Monthly Archives: Nov 2009

Complete our survey. Now

November 25, 2009 | Phil Fersht


Before you tuck into your Thanksgiving turkey and guzzle a gallon of bad quality Chardonnay, please take 10 minutes to complete our industry-wide study entitled "The New Normal in Outsourcing Delivery".  And if you're in Asia or Europe, currently giving thanks for US declaring itself independent from everyone else, this includes you too.

Anyhow, we are actively seeking the collective opinions and experiences of services customers, providers, and advisors and need 10 minutes of your time to complete this quick survey, designed especially for the patience-challenged, attention-deficit-inclined executive.  Simply click on the following link:

Click here to complete our survey "Seeking the New Normal in Outsourcing Delivery"

All individual responses to the survey will be maintained strictly confidential. In return for your time, you'll receive a free write-up of the survey findings (wow).

We have partnered with the member communities at Global Services Media and the Shared Services & Outsourcing Network to ensure a powerful global participation of decision-makers and senior executives engaged in outsourcing delivery services.  Please do participate and help advance our collective understanding of the industry.

Please note that "Horses" is a free resource for the sourcing industry at large, and the purposes of this research are to further all our knowledge and understanding of the direction of the global sourcing industry, whether you buy, sell, advise, criticise, market, commentate or analyse sourcing delivery.  And if you do neither of these activities, please seriously question what you're doing here in the first place -:)


Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)IT Outsourcing / IT ServicesOutsourcing Events



Can IT overcome its credibility crisis?

November 21, 2009 | Phil Fersht

There's little doubt about what's been providing the rocket-fuel behind the rebounding services business: IT outsourcing.  Simply put, there are plenty of eager providers to choose between, they have access to most of the technical skills companies need, and their rates are far cheaper than retaining or hiring staff inhouse.  Some are also getting pretty handy at becoming consultative business partners, and not simply low-cost body shops.   Our recent study tells the real story -  50% of enterprises are either kick-starting, or scaling-up, their ITO right now.  "So tell us something new", I hear you groan into your laptop screen...

Outsourcing plans 2009

What's different as we emerge from this crisis, is that the perceptions of IT from the other parts of the business are becoming increasingly cynical in many companies.  Many companies are hiring new CIOs with the mandate to "turnover half the department, or outsource it", and IT middle-managers are being seriously questioned about the value they are adding to the business.  While much of the bottom-layer of IT has already been contracted out, it's now the middle layer of IT professionals which is under threat.  CIOs are under pressure to prove the value of maintaining these heavy middle-layers, or move them out of the organization.  Some CIOs are already operating under the strategy of hiring a few people who "genuinely get it" to drive IT value, while outsourcing as much of the operational work as they can.

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Posted in: Buyers' Sourcing Best PracticesCloud ComputingFinance & Accounting BPO



Xerox-ACS: Cloud Services Potential, or Dinosaurs Huddling Together for Warmth?

November 18, 2009 | Phil Fersht

Dana_StifflerOur recent discussion on Xerox's acquisition of ACS certainly served up some meaty discussion, and even got picked up by, among other media.

My dear friend, and former colleague at AMR Research, Dana Stiffler(pictured), recently sent us in some of her views on the merger.  Dana actually got promoted today to VP and Head of Research for AMR's services research, where she will be offering clients "cashable benefits, or your money back" with her group's output.

Anyhow, thought this a good time to showcase her talent...  Over to you, Dana:

Xerox-ACS: Cloud Services Potential, or Dinosaurs Huddling Together for Warmth?

Xerox is the latest in a long line of technology manufacturers to realize that its future lies in services, not products, particularly in the B2B value chain. Once manufacturing and supply chain efficiencies have been wrung out, it’s time to turn to top-line opportunities: services that use product heritage as a foundation. The fastest way to acquire these capabilities is by acquisition. Xerox’s predecessors in this journey include IBM, Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, and, just recently, Dell, with its acquisition of Perot Systems.

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Cloud ComputingFinance & Accounting BPO



Eulogizing on the Eurozone with Principal Euan

November 13, 2009 | Phil Fersht

Euan DavisAttend any European analyst meeting and there’s one character guaranteed to be propping up the bar. Scratch that, there are normally about 50 analysts propping up the bar. But in the midst of the throng you will undoubtedly find the stolid Euan Davis of Forrester Research.

