As we deconstruct the recording of our interview with Genpact's President and CEO Pramod Bhasin, one factor keeps springing out of the discussion, that makes me realize how far today's organizations have to go, before they can truly claim they are satisfied that they are maximizing their potential:
"Most companies can’t tell you how good or bad their business processes are"
Cutting to the chase, those providers which can offer services to help clients evaluate their current level of "goodness" or "badness" and execute a plan to reach the next level, will be the ones which win out. Hence, it's not solely about sitting down with a client and claiming: "this is the best-in-class claims processing workflow", it's being able to help that client evaluate whether it's worth changing what they currently have, and demonstrating the chops to execute on a plan to help them achieve that next performance level. That means providers need real process experts which have the consultative prowess to help clients think through their options.
Essentially, as the BPO industry matures, it's becoming an attractive playground for many of the Indian IT services giants to dabble their fortunes, as they look to diversify their business models and take advantage of IT-BPO synergies, the onset of SaaS and the future potential impact of Cloud Computing. They are realizing the importance of genuine BPO capability to help their clients consider end-to-end business-IT solutions, and start to attempt answering that excrutiating question: how good or bad are our processes?
For a long time, most BPO deals were essentially dominated by Accenture, ACS (Xerox) Capgemini, Genpact and IBM, with HP popping up occasionally if it fancied a nibble, but today's competitive landscape is shaping up quite differently with the likes of Cognizant, Infosys, TCS and Wipro looking to claim their piece of the action.
However, some providers are finding the transition from IT to BPO a greater challenge than they imagined, with the different skill levels and diverse talent requirements that need to be managed. The scalability and training issues for managing process versus programming is a whole new world. But these firms dominate the global technology industry, they are embedded in all the major global enterprises, and as they see their own IT services business commodotize further, many will increasingly dive into BPO endeavors with their clients. It's inevitable, and it's already happening.
During Part I of this discussion, Pramod gave us his take on the recession, how Genpact tackled the worst of it to emerge as a more focused organization, with increased investments in industry-specific processes and geographic regions. Recent financial results indicate he's practising what he's preaching with solid performance and a positive pipeline for future growth in both the near-and-medium terms. Part II of this discussion (coming shortly this week) will focus on these IT-BPO synergies, the relentless quest for innovation, and how the competitive landscape is developing as a result of the changing environment.
So where is this all headed? Well, if we told you the entire answer, you wouldn't keep coming here, but stay tuned for Part II, zoning its way shortly to an LED display near you...