Monthly Archives: Feb 2013

It's true! Freakonomics' Stephen Dubner is coming to dreamSource...

February 28, 2013 | Phil Fersht

If you've ever read Freakonomics, you'll know how excited we are to announce that co-author Steven Dubner has agreed to speak at our dreamSource event this spring. Here's the press release that went over the wires this morning....

NEW YORK AND LONDON (February 28, 2013) - HfS Research (, the leading analyst authority, today announced that Stephen Dubner, co-author of the best-selling book Freakonomics that melds pop culture with economics, will attend dreamSource as the featured speaker for the April 30th evening event at The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, New York.

No it's not April Fools' Day... Stephen Dubner is really coming to dreamSource

Mr. Dubner offers a way of getting beneath the surface of modern business practices: how to create behavioral change, incentives that work and don't work, why consensus building often wastes time and resources, and how to achieve the business outcomes you expect.

"Stephen Dubner is a delightful addition to our groundbreaking agenda," comments Phil Fersht, Founder & CEO of HfS. "He reinforces with both humor and poignancy the notion that the old rules of business no longer apply. His vision is right in line with the spirit of dreamSource and the purpose of the HfS Sourcing Executive Council - to shape the future global operating model for today's ambitious enterprises and break out of the purgatory in which so many of today's enterprises are trapped!"

Commenting on his attendance at dreamSource, Stephen Dubner said, "HfS is moving the needle with how today's leading enterprises need to focus on evolving their global operations dreamSource will be a unique gathering of key enterprise stakeholders to find common ground on how the sourcing industry needs to move from "good enough", to "getting better". Too many enterprises are caught in a holding pattern and it's gatherings like this which will help us find new paths to follow. I am personally excited to meet many of the folks at the event."

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Buyers' Sourcing Best PracticesCaptives and Shared Services Strategies



No Payne no Gain for a Chief Customer Officer... Part I

February 25, 2013 | Phil Fersht

Bill Payne is Vice President, CRM and Industries at IBM Global Services

Three years after his first appearance here, IBM's Bill Payne has somehow survived appearing on such a disreputable media platform to talk to us about his refining vision for the future marketing function and, perhaps most importantly, how today's businesses need to manage their most precious assets in the face of such fundamental change - their customers.

We managed to convince him to take time away from his prized vegetables to talk to use more about this vision for the CCO... The Chief Customer Officer...

Phil Fersht (HfS Research): Good morning, Bill. You recently wrote an article where you spoke about the road to customer centricity and how the world's leading organizations are putting the customer first. In your experience, how has this been working and what is your vision for the future of the customer centric enterprise?

Bill Payne (IBM Global Services): Companies have always said that they put the customer first, and I think they genuinely believe they do. When the business world was made of just bricks and mortar, and on the primitive edge of the digital age, putting the customer first meant that you had to monitor the customer simply when they walked in the store or if they touched you digitally. The world is way more complex now, and what we have found is in large organizations, there is often no integrated  customer or even consumer strategy driven by the board. In an omni-channel world,

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Buyers' Sourcing Best PracticesCaptives and Shared Services Strategies



HfS Market Index shows Outsourcing of IT and Business Processes to Grow by 4% in 2013

February 22, 2013 | Phil Fersht

Yes, you heard it here first, folks:  outsourcing expenditure is mushrooming at the warp-speed clip of 4% this year to surpass $950 Billion, and expected to average a 5% clip each year through 2017:

Click to enlarge

How do we know all this?  

Because we have a super-brainy data guy called Jamie Snowdon leading our data and forecasting practice, where we pull together data from thousands of supplier contracts, revenue databases, inflation estimates, economic primers and - most importantly - from the thousands of buyers and

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Cloud Homepage



HfS rated in the top right-hand-corner of analyst firms for influencing buyers and journalists

February 19, 2013 | Phil Fersht

"HFS Research was an outstanding performer in the Analyst Value Survey. Buyers of analysts' services rate HFS Research as one of the most valuable providers, and one of a handful of firms whose influence grew most impressively in 2012"

Duncan Chapple of Analyst Equity, February 2013

Leading expert and commentator of the global analyst industry, Duncan Chapple, former board member at the International Institute of Analyst Relations and CEO of LighthouseAR, has announced findings from the Analyst Value Survey, which included 198 enterprise consumers of analyst research to understand how much influence each major analyst firm has on enterprise buying decisions and the media.

Considering this study was focused on major analyst firms such as Gartner and Forrester, which cover broad enterprise IT and services buying trends (not just sourcing), we would be have been happy with finishing somewhere in the middle of the pack, but as you can see, we are making some pretty big waves in the enterprise. It's pretty cool what you can do with a smart group of analysts a bunch of research and a blog:

Click to Enlarge

We, at HfS, are proud to represent the sourcing industry among the global analyst firms and help communicate today's complex issues surrounding sourcing to the forefront of the enterprise agenda. Thanks for all your support.

Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Buyers' Sourcing Best PracticesCloud Computing



If outsourcing were an employee, it would be fired… Part 2

February 18, 2013 | Phil Fersht

It's never too late to find redemption...

So if you haven't been fired yet, here's how to avoid it happening...

Phil Fersht (HfS Research):  So, Lee, we talk about more of a fluid and evolving outsourcing relationship.  How can we get there? Why is such a large proportion of this industry stuck in the weeds, with so many companies persisting in doing things in such a short-sighted way over the last decade. Why aren’t we evolving these relationships?  What is holding us back?

Lee Coulter (Ascension Health): Phil, I think there are two primary reasons:

One is the most common misconception about outsourcing or shared services is that you can declare success. Some executives like to say “We’re done. We're done outsourcing. We're done doing shared services”. No, no you can’t! This notion that there is some finite initiative and there is some specific number of deliverables that you can check off on your old checklist and say “Oh I am done, yay”... that is a very common misconception by the leadership in many organizations.

