Monthly Archives: Jun 2015

Neural Platform Professor, TCS' Harrick Vin

June 28, 2015 | Phil Fersht

When we look back at this current era of IT services, we're going to remember this as the time when many of the leading providers launched their platforms to help orchestrate, analyze, automate and artificially intellectualize the delivery of technology to enterprises.

We've already had IBM's Watson™ and Wipro's sidekick Holmes™, in addition to the several specialist IT autonomics platforms such as IPSoft's IPCenter™ and Arago’s Autopilot™, so surely, it's just a matter of time until we get the full gamut of branded autonomics-driven IT management platforms from all the major service providers.  The most recent launch comes from TCS, which has been putting a significant amount of investment and attention into its new IT autonomics "neural" platform ignio™.

So we  recently got some time with ignio's mastermind, Dr. Harrick M. Vin, who's  the Chief Scientist and Global Head of Innovation and Transformation, and IT Infrastructure Services at TCS.  Maybe he should just call himself the Platform Professor...

Phil Fersht (CEO, HfS): Good afternoon Professor Harrick Vin! It's great having you on the blog. Maybe you can start by giving us some color into your background, and earlier career--and how you ended up working for a major service provider like TCS.

Dr. Harrick Vin, Vice President and Chief Scientist, Global Head, Innovation and Transformation, IT Infrastructure Services, Tata Consultancy Services (click photo for bio)

TCS' Dr. Harrick Vin launches ignio this June in New York City (click for bio)

Dr. Harrick Vin: First of all it's a pleasure to be here, and I appreciate the opportunity to talk to you, Phil. Let me first introduce myself. My name is Harrick Vin and I'm vice president for R&D and Chief Scientist at the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). I look after our largest R&D center in Pune, India. For the past several years, I have also been driving the overall strategy and innovation for the infrastructure services business unit of TCS. Most recently, my team and I have been involved in developing a product called ignio, which we are launching in the market. I have been with TCS for about 10 years. Prior to joining TCS I was a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin for almost 15 years. At TCS, I have had an opportunity to closely work with and analyze some of the most complex systems, ranging from human systems, technological systems, to large engineering systems. We have used a lot of the learnings about how to manage complex systems, to design ignio.

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Posted in: Analytics and Big DataCloud ComputingDigital Transformation



Why big consulting needs to buy into BPO to address the As-a-Service Economy

June 25, 2015 | Phil Fersht

Consulting-eat-BPOWe've been talking about the great divide between consulting and outsourcing models for decades, but - finally - it's time for the two to get much closer together as the forces of the As-a-Service Economy combine to weld the two models into a new services mongrel which combines simplicity, efficiency and capability for enterprises finally attempting to drag themselves away from their perpetual treadmill of obsolete technologies and valueless process flows.

The whole premise behind As-a-Service is one of a fundamental cultural change with how enterprises approach their operations and partner more collaboratively with capable service providers to re-imagine their processes, based on defined business outcomes. Simply put, it's a

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Posted in: Analytics and Big DataBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO) Homepage



Ready for a reality slap around the face with a wet kipper?

June 24, 2015 | Phil Fersht

It's high time we brought the HfS show back to our hometown of Cambridge MA this December, where we'll give everyone a big reality slap around the face with a wet kipper:


Yes, people, it's time to dial back the rhetoric, stop talking about fantastical things that will probably never happen, and get to the heart of the matter: how can we actually define and realize business outcomes from outsourcing?

This will be a service buyer event, where we have 45 exclusive enterprise buyer seats reserved for the chosen few, and we will wheel in some unsuspecting service provider leaders for our famous face/off debate, where we are going to challenge them on why they aren't self-cannibalizing, why they all insist on using the same lingo we can barely comprehend, and how they plan to be different from each other when the fog lifts.

We'll be holding the HfS Working Summit in Harvard Square just down the road from our headquarters. So mark your calendars now:

Defining and Realizing Business Outcomes

HfS Working Summit for Service Buyers

December 1-2 2015, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA

More details--including the agenda, accommodations, how to apply for registration and sponsors--to follow very soon.

Bookmark our event site to stay up to date!
Drop us a note to apply for a seat (Service Buyers Only)


We hope you can make it to Harvard Square this December. It will be a great way to end the year and get ready for 2016. And, of course, we'll have a little fun, great food and booze while we're at it.

This will be an invitation only event, but we do encourage you to drop us a note if you are interested in applying for a seat. It'll be great to have you there to celebrate the year we've had and get stuck into some unvarnished debate!

Be there, or be Harvard Square!

Posted in: Analytics and Big DataBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO)Buyers' Sourcing Best Practices



Procurement makes its move to As-a-Service.... so who's leading the market?

June 21, 2015 | Phil Fersht

The beauty of procurement is that is was never really geared up for cheap and cheerful labor-arbitrage based BPO.  In short, most procurement functions have been cut to the bone in most organizations, and many still rely on fax machines, photocopiers and copious filing cabinets of yellowing contracts to get the job done.

Shipping this stuff off to far flung offshore destinations for a few FTE savings has rarely proved to work very well. However, creating a capability where clients can plug in to a whole new experience of procurement capabilities, category expertise, spend management analytics and gain-share opportunities As-a-Service is now happening for many ambitious buyers and service providers.

The procurement outsourcing market has evolved significantly since 2013 since HfS launched its first Blueprint, covering 14 service providers, to this new report that covers 18, co-authored by analysts Charles Sutherland and Hema Santosh. This new report is looking very closely at the evolution of procurement services from its legacy outsourcing roots in lift and shift mega-deals, coupled with strategic sourcing consulting, to the increasingly available As-a-Service solution models offered today.

The latest HfS Procurement-as-a-Service Blueprint captures the transition of service providers into the As-a-Service Economy:

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

What has changed since 2013 in procurement outsourcing services?

If we look at where we are today, or starters, we’re living in a post Procurian world, as its acquisition by Accenture in late 2013 shifted the competitive landscape.   Both were in our 2013 Winner’s Circle and when combined they created a market leader by share and by innovation. When we first commented on the acquisition we expected several more would quickly follow especially for Genpact and Capgemini who needed to replace the partnerships they had been developing with Procurian.   It turns out that rather than buy at least for now, those service providers who had gaps in capabilities or technologies turned to partnerships instead.

Indeed, partnerships between service providers born out of the transactional procurement market (e.g. TCS, Genpact, WNS) and those out of the technology (e.g. GEP) or strategic sourcing (e.g.

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Posted in: Analytics and Big DataBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO)Digital Transformation



Is there anyway you'll be at the NOA Symposium in London next week?

June 19, 2015 | Phil Fersht

We're participating in two sessions at the NOA Symposium held at etc. venues, St Paul’s on Wednesday 24th June. We're also sponsoring the pens (which will surely create an avalanche of new delegates)


Click the logo to get more details on the 2015 NOA Symposium

I'll be part of a panel with a motley assortment of legacy analysts from Gartner, Everest and NelsonHall as part of “The Outsourcing Debate", moderated by the Professor of Process himself, Leslie Willcocks. This meeting will surely produce some fireworks as we vehemently debate the most overhyped and underhyped ITO and BPO trends in the UK.

Then, I'll be chairing a workshop session on “Transitioning to the As-a-Service-Economy.” This is a subject sure to be close to the hearts of many of our readers and we've lined up a couple of HfS community friends to co-host with me, John Ashworth, VP Finance Transformation and Systems at Pearson, and Steve Turpie, Deputy Chairman of West Suffolk NHS Trust.


NOA Symposium... all the outsourcing royalty will be there

We'll weigh the importance of the ideals of the As-a-Service industry vision, discuss how to get the right mix of technology and talent, and evaluate how the painful shift to As-a-Service is/will impact traditional buyer/supplier relationships.

The Symposium will be followed by the NOA Summer Party (we guarantee it will not rain), where booze and entertainment (whatever that is) will be provided for the rest of the evening.  I'll hopefully see you there!

  • You can book your tickets for the NOA Symposium online via the NOA website.
  • If you have any questions, you can email NOA Events Manager Stephanie Hamilton at [email protected] or call her on 0207 292 8692.

Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) HomepageOutsourcing Events



Come see Tony Blair support HfS at the Annual ABSL Conference in Krakow

June 11, 2015 | Phil Fersht

We're excited to be heading to Krakow next week to participate in the two-day 6th ABSL Conference from June 16-17.

The great agenda features 80 speakers who will engage the 800 delegates in attendance in discussions about strengthening talent management and supporting regional business leaders for their next global roles in (and beyond) the industry, achieving sustainable and accelerated growth of the sector for the next decades, stimulating innovation and improvement culture, and taking advantage of the technology and client expectations revolution.

With any luck, I'll get a selfie with Tony. Show up yourself and see what happens.

With any luck, I'll get a selfie with Tony. Show up yourself and see what happens.

I'll be standing on the same stage as Tony Blair (he actually shows up right after our panel discussion where I will attempt a selfie... stay tuned) when I deliver the Keynote Presentation, titled "The Four Foundations of the As-a-Service Economy: The Industry Has Spoken" at Auditorium Hall from 12:40 - 13:00 on Day 1. My talk will look at how the emergence of As-a-Service represents the most disruptive series of impacts to the traditional global services industry that we have ever seen. I'll share some of our new research, covering more than 2,000 enterprise service buyers in the HfS global community, which paints the picture of what our industry needs to do to get ahead of this impending disruption.

HfS Executive Vice President Charles Sutherland will facilitate a Day 2 Panel, titled "Looking for more fuel! - how to build on current success?" The discussion will focus on the experience of world class GBS organizations, as well as the next SSC trends and opportunities.

Charles will be joined by a group of industry luminaries, including Tom Bangemann, Senior Vice President Business Transformation, Hackett Group; Adnan Behmen, Associate Director GBS, Procter & Gamble; Wojciech Karpinski, Services Head, Global Operations Manager, Infosys BPO Ltd.; Agnieszka Kubera, Managing Director, Accenture Poland; and Magdalena Wlodek, Director Finance Service Center Europe, PMI.

This will be a terrific two days. I hope to see you there!

Posted in: HomepageIT Outsourcing / IT ServicesOutsourcing Events



HfS hits bullseye of the IIAR Tragic Quadrant for IT analyst firms

June 11, 2015 | Phil Fersht

We've been doing this research things for a while now. The blog started in 2007 and HfS Research has been around since 2010. It's really a blink of an eye when you think about it--especially compared with the established firms that we knock heads with every day:

But what keeps us going, apart from the great (and sometimes insane) clients we work with, is the knowledge that we're doing the right thing - or at least we convince ourselves we are. But, occasionally, there is independent confirmation that tells it like it is, for example this new analysis from the International Institute of Analyst Relations, which surveyed analyst relations professionals from 60 organizations.

Again, here we are in the mix with the Gartners, Forresters and IDCs of the world in The IIAR's now infamous “Tragic Quadrant,” which IIAR just released on the impact and relevance of IT analyst firms. As you can see, we're square in the bullseye on the Impact and Relevance quadrant, along with Interaction (which is depicted by the size of the bubble).   What's really encouraging for HfS is our reach beyond outsourcing and services into mainstream coverage of technology - we really seem to have left some of the niche analyst firms in the outsourcing space behind.

We're not much for living in bubbles, but it's not bad for your favorite insurgent firm. And we assure you, we won't let it go to our heads.  Honest we won't =)

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



Building your personal brand in the As-a-Service Economy

June 08, 2015 | Phil Fersht
Personal Branding

Design Thinking?

The world we're venturing into is demanding a very different approach to how we progress our capabilities and careers, and I've never seen so many enterprises so fixated on finding innovation-capable talent, when looking to hire senior executives. The hiring process for new talent has never been so complex and challenging for ambitious enterprises, desperate to avoid yet another disappointment of ending up with someone who talks a big game, but fails to deliver the goods.

And while it's harder than ever to re-invent yourself to satisfy ever-demanding employers or clients, it's also a great opportunity for many of us who have the determination, willingness to improve  and application to take our careers into the As-a-Service world. However, today's work environment is also posing a huge threat to those of us unwilling to change with the times, or are simply seeking to ride out our final working years in the hope we can escape unharmed with our retirement nest eggs.

However which way we look at this, building our personal brands is the critical ingredient for furthering our career potential in this unraveling As-a-Service world. So let's evaluate how to make some basic shifts from yesterday's reactive worker to one which ambitious employers are going to want to lure...

Seven Simple Steers to avoid Screwing up your Personal Brand

1. Get rid of the 9.00-5.00 work mentality.  It's amazing how many people still operate like this.  You can't possibly function if you still have this attitude to work and never take calls / return mails in the evenings or weekends etc.  Ambitious business leaders no longer want people who just don't want to put in the extra effort and time to be effective in their roles.  If you really don't want to work hard, then find a career that doesn't warrant that - sadly, it won't likely be very intellectually stimulating...  but that's the tradeoff these days.

2. Be a people person... or at least pretend to be.  Networking and having people want to engage with you has never been as critical as it is today. Email and social media is fun to communicate in soundbites, but nothing beats meeting up socially, talking on the phone etc.  I know many people out there who just don't like people very much - it's just in their DNA.  This is something you have to fix - if you're not great to engage with, it's going to hold you back. You don't really need to like people to have a functional relationship with them.

3. Stop being an asshole... you know you can try.  Let's face it, we all have to deal with them.  Just don't be one yourself.  I know several people who just persist in badmouthing me and my firm because they compete with us - or just are assholes.  Can't we all get along? Share a few jokes or have a drink at a conference?  Can't we even pretend to like each other, or at least be civil?  In today's world, it just isn't the way anymore - we work hard enough not to need to deal with negativity and bad vibes.

