Monthly Archives: Sep 2015

IBM makes a meteoric rise into the HR-as-a-Service big three

September 29, 2015 | Phil Fersht

IBM_MeteorixJust when you thought IBM's Global Business Services was cratering into an As-a-Sleep state, having sold-off its call center business exactly two years' ago, Big Blue's next-gen services star is once again shining, with the acquisition of one of the finest up-and-coming specialist Workday services firms in the market:  Meteorix.

Every HR head wants a Workday rollout... and every SI wants a SaaS services acquisition

There is a clear scramble for talent which can implement and support popular SaaS platforms, such as Workday, not completely unlike what happened with specialist consulting firms supporting the ERPs in the '90s and 2000s, such as SAP, Oracle, Peoplesoft et al.  Specialist SaaS services providers supporting SaaS products, such as Workday, Salesforce, SAP SuccessFactors, NetSuite, ServiceNow and Google apps, are now in hot demand as ambitious global service providers seek to avoid the commodity trap of legacy software maintenance, which can still generate revenues, but not at the growth rates of past years.

As HfS, we estimate this has set IBM back something between $80-$100m and adds 180 certified Workday consultants to IBM's stable. This creates the third biggest Workday services player in the market, with a total of 380 certified Workday consultants and elevates IBM into the coveted

Read More »

Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) HomepageHR Outsourcing



Nasscom Wrap: Grasping for digital identity, but needing a dosa reality

September 27, 2015 | Phil Fersht

The BMP Masala Dosa Reality: Great product, Weak Message

My recent experience of dosas, one of Southern India’s favorite food snacks, typifies the potential and shortcomings of India’s BPM (Business Process Management/Outsourcing) industry. The product is fantastic once you experience it, but, as a Westerner, you probably haven’t got a bloody clue what you are actually buying.

“It’s a bit spicy, sir” was the response, when I asked what the Mysore Masala dosa actually was. At that stage, I just took the plunge, but a little more description of why this food product is very tasty and will meet my desired hunger-fulfillment outcome, would have really helped close that deal.

This scenario isn’t a million miles from the typical experiences of dealing with an Indian-heritage business process service provider....

Coming back from the excellently well-attended and content rich 2015 NASSCOM BPM strategy summit in Bangalore this past week, I find myself feeling conflicted between excitement and frustration for the future of Indian-centric business process management / operations services.

My excitement

Execution is better than ever. India-based process delivery is getting really good. The tiresome client whining about poor execution and failed promises is become fainter than ever, with the vast majority now proudly talking about how smoothly their offshore operations are running. At HfS, we

Read More »

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



Ready to strut your stuff at #NasscomBPM this week?

September 22, 2015 | Phil Fersht

We've been a having a great time helping the Nasscom team pull together this year's BPM Summit agenda and speaker lineup.  And how could you fail with the theme "The Emerging Digital Economy:  Thrive, Survive or Die"?

So get over to Bangalore this Thursday and Friday where you can mingle with the HfS team, a whole plethora of  service provider leaders, advisors and buyer executives, where we will attempt to unravel the mystery, hype, excitement and confusion surrounding the BPM industry. And you can find out just why this picture fits in with the HfS vision for the future of the workplace...

Find out what's making Chandra, Vishal, Tiger and TK strut their stuff in Bangalore this week

Find out what's making Chandra, Vishal, Tiger and TK strut their stuff in Bangalore this week...

Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Homepage



Why Accenture's acquisition of Cloud Sherpas is both an offensive and defensive move

September 20, 2015 | Phil Fersht
Accenture acquires Cloud Sherpas

Accenture buying Cloud Sherpas unveils the value of As-a-Service talent

Accenture has added considerable strength to its already-strong position in Salesforce services with the addition of Cloud Sherpas for an undisclosed amount (press estimates have been $350-$400 Million) coming on the back of previous Salesforce services acquisitions of Tquila and ClientHouse GmbH. In addition, there are added capabilities in ServiceNow and Google, but the lion’s share of the Cloud Sherpas acquisition is in the Salesforce implementation domain, where we see the most medium-term growth opportunity for ambitious As-a-Service providers in the customer centricity solutions arena.