I recall a conversation with Euan back in '95 when I told him “you should give this analyst lark a try” (If you want to know what he working on in those days, drop me a note…).  Anyhow, the story began from there, with Euan rising through the ranks at IDC’s European operation, making a curious detour to Yankee Group, before finally attaining new heights of stardom and adulation with Forrester.

Euan now boasts the words Principal Analyst in his job title and waxes lyrical about IT services in the Eurozone. Ask anyone in the industry and you’ll discover he’s fast becoming one of the most popular analyst figures on the European services circuit. And, despite the fact he once lost to me at tennis (a shameful occurrence for any man or beast), he still warrants an airing on the Horses…

Phil Fersht (PF): Euan, firstly, what are the main issues you’re hearing from your Euro clients these days? What are the main contrasts between now and before the economic crash last year?

Euan Davis (ED): The issues are many and varied but if I was to distill it down to what I see as the issues that clients are facing today then they fall into three categories: Some are “firefighters” and are looking to reduce costs wherever they can, pushing for discounts and getting economies of scale through aggressive supplier consolidation. Others are “explorers” and are directing energies into investigating a host of emerging options for IT service deliver—and business process outsourcing is one such area. The exciting ones to watch for my money are the “builders.” These firms are sinking the foundations that underpin a profound shift in their operating model architecture, IT/business redesign, and supplier engagement models. These firms are building hybrid operating models driven by a structured sourcing frame works, regulated through a retooled service management structure, and connected to a core set of suppliers. And the recession has speeded up the process of change.

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Buyers' Sourcing Best PracticesIT Outsourcing / IT Services



The "new normal" in the outsourcing delivery business

November 07, 2009 | Phil Fersht

One-flew-over-the-cuckoos-nest-sceneThis truly has been a pivotal quarter for the outsourcing business.  As we've discussed several times here, many services contract decisions have been delayed during the economic crisis while organizations worked out the best course of action to get through the downturn. 

In Q3 we've started to see definitive action, with many service providers meeting, and some even beating, Wall St. expectations.  But while some providers are clearly delivering, others are struggling to compete in this "new normal".

So what is this "new normal"?

Operational service provision is commoditizing and leveling the playing field.  Coming out of the recession, there is a backlog of engagements which are largely labor arbitrage-focused and it's often a question of price balanced with the promise of delivery performance for most clients.  There isn't a lot of secret sauce these days for what many clients are currently demanding, where in the past, incumbent service providers could play the "capability game".  With many of these skills becoming mainstream, the competitive playing field has leveled out.

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



Taking a walk on the Wacki side...

November 04, 2009 | Phil Fersht

If there’s one person who’s been a consistent figure closely tied to the development of Finance and Accounting sourcing over the last decade, it’s Paul Nowacki (or to those of us know him, simply “Wacki”), who today leads F&A transformation for leading sourcing strategy and implementation consultancy, Everest Group.

Paul’s advised on several of the largest engagements in the business (in fact, I do think he’s worked on the largest) and taught me a lot about the space when I worked with him at Everest a few years’ back. Never afraid to speak his mind, Paul is always a popular figure at industry events to talk about what our industry needs to do to get to that next level of performance. He’s truly a “been there done that guy” who’s seen it all… Anyhow, I managed to drag Paul away from his favorite past-time of tracking global financial indices and stock markets (no joke, he does that for fun) to talk to us for a while about finance transformation and global sourcing:

Phil Fersht (PF): Paul, firstly, what are the main issues you’re hearing from your clients these days? What are the main contrasts between now and before the economic crash last year?

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Captives and Shared Services StrategiesFinance & Accounting BPO



Reminder: stop and smell the roses

November 02, 2009 | Phil Fersht

Sometimes life becomes a converged morass of email, reading, writing, number-crunching, slideware-designing, talking, selling, firefighting, and so on - and more so these days than ever. Noone has time anymore to have a quick chat about anything non-important, read an interesting article (or more than 140 characters), have a cup of coffee with a friend, take a walk, read a good book...  My long-suffering wife keeps reminding me to take a deep breath, take a walk, and "smell the roses" - just thought I'd pass on her advice...


An Autumnal Sunday afternoon in Boston's Public Gardens

Posted in: Uncategorized