4. Use social media to promote others, and not just yourself.  Nothing irritates me more than those people who only tweet or use LI to promote their own work.  These people who self-promote to the point of narcissism, and never bother to promote others....ugh.  It's like going on a date when you were younger and having to listen to someone just talk about themselves all evening.  If you only ever promote yourself, people will quickly notice and start to avoid you. Fix this habit and force yourself to me more than being all about YOU.

5. Become genuinely collaborative and don't just pretend to be.  Yes, we all know the types, but the more you collaborate, the more people will enjoy working with you and the more you will learn from others. Take the attitude that if you give, you will mostly get back. However, nothing beats having a genuine reputation for being collaborative - it's such a big plus in the emerging work environment.  Noone likes the non-team players and it's easy to uncover who they are in today's environment.

6. Figure out how to self-improve by looking at yourself and being honest once in a while.  It still amazes me everyday how many people are simply incapable of being able to take a good look at themselves, identify their weaknesses and work out how to improve on them. Deep down we all know what we're good at and where we are falling short, we just need to work harder at the latter independently as we're not always going to have someone telling us where we need improvement. Being able to self-improve is an amazing quality in today's world if you can open your mind to doing this.  If computers are self-learning these days, we need to be too...

7. Be creative and unafraid to refocus your abilities on achieving business outcomes.  This is so important today - you can't just box up your skills to say "I'm great at", or "I have 20 years experience doing FP&A, ABAP programming, deal negotiation, HR policy etc".  You need to focus more on business outcome capabilities where you can clearly demonstrate how you identify problems and solve them in creative ways that add real value and future growth potential for enterprises. For example, you need to prove you can "Re-orient a firm's whole go to market focus to open up new growth opportunities that might now have been obvious previously"; or "Re-define and simplify what data a firm needs to be effective in an industry"; or "Evaluate an automation strategy investment by identifying which processes would provide a genuine business advantage being automated, versus those which would cause more headaches than they are worth".

Bottom-line: We mustn't settle for easy, we need to keep pushing ourselves in today's work environment

I will be the first to hold my hands up and admit I am not perfect - am sure I have many enemies and resentful individuals out there I managed to somehow rub the wrong way - and I am sure I could have been more successful than I currently am today if I had not made many mistakes with my career choices and business decisions.  But I do passionately believe we need to constantly challenge ourselves to stay ahead of our careers in today's environment. Simply settling for the fact we have already reached the ceiling of our capabilities and career potential, could likely take us on a downward spiral faster than we realize as we increasingly compete with a broader spectrum of people for our jobs and our clients.

Posted in: Analytics and Big DataBuyers' Sourcing Best Homepage



Sourcing Superman of the Source, Barry Matthews

June 06, 2015 | Phil Fersht

One of the most scintillating sagas of the year has been the unravelling of the great Alsbridge European mystery, with their previous UK entity being reincarnated under the name Aecus (the son of Zeus) and Alsbridge US preferring to grow its own European business, as opposed to persisting with a franchise strategy.

Clearly, CEO Chip Wagner and his cohorts had grander ideas than merely hiring a few local boffins - and their recent acquisition of Source accelerates the firm up the value chain of sourcing advisors. Source has developed a growing reputation for itself under the leadership of its founders Barry Matthews and Eleanor Winn,  adds 20 staff schooled in ITO/BPO, vendor management, governance and SIAM skills, as well as demonstrated robotic process automation/autonomics insight, expertise and hands-on experience. Geographically, they have a track record in the Nordic market, a hotspot in the industry, and will bring credibility, should Alsbridge choose to focus on that area in the future.

So we recently caught up with the affable Barry Matthews to learn a bit more about what Source brings to the Alsbridge mothership...


Barry Matthews is a Managing Director for Alsbridge in the UK (Click for Bio)

Phil Fersht (CEO, HfS): Good afternoon, Barry - thank you for joining us on HfS, it’s a pleasure to have you with us. Your company, Source, recently got acquired by Alsbridge. But before we go into that, maybe you can just give us a very quick high-level bio and how you ended up in the advisory world.

Barry Matthews: Okay, no problem. It's a pleasure to be with you. My background is in the service provider supplier side of things—predominantly in the IT world.

I was at GE Capital selling and delivering big infrastructure deals for a number of years. And then at Sapient, back in the day when we it called “globally distributed delivery.” It seems to have become offshoring. So I have a lot of expertise in delivering offshore deals. I then was an independent consultant in the outsourcing space before I joined Alsbridge plc (now known as Aecus) in the UK back in, I think, 2005. I setup their IT sourcing practice and had a very enjoyable time with those guys before I left at the end of 2009 to set up Source. We had five very enjoyable years before Alsbridge approached

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