HfS views the success of this acquisition tied to Accenture's capability to integrate its capabilities across operations, consulting and systems integration and to use the core training and certification methodologies of Cloud Sherpas to transform Accenture’s own ability to grow Salesforce consulting, implementation and management talent.

However, if it only focuses on the low-hanging fruit – the systems integration – Accenture will fail to reap the full benefits of the investment, hence it is critical how it integrates the Cloud Sherpas talent across the core Accenture divisions, especially Accenture Operations and consulting. Accenture also needs to follow the mantra that As-a-Service is ultimately about empowering the customer, not the consultant.

In short, we believe this move not only consolidates Accenture’s already-strong position in Salesforce services, but also keeps out competitors from muscling into the space at a critical time, namely Deloitte, Capgemini and IBM.

As-a-Service can provide tremendous growth at scale potential like legacy ERP did, but the skill requirements are different

SaaS platforms like Salesforce and Workday might not be like traditional ERP platforms, but the commonality is still one of scale and skill. The difference is simply the type of skill requirement needed. With traditional ERP, enterprises need constant teams of engineers to mold the platforms to the business needs of the enterprise, whereas, with SaaS, they need teams of process and technical professionals to mold the enterprise to the SaaS standards and processes and make them effective.  This is why we're seeing the global professional services giants eying teams of talented consultants and delivery staff who can do more than merely implement these popular platforms and respond to the customers' demands to have a post go-live partner.

The capability onus shifts firmly from the back office to middle/front offices to unleash future value

Ultimately, the enterprise will need less IT programmers to develop out a SaaS platform, but will increasingly need process experts and transformational minds to help them make maximum benefit from the SaaS functionality. The onus is shifting from back office engineering skills to middle/front office data science, design thinking capabilitles.

The real battleground in As-a-Service is emerging within business functions where there is no ceiling for innovation. With a process like payroll, for example, most enterprises can purchase the services they need to get the job done and provide the data they need to make decisions – they know what good looks like and can get there relatively quickly with the right As-a-Service provider.

Where this ceiling for innovation is limitless, is in processes such as sales and marketing, where the technology platform is the enabler for ambitious firms constantly pivoting to keep ahead of their customer demand and market shifts.  Other functions with a high innovation potential include finance, workforce management and supply chain, where enterprises have a constant need to act

Read More »

Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Cloud ComputingCRM and Marketing



Finally... #Digital is defined and HfS does the defining

September 18, 2015 | Phil Fersht

Digital, digital everywhere and not a definition in sight?

We couldn't take it anymore, so here it is in six layers of naked glory:

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Still confused?  Don't fear, just download our detailed definitional POV right here: 

How HfS Defines Digital

Posted in: Digital HomepageThe As-a-Service Economy



If I was elected Prez...

September 16, 2015 | Phil Fersht

It's not too late to throw my hat in the ring, so I thought I'd test my manifesto with you folks first to see if I have a shot...

I would:

Running for President with policies that will surely nail it

Running for President with policies that will surely nail it

Charge income tax on robots

Make the European tradition of boozing at lunch an acceptable part of American culture

Not be anything like Donald Trump

Appoint Hillary as our Digital Trust Czar

Make all power accessories become "recognizable" by Apple devices, as long as they fit in the hole

Make analysts pass a basic IQ test before their next scatterplot

Make Apple upgrade every hotel radio and gym machine with the right adapter socket

Make sourcing advisors pass a basic IQ test before they, er, do anything

Make service provider executives stop wearing gray suits

Introduce the “Whiner’s Circle” – we’ll run a Blueprint every year on the leading buy side whiners

Not be anything like Donald Trump

Blast the Ashley Madison database and force them all to take an online course in “bots versus humans”

