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

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  1. Jerry E Durant
    Posted Dec 27, 2012 05:57 AM | Permalink Reply

    Spot on (sorry hope that isn't on the much longer list).

  2. Andy Mason
    Posted Dec 27, 2012 05:13 AM | Permalink Reply

    Big Data needs to meet a Big Death!

  3. Andrew Wagoner
    Posted Dec 27, 2012 06:17 PM | Permalink Reply


    Brilliant as always. "Users" as a term has been plaguing IT for many years now. Thanks for calling it,

    Andrew Wagoner

  4. Paul McCullough
    Posted Dec 27, 2012 07:31 PM | Permalink Reply

    Data Scientists need to go now. You summed it up perfectly.

  5. Suresh
    Posted Dec 27, 2012 07:42 PM | Permalink Reply


    Cloud has just become a sexier enterprise term for "hosting" and in consumer terms "the internet". I do agree its meaning has become very, very broad,


  6. Dennis Smith
    Posted Dec 27, 2012 10:47 PM | Permalink Reply

    Well done !!!!

    Suresh wrote: "Cloud has just become a sexier enterprise term for “hosting” ......
    Yikes, is it just me or did “hosting” become a sexier enterprise term for "timesharing" ?


  7. Tom Patterson
    Posted Dec 28, 2012 06:42 AM | Permalink Reply

    Let's just drop "Private Cloud". It's meaningless and simply hosting with a fancy wrapper,


  8. James Levy
    Posted Dec 28, 2012 07:25 PM | Permalink Reply

    Phil - super post.

    I am assuming a Global In-house Center is a fancy new term for "offshore captive". Whatever was wrong with "offshore delivery center", or even that corny term "Center of Excellence"?

    James Levy

  9. Gaurav
    Posted Dec 28, 2012 08:19 PM | Permalink Reply


    Good call with "end-to-end process". It made sense a few years ago, when it was a real differentiation point for providers to deliver more than point process solutions, but they all claim to have the full process suite now,


  10. Phil Fersht
    Posted Dec 28, 2012 08:41 PM | Permalink Reply

    @Tom - I think we buried Private Cloud in 2011 :) Agree it's meaningless..

  11. Phil Fersht
    Posted Dec 28, 2012 08:46 PM | Permalink Reply

    @James - Anything to avoid the word "offshore". I do think "captive" is not very appropriate as a general business term, but works well inside the sourcing circles. "Offshore shared service center" works for me, or simply "shared service center". The sooner we view outsourcing as an extension of business functions and shared services, and not some siloed service, the more we'll improve the negative perceptions.


  12. Steve Hedges
    Posted Dec 29, 2012 11:08 PM | Permalink Reply


    How about "Transformation", or is that already banished?

  13. Phil Fersht
    Posted Dec 30, 2012 12:10 AM | Permalink Reply

    @steve - it was called a couple of yeas ago, however, despite its edam-factor, it is actually relevant!

  14. Posted Jan 08, 2013 09:32 PM | Permalink Reply

    So what are the "yes" terms for 2013?

  15. Phil Fersht
    Posted Jan 09, 2013 03:01 AM | Permalink Reply

    patience is a virtue! watch this space...

  16. Colin
    Posted Jan 14, 2013 02:10 AM | Permalink Reply

    I would nominate rightshoring and rightsourcing - the implication that whoever did it before you made an intentional decision to wrong- shore or wrong source...or was that left shore and left sourcing??

  17. Ravi
    Posted Jan 14, 2013 10:24 AM | Permalink Reply

    Hi, while I agree on most of this. I dont fully agree on 'end to end'. In my experience a lot of clients have outsourced work which is a small piece of the whole chain and then expect and demand 'transformation'. It is quite funny.

  18. VN
    Posted Jan 14, 2013 01:31 PM | Permalink Reply

    I think we should seriously push for BPM as a term...instead of BPO. It makes more sense to me, processes are being managed as opposed to being outsourced.

  19. Paul Singer
    Posted Jan 27, 2013 09:41 PM | Permalink Reply

    How about we get rid of the term "Life and Shift" since the benefits of pure labor arbitrage and the mess it creates are not worth the effort.

  20. George Brooke
    Posted Jan 28, 2013 06:17 AM | Permalink Reply

    Good list and even better explanations. Very funny! I'd nominate "vendor" to go with "user" and "buyer". Gone are the days of old school "drop your price or else" Purchasing-led negotiations. The knife cuts both ways.

  21. Operational Agility » Blog Archive » IT – this is how your business colleagues think
    Posted Feb 10, 2013 08:44 PM | Permalink Reply

    [...] You can find the article here: Sourcing no-no’s for 2013. [...]

  22. Michael Filak
    Posted Feb 17, 2013 09:32 AM | Permalink Reply

    Agree with the list. However, I am seeing BPM showing up more and more. It ties into the last one "outsourcing". It's the industry's fear of the term, I believe, that is driving the renaming of BPO to BPM.

    But, like Gaurav, I believe that "end-to-end" has some meaning. You especially see it when a client gives you part of the process but then asks for a service level that would presume you own the whole process. This type of negotiation is becoming more and more frequent because we are training the industry to ask for meaningful service levels. We just now need to train them on the need to aggregate services to enable a meaningful service level.

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