Mike Friend joins the HfS batting line-up

Mike Friend... now batting for HfS as Vice President for European BPO Strategies (Click for Bio)

We’re proud to announce the beginning of a major expansion with HfS’ European cricketing BPO capabilities, with the arrival of the esteemed fast-bowler and useful batsman analyst Mike Friend.

Mike successfully passed the HfS entrance examination, by managing to prop up the bar at a recent analyst event until 2.30am, while still managing to deliver a flawless presentation the following morning.  We were particularly impressed by the fact that Mike had ensured half the audience were also hungover and soundly slept through the proceedings.

In all seriousness, I have known Mike for over a decade, since he wrote the bible for European payroll when at IDC (which everyone in the industry glopped onto, as noone else had ever bothered to write anything comprehensive on European payroll before – and probably haven’t since).  With the biggest smile in the business, Mike will be a welcome player in the HfS analyst team as he tackles the core areas of BPO, namely F&A, HR, Payroll, Analytics and the underlying platforms that enable effective delivery. Mike brings with him 15 years of drinking analyst and consulting experience, most recently leading Finance and Accounting BPO research for analyst NelsonHall.  Previously he was a consulting manager for Deloitte’s human capital practice, having cut his analyst teeth first at IDC.

Mike will also pay particular attention to fighting the war we are waging on destroying the legacy FTE-model and attempting to transform the way the world actually works. Well maybe that’s pushing it a bit, but we have to set him some lofty goals for the coming months!

So without further ado, let’s find out a little more about said curious character…

Mike, why are you an analyst?  What inspires you to ply this trade these days?

The BPO and ITO market offers up an ever-changing landscape, which anyone with an inquiring mind couldn’t fail to be interested in. Except perhaps my parents who still quite grasp what it is I do.

At the end of the day, we as analysts are given a privileged insight into  the very real business challenges that buyers and sellers of IT and BPO services are faced with. Ultimately it is a relationship business and meeting people across the industry and hearing their stories provides me with a constant source of adrenaline.

And why, on earth, would you decide to work at HfS?  What’s the appeal?

HfS has taken a fresh approach to research which mixes the rigour and attention to detail of the old school style with the new media freshness and accessibility that brings the protagonists of the services industry together under one roof, whether it be in the form of bite sized tweets or in-depth, content rich reports.

HfS is hugely ambitious in what it aims to achieve for its customers and followers and what better time to be part of that journey than now?

Can you share with our readers what you will be covering as part of your program?  What’s going to be disruptive and new about your research?

My role at HfS is the embodiment of HfS’ philosophy to serve our customers globally whilst meeting specific local needs. The European market continues to evolve rapidly and HfS’ role is to not only identify these changes but comment on what these changes mean for both the providers of ITO and BPO services in Europe as well as for organizations seeking to transform the way in which they conduct business and engage with their customers and suppliers. So whilst I will be covering core areas such as Finance and Human Resources BPO, there will also be additional focus on ‘hot’ growth areas, such as BPO technology platforms, robotization, mobility, social business, big data, workforce strategies and cloud computing. As labor arbitrage gives way to new business models that focus on business outcomes, what role will these areas play, how will innovation be incorporated into service delivery and how will organizations be able to differentiate one service provider from another?

If we have a group of visitors from 10 years into the future, what would they think about the state of the enterprise today?

As much as we would like business processes to be best in class, seamless and issue free, the chances are that we will still be tackling similar challenges in 10 years time.  Organizations are organic and not mechanic, so by definition we are doomed to reinvent the wheel more often than we come up with something radically new. So much of what we see now will be familiar to us in 10 years time.

However the web and social media has given consumers a degree of power that has truly forced business to re-evaluate how they engage with their customers. It is the true definition of a disruptive technology and organizations are realizing that consumer personalization is king. Consumers are now demanding that companies talk to them as individuals not as a homogenous demographic. Do companies know my last 10 purchases? Do they know my next 10? Do they know that I am tweeting about them now? Perhaps therefore we will look back in 10 years time and marvel at the lack of enterprise ‘web agility’!

And finally, Mike, tell us more about what makes you tick, when you’re not thinking about Poland’s accounting regulations?

Mike with his kids Matthew and Christina

My great passion is cricket. I’m not sure when the bug really bit but it was certainly at an early age and most likely because it was a sport my father played. I’m tall and lean (skinny the less kind might say) which means I have the ideal build for a ‘fast’ bowler. However age is catching up so in recent years the adjective ‘fast’ has increasingly been replaced with my nick-name ‘friendly’. It’s a sport which resonates strongly with my friends in India and of course leaves my American friends scratching their heads. By way of explanation I usually say its exactly like baseball, but with fewer bases to run to, less innings and the pitcher can throw the ball at the batters head if he wants to.

Cricket demands long hot summer days, which is ironic since England is rarely blessed with them and when they do happen its invariably not at the weekend. But somehow I manage to get in a few competitive games each year which leaves the remaining months to other activities such as playing golf or walking in the Lake District with my children, Matthew and Christina.

Mike, welcome to HfS Europe :)

Mike Friend (see bio) can be reached via email here and you can follow him on twitter at @MikeFriendBPO.

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  1. Gaurav
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 8:08 am | Permalink


    Congratulations on a great move. Looking forward to reading your stuff,


  2. Paul Anderson
    Posted November 10, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink


    Am sure you are going to bowl us all over with your research :)

    Many congrats

    Paul Anderson

  3. Amanda Hare
    Posted November 10, 2013 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Welcome to HfS, Mike! Delighted to see more coverage of Europe,

    Amanda Hare

  4. James Levy
    Posted November 10, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Many congratulations Mike. Very pleased to have more Europe focus for BPO,



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