Introduce the “Sinners Circle” of top outsourcing execs caught soliciting robotic women on Ashley…

Appoint Sepp Blatter as Magic Quadrant Ombudsman

Build a wall between Canada and the US to keep out Tim Hortons

Appoint Bernie Sanders as Chairman of NASSCOM

Hire Carly Fiorina to leverage her experience of singlehandedly dismantling a well organized international organization… to take down ISIS

Roll out an RPA strategy for Congress. Robotic Political Automation

Not be anything like Donald Trump

Fine anyone who talks about Digital who fails to explain what it actually is first

Make Donald Trump build a very large wall around his house…

So there you have it, now to do I have your support?


Posted in: Absolutely Meaningless Comedy



Long live the freemium analyst model...

September 14, 2015 | Phil Fersht

The main man who tracks the influencers, Duncan Chapple, gives us a little sneak preview into how this year's Analyst Value Survey is chugging along, with several hundred research buyers already sharing their views:

Click to access article

Click to access article

If you haven't yet had your chance to share your opinions of which analysts are doing (or not doing ) it for you, do spend a few minutes completing the 2015/16 Kea Company Analyst Value Survey by clicking here.

Duncan Chapple is leads Kea Group's Influencer Relations Practice (Click for Bio)

Duncan Chapple leads Kea Company's Influencer Relations Practice (Click for Bio)

It seems the "freemium" model we've adopted at HfS over the last six years is really having an impact. It's our view that top insights shouldn't be stuffed behind a firewall. Clients will pay for premium data, indepth analyst strategy session and in-depth competitive landscape reports, but when it comes to insights, viewpoints, or just some plain old entertainment, why hide it?

Freemium isn't disruptive, it's the way forward for an analyst industry, much of which refuses to break out of its stale model.  If people stop reading research and genuine insights, we might as well all pack up and go home now, so let's promote what we do, not hide it.

Having a prolific analyst team beat the As-a-Service drum every day is the real reason for our continual impact - they keep the views fresh, varied and unvarnished, while maintaining that personal touch, which is what we're all about at HfS.

Thanks for those who have voted for us (so far), we really appreciate your support and feedback.  If you would like to share your views on what you would like to see more (or less) from us, do email us here.

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



Weekend Rant: Let's cut this bullsh*t and have meaningful conversations again (please)

September 12, 2015 | Phil Fersht

Skeptical? You should be...

Admit it, people, you're all being subjected to presentations from many service providers and advisors that have become so confusing you're actually too embarrassed to say: "I really haven't got a clue what you are trying to pitch me here".

In many cases, you suspect the suit presenting it to you probably doesn't have much of a clue either, so you just zone out and permit him to portray painfully his pre-scripted, professionally puffed-up, potpourri of PowerPoint.

I don't believe I've ever witnessed a time our services "industry" has descended into such a mind-numbing pattern of meaningless marketing hype and unintelligible bullsh*t.  It was bad enough when everyone was painting pretty pictures of "transformation" to sugar-frost labor arbitrage deals, but at least we could understand the bullsh*t and detect its scent a mile away.

Today, we've fallen even deeper into a trough of verbose desperation, as most service providers and advisors replicate each others' sales decks to reel off an increasingly inane plethora of confused rubbish, that is transcending further and further away from reality. In most cases, this is much worse than mere sales hype, it is hype and confusion squished together in such a confused steaming mess, it leaves most of us speechless to even question it. How can you ask sensible questions, when you just don't really understand what you're being presented?

When we questioned the understanding of today's technology enablers with 178 experienced service buyers, the results are quite alarming - and telling:

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Despite being the most hyped technology to hit the services market in the last three years, only 50% of service buyers actually understand what Robotic Process Automation is? And only a third grasp what cognitive computing platforms are? How many more millions need to be spent on these newfangled cognitive/autonomic platforms until the people who are their prospective customers

Read More »

Posted in: 2015 As-a-Service StudyBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO)Confusing Outsourcing Information



Cognizant, Accenture, EXL, Concentrix, HGS and HP are the top healthcare payer performers

September 10, 2015 | Phil Fersht

We made the conscious decision to invest in researching the healthcare and life sciences industries when we founded HfS, and one of those investments was to hire Barbra McGann to define the space, really sift through the core processes, issues and political dynamics to form a concise picture of who is genuinely innovating, who is effectively executing and aligning their capabilities to solving (and finding) problems for stressed healthcare clients.

