foundations – most are trying to slim down their delivery armies and sales forces,

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



Accenture, TCS, Wipro, Tech Mahindra and Infosys lead the 2016 Telecom Operations As-a-Service Blueprint

June 13, 2016 | Phil Fersht

HfS Telecom guru, Pareekh Jain, is back with his second blueprint looking at service provider capability delivering telecoms business services, following his debut analysis at the end of 2014:

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Pareekh, how would you describe the current state of Telecom Operations As-a-Service?

We describe this market as a under-penetrated market. Our research suggests the current global telecom operations market (i.e., business processes under network, fulfillment, assurance, and billing) is perhaps one-third of $10 billion potential.

The telecom market is perhaps only vertical market with the dubious distinction of both enabler and victim of the digital transformation. Telcos have enabled cost-effective communication with likes of WhatsApp, Skype and in turn, they have eaten telco's lunch. Telcos worldwide are struggling to find their right place in the digital world. As-a-Service solutions can enable service providers to help telcos to prepare for the digital era.  The As-a-Service is the model today and for the future in telecom operations services.

Tier 1 telcos have generally been early adopters of telecom operations services. Now, there is an opportunity to provide services to Tier 2 and Tier 3 telcos, too leveraging As-a-Service solutions. As-a-Service solutions are driving growth in this market.

The eight service providers we evaluated for this Blueprint approach this market in essentially two ways. Service providers with strong IT offerings focus more on non-voice solutions whereas pure-play BPO service providers focus more on voice-based solutions. Service providers with strong IT offerings have taken the lead in platforms replacing legacy stack, plug and play business solutions, intelligent automation, holistic security, design thinking, and collaborative solutions while analytics and social is on the agenda of all telecom operations service providers.

How has that changed since our inaugural Telecom Operations Blueprint in 2014?

Pareekh Jain is Research Director, HfS (Click for Bio)

Even back in 2014, we could see many ideals of As-a-Service present in service providers’ offerings. In the last two years, As-a-Service momentum has accelerated.

Compare to our analysis couple of years back, we see the rise in collaborative engagements driving business outcomes. Analytics is now embedded in most of the engagements. Service providers are launching new services incorporating design thinking. We see more examples and use cases of automation. Also, telecom operations service providers are becoming effective brokers of capability by partnering with IT, platforms, local construction companies and telecom domain experts.

We see industrialization of few new service offerings such as network rollout management, revenue assurance in last two years. Also, service providers are constantly innovating with

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)HfS Blueprint ResultsIT Outsourcing / IT Services


Futurist Gerd Leonhard to keynote at HfS Cognition this September

June 09, 2016 | Phil Fersht
Futuring Gerd Leonhard will keynote at HfS' Cognition Summit this September

Futuring Gerd Leonhard will keynote at HfS' Cognition Summit this September

Now we have finally managed to get past that frightfully riveting conversation about doing some rudimentary process automation with our invoice processing and customer collections (aka RPA 1.0), we can finally get to the heart of what new technology capability  - much of which is already here - is really doing to our world.

With human brain power and computing power on collision course to become one, the enmeshing of human behaviour and thought processes with self-learning and self-remediating cognitive systems is set to confuse, frighten and - ultimately -  inspire us to change our whole approach to managing our technology investments, making data meaningful, collaborating with work colleagues and creating new business models.

This is our goal, this September, in White Plains, New York, where we are, once again, bringing together the diverse stakeholders of the operations and services industry to get past the fear, and find the inspiration to drag us out of this transition phase, in which we currently find ourselves.

To this end, at HfS we are thrilled to have persuaded Gerd Leonhard, CEO of The Futures Agency, to keynote our HfS Summit, "Cognition: Welcome to the Future of Services", September 14 – 16, 2016 in White Plains, New York. So we sat down with Gerd to get his critique of the future of technology, the emerging quagmire surrounding Digital Ethics and the true potential of Artificial Intelligence..o and how this will all potentially impact our jobs, our societies, our lives, and our humanity...

Phil Fersht, CEO and Chief Analyst, HfS: Good evening, Gerd. Great to have you on the HfS platform today! We're very excited to have you join us at Cognition, our coming flagship event in New York this September. But maybe before we start, could you give me just a little bit about your background and how you've ended up as such a visionary in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Space these days?

Gerd Leonhard: CEO of The Futures Agency: It's a long story. I'm a futurist. But I started as a musician and producer, and then in the late '90s I went on the Internet and I did a bunch of music startups. It was an interesting time, but I was too early and ahead of my days. I think I realized in

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


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



Robotic Process Automation has now penetrated a third of enterprises. Time to advance the conversation...

May 30, 2016 | Phil Fersht

RPA 1.0 is a done discussion. We know what it is, we know what it can do, we know how it can augment operations and help digitize broken processes.  To this end, our brand new study on Intelligent Operations, which canvassed the dynamics of 371 global enterprises, already shows a third of them are very active with RPA within their IT and finance and accounting processes:

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RPA is here and being adopted at a fast clip

All the incessant RPA hype has done its job - it has literally dominated IT services and BPO conversations at every conference, provider strategy deck, advisor "new practice" press release and many buyer converations.  Indeed, we can even forgive those cheesy sales presentations from guys who suddenly claimed to have 20 years' experience as automation pioneers and talked about bot farms as if they were actually hand-raised on one...

The overwhelming conclusion is that a large chunk of enterprises are actively implementing it, and

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Posted in: 2015 As-a-Service StudyAnalytics and Big DataBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO)