Monthly Archives: Dec 2012

Sourcing no-no's for 2013: what's gotta go

December 27, 2012 | Phil Fersht

What's going cheesy on the Horses in 2013 then?

Here's some sourcing cheese we don't need more of in 2013:

1) "Big Data".  Puh-lease. Who came up with this in the first place?

2) "BPM".  Nasscom took it upon itself to rename the BPO industry "BPM" (Business Process Management).  It made a press release... but has anyone heard the new term since mentioned even once?

3) "Innovation".  Overused and rarely achieved in sourcing.  Let's put this one back in the locker until we actually see some.  The temporary term to be used is "Shminnovation".

4) "End-to-end process".  I'm sorry, but what is an "end-to-end" process?  A process with a middle bit, a front bit and and end bit?  Does this mean companies only look at parts of processes?

5) "Cloud".  This is about as relevant as "e-business" became with any piece of software that became web-enabled.  Time to put this one to rest?

6) "Data Scientists".  Can we kill this one before it starts, please?  Makes me think of geeks in white coats...

7) "Global In-house Centers".   Try telling your Mom and Dad you work for a Global In-house Center... oh my.

8') "Users".  Please, please, please can people stop referring to customers as users.  Until IBM starts slinging cocaine, I think we're good to drop this one...

9) "Buyers".  And please, please, please, please can people stop referring to customers as buyers.  Why not just call them "shoppers"?  Are you a sourcing shopper?

10) "Outsourcing".  Ha.  Only kidding... let's not go there....

Posted in: Absolutely Meaningless ComedyBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO) Homepage



Ho Ho BPO! Happy HanuChristWali everyone

December 25, 2012 | Phil Fersht

Posted in: Absolutely Meaningless Homepage



Why HfS cancelled its 2013 predictions

December 20, 2012 | Phil Fersht

For all of you waiting on tenterhooks for our 2013 predictions, I am afraid we have some bad news: today, we took the unprecedented step of canceling them.  But why?  Can't analysts see into the future anymore?

We predict... there'll be a lot of rubbish predictions

1) Analysts who claim to see the future, without any real data to support their theories, are very, very likely to be talking gibberish.  They are either:

a) Talking out of their behinds;

b) In love with their own verbocity and have lost their grip on reality; or

c) Both of the above.

This time, HfS will base its outlook on the data gleaned from our 2013 State of Outsourcing study, which will include the views, experiences, dynamics and intentions of hundreds of enterprise buyers, providers and consultants.

2) Predictions from "experts" are nearly always wrong and many are just ill-informed rubbish. Not only that, nothing is more off-putting than reading someone's predictions that are just plain wacky, for example, Jason Krieser of law firm K&L Gates views a bright future for the service integrator model. What?  We were talking about this a decade ago.  Moreover, the article is claiming the fact that the State of Texas is "one of the first IT organizations to give it a go".  When did the State of Texas become a barometer for the future of IT Outsourcing and innovation?  And while we're having a laugh at predictions based on very shaky evidence, Steve Martin of outsourcing consultancy Pace Harmon, claims we're in for a major "backsourcing splash" next year simply because Randy Mott fancies stirring things up at GM (which is easy to do when your boss is Barack Obama).  How can you base an industry trend on the actions of an auto manufacturer which only recently survived on bail out money from the government?

3) Our economy is teetering over a precipice in 12 days' time... won't that have some impact on proceedings?  In case any of you have been in a coma all year, if Congress can't figure out a way to even start paying off its $16 trillion debt over the next few days, we could be heading into a sharp recession.  Most likely, they'll come up with come temporary band-aid measure, but our economy is in serious debt and we haven't even come up with an initial plan to save it and reverse our horrible addiction to debt.  Now, the outcome of the end of year Fiscal Cliff deadline could create an incredible burning platform for outsourcing deals to be signed... or it could prolong the painful do nothing, change nothing holding-pattern much of industry has been persisting with since 2008.  It all depends on what kind of deal (if any) Congress can concoct.

So we, at HfS, predict absolutely nothing, except that we'll all get probably get extremely drunk next Tuesday, Wednesday and maybe Thursday...

Posted in: Absolutely Meaningless ComedyBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO) Homepage



Tiger Tales Part IV… The sourcing industry's virtuous cycle

December 18, 2012 | Phil Fersht

And just when you'd forgotten we hadn't published the final installment of our interview with Genpact’s CEO NV “Tiger” Tyagarajan... here's the final installment of our interview with Genpact’s CEO NV “Tiger” Tyagarajan.

The more you understand your processes, the better you can redesign them. Better processes produce better data. Better data gives better insights. The better your insights, the smarter you run the company and the smarter the decisions you make. It becomes a virtuous cycle.

NV “Tiger” Tyagarajan, President and CEO of Genpact, 2012

Phil Fersht (CEO, HfS Research): Tiger, there’s been a lot of talk lately of changing the image and even the terminology of BPO. Do you think it matters who we are perceived as and what we call ourselves?

NV “Tiger” Tyagarajan is President and CEO, Genpact (click for bio)

NV “Tiger” Tyagarajan (CEO, Genpact): I think it matters a lot. Five years back we created the terminology business process management. In all our corporate communications we have never used the word BPO. We have always used the terminology business process management and technology services company to describe ourselves. It was tough to get everyone else in the industry—other providers, the press, analysts, advisors, employees—to use terminology other than BPO.

Now, finally, driven by the economy, the whole industry is jumping there. We always believed the business we are in is really two businesses:

  • I am going to help you run your company better. It will be more efficient and effective. It will produce better output. I will take you on that journey. First, we fix your processes and then we bring in technology.
  • They make decisions every point along the way. Do I invest here or there? Do I accept this customer or that one? Do I price like this or that? Should I take that risk or not? Our job is to help companies make better, smarter decisions. We do that using two aspects:

Data. There’s so much data coming out you can use it to build insights to make smarter decisions. Make it more predictive so companies can make those decisions before it’s needed.

Processes. How do you redesign your processes to make smarter decisions around how the process

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Buyers' Sourcing Best PracticesFinance & Accounting BPO



Why have we become such crappy managers?

December 14, 2012 | Phil Fersht

Just outsource them all...

The recent post entitled "Can we ever get back to the thinking workforce" focused on the poor work habits that have infiltrated many of today's workers to create a dearth of analytical thinkers for our organizations.  However, one critical aspect we overlooked during the excellent discussions, was centered on how our corporate managers have allowed this to happen.

As if by magic, I was presented with a new survey carried out by Kelton Research, on behalf of  talent management SaaS provider, Cornerstone OnDemand, which canvassed views of 494 employed Americans over the age of 18.  It's clear that the very attitude and approach towards talent management has shifted radically in recent years.

What stands out for me are five main aspects:

1) Managers are not being developed or trained property to nurture and develop our talent;

2) Over half of employees today are taking a short-term view of their current employment;

3) HR has become a forgotten function in the business when it comes to aligning employee performance with objectives;

4) Corporate leaders are losing interest in developing their own talent, and looking for "silver bullet" hires;

5) This short-term attitude towards talent management is surely increasing the value proposition of partnering with sourcing providers.  If they can fill your talent gaps quickly and inexpensively, then why bother developing your own?

So let's take a closer look...

While employees still, by and large, know how their jobs contribute to the business objectives (56%), barely a third feel their performance goals are aligned with their organizations' objectives

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



State of Outsourcing 2013: It's time to add YOUR opinion!

December 10, 2012 | Phil Fersht

Whether you buy, sell, advise or analyze outsourcing services, YOUR opinion is critical for our annual State of Outsourcing study as we crowdsource the industry's opinions and dynamics.

This will take no more than 12 minutes to complete, where you can receive an executive report of the survey findings and participate in a prize draw for an iPad Mini. Please note that we will treat all personal data with the strictest confidence.

Your experiences and views are so important to us - and personally appreciated!  Please click on the following link to add your insight:

Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)HfS Surveys: All our Survey Homepage



A new Indian marketing model - pounding anyone with a pulse with PowerPoint

December 06, 2012 | Phil Fersht

Just when you thought it may be safe to give up a couple of days of your life to get to know a service provider better, with, maybe, a 10% reduction in slide bombardment (if you're lucky), one of the Indian majors has added a whole new dimension to the sales cheese game...

"Did someone say innovation?"

Fly in anyone with a pulse (literally) to receive the bombardment. Suddenly, they don't really care who they're talking to anymore... they just want butts on seats.

As an industry analyst, I need to devote a good amount of my time with service providers to learn more about their businesses and attempt to decipher what makes them different (if anything) from others.  In addition, it's important to meet their leaderships to challenge their business models and relay what their clients and prospects are saying about them.  Most of the time, these discussions can be held privately in briefings, but once (or twice) a year, some of them beg me to attend an event of theirs so I can absorb multiplous hours of their posturing, pitching and pontification.

And sometimes these actually turn out to be educative experiences with two-way dialog and a chance to meet some new people.  However, I tend to keep my expectations at the floor level, as many of these experiences frequently end in boredom and bemusement that they are pitching the same stuff that was in vogue a decade ago, and depression as all the kingsize rooms were divvied out to the Gartner analysts.

But now enter the new "whack-a-mole" marketing strategy.  Fill the room with suits... and who gives a damn!

This week, my suspicions of this new strategy were initially raised, when I inadvertently showed up late at a lovely airport hotel, where I quickly registered and slipped quietly into the ballroom to join the proceedings.  The room was wall-to-wall packed... there was nowhere to sit, so I sheepishly hid

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



Can we ever get back to the "thinking" workforce?

December 02, 2012 | Phil Fersht

For a long while now, I have privately been concerned about the negative impact modern work culture is having on the disintegration of work ethics within many of today's firms.  Many workers, whose jobs once forced them to think and focus, have today become reactive, easily-distracted and operational.  

It first dawned on me about a decade ago, when I was enjoying one of those rare "in between jobs" periods, that I was still able to spend my whole day absorbed in front of my laptop.  Let's be brutally honest here - people think they are "at work" as long as they are sitting in front of their computer screen.  Peoples' obsessions with their favorite news pages, blogs, social sites and their 3+ email accounts has disintegrated work productivity for so many.

Too many office staff today have lost their focus and analytical value to their firms

How many people reading this blog are able to turn off their email for at least an hour, so they can focus on whatever work activity they need to finish?  How many workers have become mentally lazy, preferring the cerebral chewing gum of short-term attention span theater than actually having to read, learn and think?  How many people have evolved from problem-solvers to passive information jockeys, doing little more than responding to emails, passing on instructions, or forwarding along information someone else produced... with little (or no) value added by

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Finance & Accounting BPOGlobal Business Services