To this end, we're proud to release our third healthcare-related flagship industry analysis: HfS Blueprint Report: Healthcare Payer Operations 2015, authored by Barbra McGann.

The Blueprint goes in-depth as the market transitions to As-a-Service, with a focus on the consumer/member/patient, and more flexible solutions. Barbra looks at the increasing use and integration of automation, analytics, and other digital technologies into offerings; examines the changes in demand for talent; and investigates the increasing need for more collaborative and value-based engagements.

So, we thought, who better than Barbra to tell us about it?


Click to Enlarge

Barbra, with all the market perspective published on healthcare today, what is unique about the HfS Healthcare Payer Operations Blueprint?

Phil, the only place that seems to be cutting back on reading material is the waiting room at the doctor’s office. (Am I the only one who misses Highlights?) Of course, that is just one change in the midst of many for waiting rooms, really, as technology and regulation are both expanding the opportunity for mobile health care. All that aside, healthcare organizations, service buyers and providers who are looking for a different perspective on trends and opportunities for increasing the value of sourcing in Health Care, here it is.

Many of the larger healthcare organizations have achieved the maximum potential benefits from legacy BPO by this point. In our recent “Ideals of the As-a-Service Economy” research, just about three out of four participants (72%) from this industry indicated that there was “no value left” in

Read More »

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



Glenn gives us Government-as-a-Service (GaaS)

September 08, 2015 | Phil Fersht
Glenn and Carol Davidson, the braintrusts of public sector operations

Glenn and Carol Davidson, the braintrust of public sector operations (Click to access our new Government-as-a-Service report)

Mention the words "outsourcing" and "public sector" in the same sentence and there is only one true lord and master of this realm. The one person who's genuinely devote his career to advising this industry... from British Telecom's ePeopleserve to Accenture, to founding and leading Equaterra Public Sector to its eventual acquisition by KPMG, and finally back to Accenture's Federal Services for one final hurrah to drag public sector operations out of the dark ages.  Meet Glenn Davidson, the man bringing a new type of GaaS to the services industry:  Government-as-a-Service.

The public sector – that oft overlooked and much-maligned part of our world that we can't live without – is squarely in our focus in the wake of our new research report "Government-As-a-Service: How the “Eight Ideals of As-a-Service” Help Federal Agencies Find New Value." The report sheds light on the impact of new technologies and operating models on business operations, and how this is impacting US Federal Agencies.  So we thought we'd catch up with Glenn to get the lowdown on why As-a-Service could get a real game-changer for public sector bodies seeking to escape from legacy technologies, obsolete processes and manually-intensive tasks that slow everything down and drive up our taxes...

Phil Fersht, CEO HfS Research: Glenn, I think we've known each other for, I don't know, about 12, 13 years now. I remember your career in services starting way before mine even in the early days of BPO … when Accenture created its e-peopleserve partnership with British Telecom in HRO. During your career, you’ve been a buyer of services, a provider, and, prior to re-joining Accenture, an advisor to those in the public sector thinking about their service delivery options. What strikes you as the most significant change in this industry today?

Glenn Davidson, Managing Director at Accenture Federal Services

Glenn Davidson, Managing Director at Accenture Federal Services

Glenn Davidson, Managing Director, Accenture Federal Services: The most significant industry change to me is the “As-a-Service” concept – the idea that we can provide the technology and the services to our clients on a transaction basis. Organizations no longer have to make massive upfront capital outlays for applications’ licenses, implementations, or ongoing operations and maintenance. They don’t have to hire more people to handle related transactions. They merely have to specify outcomes – what they want – and have providers deliver the services via the Cloud.