The second one is that the work to continue to evolve the relationship, is really hard work. You

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Buyers' Sourcing Best PracticesCaptives and Shared Services Strategies



If outsourcing were an employee, it would be fired... Part 1

February 17, 2013 | Phil Fersht

Lee Coulter is... Lee Coulter (click for bio)

The first time I spoke to Lee Coulter, I was an analyst at the old AMR Research (now Gartner) and managed to get him on the phone, where I hoped to convince Kraft's global überlord of shared services, IT and outsourcing to spend a day at a roundtable I was organizing.  "You've got 5 minutes to convince me why I should invest my time with you", was his response. I knew straight away this was a guy who didn't like to xxxx around.

Since then, Lee has been a great friend in helping us establish the HfS Research organization three years ago, in addition to lending his time and support helping us assemble the most irresistible community of senior sourcing practitioners.  For those of you attending our dreamSource summit this Spring, Lee and I will co-host a session entitled "If outsourcing were an employee, it would be fired".  Lee, who today has built and now leads shared services for heathcare provider, Ascension Health, caught up with us last week to talk about the session and why we called it just that...

Phil Fersht (HfS Research):  Good morning Lee - a pleasure to get you on the line today. You’ve been a well known figure in sourcing shared services and outsourcing world for quite a few years now.  Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got to where you are today?

Lee Coulter (Ascension Health):  Sure, Phil, I guess it goes back quite a ways!  Originally, I guess I was starting my career in what wasn’t really an outsourcing or shared services configuration. Actually as a delivery guy, I was a service engineer delivering services to hospitals and health systems. Twelve years, later I had moved from delivering services for diagnostic imaging equipment

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Buyers' Sourcing Best PracticesCaptives and Shared Services Strategies



Why middle management is often as influential as the C-Suite when it comes to outsourcing

February 15, 2013 | Phil Fersht

The official definition of insanity: asking the same question over and over again, from every conceivable angle, and always arriving at the same conclusion.

The official definition of insanity in sourcing: recounting how many times a service provider has asked you, "We've got to get to the C-suite to pitch innovative ideas, because middle management is too risk adverse."

So who better to analyse sourcing insanity than HfS' own sourcing insanity analyst, Tony Filippone...

Are service providers addressing the right audiences?

Is there really a disconnect between senior executives and the rest of their teams regarding the importance of innovation during service provider selection? Will ideas fall on deaf ears unless a service provider can schmooze a CFO? Are service providers addressing the right audiences? We asked a few questions in our State of Outsourcing survey to delve deeper into the topic...

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)HfS Surveys: All our Survey PostsHfS Surveys: State of the Outsourcing 2013



Genpact joneses after JAWOOD to capitalize on healthcare insurance mayhem

February 09, 2013 | Phil Fersht

As HfS' Tony Filippone recently prophesied, November's election result would dictate the future of the US healthcare industry... and the titanic upheaval of Obama's reforms is quickly being felt.  Consequently, providers such as Genpact, are wasting no time trying to seize the initiative, as Tony discusses...

Get ready for the healthcare market to heat up over the next three years as a result of state health insurance market places, the rapid expansion of accountable care organizations, and ICD-10 implementations.

On Friday, Genpact announced its acquisitions of JAWOOD and Felix Software Solutions. This announcement comes on the heels of Cognizant’s November acquisition of Medicall, a BPO specialist provider of medical talent to the payer and provider industries with nearly 800 resources. Clearly, leading IT/BPO services providers sense real growth potential from healthcare insurers (payers) bracing to cope with these seismic changes.  We explain the forces influencing the payer market more thoroughly in our February RapidInsight™, Regulatory Fallout or a New Beginning in Healthcare?

What is Genpact getting with JAWOOD?

JAWOOD is a privately held, Michigan-based firm with 400 employees with three particular strengths in the technology enablement of healthcare payor operations.

1)   It has a variety of existing client relationships with Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans serviced

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Buyers' Sourcing Best PracticesCaptives and Shared Services Strategies



Banking in 2013: Control freaks who just can't let go face their toughest challenges yet

February 07, 2013 | Phil Fersht

Question:  Which vertical industry really struggles to let anything remotely strategic go out the door when it comes to outsourcing?  No, it's not public sector, it's banking.  So why is this?

Banks are seeking to grow their revenues in many areas impacted by the recession, most notably lending services. As they regain momentum in areas such as mortgage processing and commercial lending, the operational support and infrastructure that many banks had previously down-sized, is again needed and outsourcing helps add that scale and flexibility in this volatile environment. Hence, while cost savings continue to drive outsourcing business decisions, the capabilities to scale up business volume and meet complex regulations are paramount:

Conversely, banking and financial services organizations are clearly not viewing outsourcing as an opportunity to improve analytical capability or transform operations. Clearly, many banking executives still view outsourcing as a utility solution and are yet to be convinced of the greater strategic benefits... or are simply control freaks who just can't let go of anything remotely strategic

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Financial Services Sourcing StrategiesGlobal Business Services



Replay of the HfS/KPMG Banking & Financial Services webinar

February 06, 2013 | Phil Fersht

Missed last week's Banking & Financial Services webinar?

If you weren't still sleeping off your champagne breakfast, you may recall we discussed the 2012 market challenges and how they're impacting 2013’s strategies and priorities.  We also managed to expose KPMG's Stan Lepeak for who he really is... (Kiefer anyone?)

Well fret no more, as we have the replay now available for your viewing and a full slide deck for our premium research subscribers. Enjoy!

Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Buyers' Sourcing Best PracticesCaptives and Shared Services Strategies