Monthly Archives: Jan 2015

Dallas, we have a problem: Advisors struggling to deliver Expertise-as-a-Service

January 31, 2015 | Phil Fersht

The IT and business services industry is now navigating unchartered waters, where the common challenge for today's enterprises is simple:

"How can we design our businesses and operations to run more effectively, so we're geared up to get ahead of our markets where technology is increasingly at the center of our business universe. How can we understand data to respond to our market needs, and how can we be smarter and more creative about how we operate and go to market?"

The answer is pretty straightforward, really - go get the help you need to be this effective, whether you hire it, retrain what you have, outsource it, or simply buy on-tap consultative expertise.

We've recently discussed the fact that many service providers are struggling to find this talent, while many buyers also need real help to access business-relevant skills.  So let's now look at the great intermediary which can readily plug those talent gaps for a paltry $500/hour... the consulting firm.  Surely these MBA-qualified guys and gals have these skills in spades for the needy enterprises ready and willing to pay for them?

Read More »

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



Speed dating their way to a quick divorce... Rick Simmonds talks up his new advisory firm Aecus

January 29, 2015 | Phil Fersht

Rick Simmonds, Founder and Managing Partner, Aecus

We recently had the pleasure of hearing from Alsbridge's CEO, Chip Wagner, regarding his firm's organic expansion plans into Europe as his firm cements its growing reputation in the sourcing advisory market.  But what about the  UK advisory firm formerly known as "Alsbridge Plc"?  Answer, it renamed itself "Aecus", named after one of the sons of Zeus, renowned for wisdom and piety, and his fairness as a judge. He was a resolver of disputes between the gods.

So we caught up with the firm's founder and managing partner, Rick Simmonds, to find out more about his renamed business, the split with Alsbridge mothership, the renewed focus on the new firm and whether their famous "speed dating" approach to provider selection is effective for clients...

Phil Fersht (HfS): Good morning Rick - can you share your background with our readership? When did you get into this outsourcing business?

Rick Simmonds (Aecus): I've been in outsourcing for a long time. I started in the late 1980s with Andersen Consulting in the pre-Accenture days, working for David Andrews who went on to set up Xchanging. Then I helped Ernst & Young set up its outsourcing practice in the 1990s. They sold this division to Cap Gemini; which I left in 2002 to set up ALS Consulting.

Ben Trowbridge was a partner of mine at Ernst and Young; he left to start Trowbridge Group. We

Read More »

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



Skill not Scale, Part II: Europe poses the biggest opportunity as As-a-Service models emerge

January 24, 2015 | Phil Fersht

We've talked a lot about the massive opportunity for the services industry as we move into times of unprecedented complexity.  However, while complexity brings us much opportunity to solve problems and design new solutions, it also brings skills challenges that could prove insurmountable for many, without external support.

New data findings from our soon-to-be released report “From Human to Digital, the Future of Global Business Services”, conducted with KPMG, covered 492 industry services stakeholders and reveals some marked regional differences, when it comes to enterprises better aligning internal operations  with their corporate goals and directives:

Click to Enlarge

Better IT, service provider collaboration and talent are the missing ingredients for European enterprises

Settling for the status quo is clearly not a viable option for 43% of European firms viewing a formal change management effort, or simply bringing in new talent, as essential actions to get themselves out of their current predicaments to get better value from their operations. While the need for better IT systems from all global enterprises comes as no surprise, the open admission, from more than half of European enterprise operations executives that they would benefit greatly from better collaboration with their service providers (compared to a third of their North American counterparts), brings us to the conclusion that the majority of large-scale European firms are in dire

Read More »

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



Cost is the New Black: The Overbearing Paradoxical C-Suite Imperative for 2015

January 18, 2015 | Phil Fersht

"C-Suite leaders want to drive out cost?  Tell us something new..."  OK, I will, because this time, this cost imperative is different, as the traditional means of driving out cost are reaching their limits.  60% of enterprise C-Suites are actively seeking to reduce their reliance on labor in their operations - but most are discovering they need to work smarter before they can work cheaper.

Enterprise leaders can't keep dipping into their operations functions to find more staff to shift into cheaper locations, or simply remove them - they are having to explore the emergence of As-a-Service solutions as that next lever to pull. The shift from labor to digital is happening, and this insatiable thirst to operate businesses as cost-effectively and flexibly as possible is the overwhelming driver behind this change.