Phil: So when we look at what's going on in the public sector, to what extent is As-a-Service having an impact? Is it creating as significant a disruption as it is in the commercial sector?

Glenn: Phil, as you know, the US public sector is not a monolithic industry vertical. It’s made up of multiple sub-sectors – NGOs, multi-laterals, and governmental organizations at all levels.

Because many state governments have balanced budget requirements, they were among the first public sector entities to adopt alternative service delivery and sourcing models. Declining revenues bring a commensurate reduction in ongoing operating costs or increase in taxes or

Read More »

Posted in: 2015 As-a-Service StudyBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO)Buyers' Sourcing Best Practices



How Robotic Process Automation has become a right dog's breakfast

September 03, 2015 | Phil Fersht

Dogs Breakfast RPAOver the course of this year, practically every conversation we've been having about IT and BPO has culminated in the impact robotic automation will have on service providers, third-party advisors, RPA software vendors and the poor unsuspecting enterprise clients, all seemingly unprepared for the tsunami of impending disruption caused by this suddenly-discovered ability to mimic human behaviour in software scripts.

Sadly, most of these conversations are fraught with misconceptions about what RPA can - and should - deliver to the enterprise and real misunderstandings about the speed to benefit realization.  Yes indeed, the whole services industry has gone careening up hype creek, powered by advisor and provider-infused methane.  So let's enter the kitchen of HfS' Charles Sutherland, who will unravel the not-so-secret recipe of today's RPA dogs' breakfast...

RPA - why 9 out of 10 enterprises haven't really got a bloody clue

In a recent survey of 178 enterprise buyers, only 11% of respondents said that they have extensive or even some real-life hands-on experience with RPA to-date.   That means that 89% of respondents have not really experienced RPA hands-on but were instead getting their insights on its capabilities via indirect messaging.  Much of this messaging on RPA has sensationalized the benefits (scope and speed) of this technology and, in the view of HfS, created a misrepresentation of the art of the possible today. So how did we as a market get to this point of serving up this Dog’s Breakfast of RPA?

Recipe For Making A Dog’s Breakfast Out of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

  1. We began with one initial but tasty ingredient of a technology suite that uses software “bots” to replicate rules based human facilitated transactions.
  2. We introduced a portion of confusion as to whether the real application of RPA is for roles that are 100% replacement (e.g. all day data entry) or whether RPA is more likely to be applied in roles that are only partial substitutable with technology and when doing this make sure that the attributed benefits from application to the former are broadly applied to the later even when that can never be.
  3. Then a few cooks forgot to mix in the required portion of change management and internal communications as to how RPA will impact talent in the enterprise (and any service provider) and what their futures will look like post RPA.
  4. They then used less than the required amount of skilled talent who actually understand both the technologies and the processes against which they should best be applied.
  5. We also allowed any software vendor with even a passing association to automation to join the cooking team and add their own specific flavoring to the recipe.
  6. Then the market stirred up the resulting mixture with unclear messaging as to whether RPA is an end-state of technology or whether it is the means to an end of finding the cost savings to fund a future (and pending) transformation of the business process and its supporting technology into a natively digital end-to-end environment.
  7. Now as the recipe begins to become less recognizable than what you started with, just for good measure we have seasoned in hints of cognitive computing and artificial intelligence as further ingredients.
  8. Then we baked this mixture at a high heat with much hype into commercial discussions between enterprise clients, their third party advisors, consultants and BPO service providers until it takes a hot bubbling form.
  9. Finally, when ready to prove and serve to the enterprise service buyer, the market forgets to turn on a helpful light of real case studies from other enterprises that have sampled this before and instead pour the resulting breakfast dish into pilot or proof of concept sized bowls that don’t show it all in its tastiest form.

Read More »

Posted in: Absolutely Meaningless ComedyBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO)Buyers' Sourcing Best Practices