It's time we started Being As-a-Service

March 23, 2016 | Phil Fersht

Coming away from our Cambridge University buyers summit this week, I was pleasantly surprised by the increased level of sophistication and maturity many services buyers are now exhibiting.

Gone are the provider bitch-fests and endless ranting about failed promises and absent innovation (that they didn't pay for in the first place).  Instead, there was a desire to look at themselves, and really try to figure out how to broker change and run their outsourcing engagements as part of a broader business agenda, not some quirky siloed activity, forever tarnished by the word "outsourcing".

Adopting a mindset to change today (not tomorrow), is where everything must start

Yes, the conversation has turned to buyers accepting they need to change first, before heaping all the blame for their woes onto their service providers. This is why our Ideals of As-a-Service begin with a mandate for buyers and providers to change how they behave, how they can adopt a mindset to start writing off their legacy processes and technologies.  In short, it's time we focused on fixing our present - it's time we focused on Being As-a-Service:

Being-as-a-Service

Click to Enlarge

It's time we stopped talking about this scenario of "this was legacy and this is our future desired endstate"... we'll just remain stuck in this perpetual stranglehold of never getting anywhere. We'll always we a work-in-progress, a project that never finishes...

As someone joked during our Cambridge University summit this week "Cognitive computing is always going to be huge in the future"... so let's stop evangelizing about a nirvana we many never reach and, instead, start talking about what we need to do today. Let's stop panicking about the future, which is scaring so many people, and start focusing on what we can do today to be more effective.

Let's start talking about Being As-a-Service today... not tomorrow, or some far off point in the future, where we just hope this all becomes somebody else's nightmare...

Bottom-line: We have to narrow the chasm between hype and reality in order to be successful in the present

Our industry is beset by fear, like never before. People are scared - they know their skills and capabilities could quickly become obsolete in a world where the job openings increasingly demand creativity, analytical prowess and an ability to pivot across domains.  Suddenly, if you're not a Digital native who talks about endless disruption and the coming robo-geddon, you're a dinosaur... The gap between hype and reality has reached ridiculous proportions, and it's time we stopped thinking about the fantastical future and focus on what we can achieve today.

Successful sourcing executives have to become "brokers of capability" (which one buyer commented sounds like a rock band) where they can live in the present to drive a change mindset for the future. Most of the executives have been tasked with adopting Digital strategies (whatever those may be) and to come up with smart approaches to take advantage of automation technologies. But to get there, they need to change how their teams think, collaborate and operate.

It's a mindset change, it's a culture change. It's about bringing together the key stakeholders and delivery leads to address the As-a-Service Ideals today and stop looking at them as some far off nirvana someone else will take them to.  Simply put, most firms can't simply saw-off their legacy by disposing of some archaic ERP system and slamming in some SaaS product, or mimicking every defunct manual process into a piece of RPA software, or firing an entire department of ineffective process wonks. In fact, a lot of the legacy actually works and the ROI of binning it doesn't make financial sense.  Writing-off legacy is about starting the process of re-imagining a future without those legacy systems and processes that are holding back our businesses.

So the Ideals of As-a-Service can be initially addressed today by making the most of what we currently have, not simply waiting for the day budget magically appears from above to bring in teams of nose-ringed consultants to redesign our businesses.

Posted in: 2015 As-a-Service StudyAnalytics and Big DataBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO)

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1 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Durgesh
    Posted Mar 23, 2016 09:08 AM | Permalink Reply

    Another good reading Phil. On a lighter note, this blog is sounding like a teaching in Buddhist Philosophy. Perhaps that's what we need, monks instead of nose-ringed consultants. :)

    Wish you a very happy Holi and Easter.

    Cheers

  2. Cheryl Smith
    Posted Mar 23, 2016 10:44 AM | Permalink Reply

    Phil,

    This is such a well thought out together message - so simple, but so effective. You are so correct that we need to stop panicking about the future and really get stuck into what we can achieve today,

    Cheryl

  3. Kevin Wheeler
    Posted Mar 23, 2016 05:58 PM | Permalink Reply

    Phil,

    Very smart viewpoint about legacy. It's about working out where "legacy" is holding back the business, and where it can still fulfill a function effectively. This is the only way we can get to the promised land - by addressing our legacy in the smartest way to make progress,

    Kevin Wheeler

  4. Bram Weerts
    Posted Mar 25, 2016 12:14 AM | Permalink Reply

    It was a great summit and one of the main things I came away with is the need to communicate/sell the value to the right people in the organisation. The need for sourcing leaders to have real sales/marketing skills to align the stakeholders is critical for them to be successful. This is about bringing together the key stakeholders in a business context, which is why we see more and more folks thriving at the executive level in this industry with a sales and marketing background. I think communication and perception management are underestimated in a lot of places, but definitely within services on the buy side.

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