Our new study, conducted with KPMG, shows an impetus on cost take-out coming from the C-Suite at an intensity never seen before:  90% now view cost reduction as an increasingly important-to-critical imperative for their operations.  In addition, a similar number are very focused on achieving cost-effective, flexible services to support their businesses.  And this desire to drive out cost is far more intense than other "value-based" imperatives for operations, such as addressing risk, analytics and talent:

Click to Enlarge

A paradoxial shift from human to digital has begun in earnest

This reemergence of cost as a key driver clearly indicates that executives believe significant inefficiencies remain in their current operations. It is, therefore, a priority for many executives to

Read More »

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



The greatest nearshore location of all... Nova Scotia

January 15, 2015 | Phil Fersht

Where better to process your insurance claims?

Anyone who knows me best, is privy to the information that I disappear up to the lakes, forests and pubs of Halifax, Nova Scotia, for my summers. Having spent so much time in the region over the last 15 years, and having both a sister-in-law and brother-in-law lead service delivery teams for a major provider and a major bank up there, I have, believe it or not, learned a thing or two about the province's rich fertile ground for delivering IT and BPO services.

People are smart, very pleasant, well educated, and are a short hop into all major US cities... no wonder the likes of ADP, Convergys, IBM, Hinduja and all the major Canadian banks rely on the local

Read More »

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



Skill not Scale: The Massive Opportunity Awaiting the Services Industry

January 11, 2015 | Phil Fersht

I was recently inspired by a refreshingly simple and unvarnished blog on the The Inflexion Point for the IT Service Industry by Deepak Shenoy of Capital Mind.

Where Deepak hits the nail on the head, is how IT services executives are promoting themselves out of relevance in the India-heritage firms (which is not too dissimilar from practices we observe in many Western-heritage services firms too).  In plain terms, we've got lazy and arrogant, we've developed a sense of entitlement, where all we need to do is print money from the profits of maintaining legacy enterprise practices.

I won't regurgitate all of what Deepak discusses, but do have a think about the advice he leaves us with, for services executive worried about losing their relevance:

  • Learn a new skill – either back to code and processes in newer technologies, or in a completely different domain. This could take months or years, but it’s necessary
  • Invest and create alternate sources of income
  • Keep debt manageable so a job loss will leave you with at least a year’s expenses in the bank
  • Stay humble: the people who reported to you could be your next boss

The context here is simple: the enterprise services gravy train is slowing down for those executives

Read More »

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



Unveiling the 2015 Robotic Premier League Table: HP, TCS and IBM are setting the pace

January 05, 2015 | Phil Fersht

Back in April, we released the first Robotic Premier League Table to capture the “pre-season” placement of 20 different BPO service providers who were in the early stages of adopting robotic process automation (RPA).  We shook up the market with what is still the most comprehensive assessment of the strategies, marketing and delivery of today's emerging RPA capabilities. In fact, it's the only comprehensive assessment of the strategies, marketing and delivery of RPA capabilities.

Well, eight months is a very long time in the fast-evolving world or process robotization, so we’ve decided to update our analysis and provide a new RPL table to start 2015 to account for the early activity and investments being made in the space.

For this release, our resident RPL Commissioner Charles Sutherland caught up with several dozen service providers to look at just how far their RPA capabilities had evolved since April...

Congratulations to HP, TCS, IBM, Sutherland Global Services and Genpact for topping the table this time around and for Genfour and Symphony Ventures in setting the standard for a new emerging category of RPA specific service providers.

To establish these positions, Charles assessed each service provider using the criteria developed in his HfS RPA Maturity Model.

Click to Enlarge

It is still early in the evolution of RPA inside the outsourcing services market. Service providers are industrializing their capabilities to meet current and future client requirements.  By the time we release our next RPL later in 2015 we expect to see the level of standard capability across service providers to have significantly matured further and for RPA to be part of most major outsourcing deals across the market.  In short, RPA is becoming an arrow in every ambitious service provider's quiver.

HfS Subscribers can click here to download the full 2015 HfS Robotic Premier League Table

Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Global Business Homepage