Monthly Archives: Jun 2021

Dig in with Dr. Truong Gia Binh – How Vietnamese IT services powerhouse FPT is vying to be a global transformation challenger

June 26, 2021 | Phil FershtSarah LittleShantanu Tewari

The scramble for talent and resources triggered by the virtual environment has thrown the world of global sourcing on its head.  Our new HFS Pulse study covering 800 Global 2000 Enterprises clearly shows us enterprise leaders are evaluating all options (offshore, nearshore, onshore, WFH, crowdsourcing).  Simply put, the need for tech talent and niche specialization is at an all-time high and we need more options available than merely the traditional vehicles:

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Dr. Truong Gia Binh, Chairman of FPT Corporation, has a vision to bring Vietnamese capabilities to serve the world and make Vietnam one of its premier AI hubs. FPT has charted its roadmap to enter the Global Top 50 digital transformation provider list in the coming decade – the key drivers to this being FPT’s experience across multiple sectors, its focus on emerging technologies, a whopping 76% demand for digital transformation within Vietnam as a result of COVID-19, and a young population that excels with numbers. FPT formally launched its transformation consulting practice FPT Digital in February and raised its overseas transformation revenue targets by 50% for 2021.

Here are 5 key highlights about FPT you need to know: 

  1. FPT’s desire to be at the top of the game
    In the initial years, FPT started off by democratizing Office Computer Skills across all backbone sectors of Vietnam. FPT’s global presence now covers 26 countries around the world, with the goal of becoming one of the Global Top 50 digital transformation providers within the next ten years.
  2. Vietnam: An Aspiring Digital Nation
    Vietnam is a young nation, and FPT desires to make Vietnam an AI hub of the world and bring Vietnamese quantitative capabilities to the world through implementations of Digital Transformation. Through encouraging support of the government, he is hopeful that the digital economy will contribute to 30% of the overall in the next 10 years.
  3. COVID-19 as a catalyst for digital transformation
    Vietnam has been highly resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic, and technology has played a key role. Vietnam’s Government adopted innovative digital tools for contact tracing and disseminating information.
    To respond to the COVID challenge, FPT transformed internally and changed the approach towards customer delivery. They became a comprehensive digital transformation partner of various industry leaders, enhanced their consulting capabilities through acquisitions, and set up new delivery centers in 2020 to expedite the new approach.
  4. Emerging Technologies and Made-in-Vietnam Software
    FPT plans to bring its synergy of methodology and industry experience to the world. In the first 3 industrial revolutions, Dr. Binh notes they were busy fighting for survival whereas today, as the world embraces Industry 4.0, Vietnam has the opportunity to join the race from the same starting point – just as any leading country in the world. A lot of enterprises in Vietnam do not have legacy technology and are hence making a start directly in digital.
  5. The Rise of Digital Platforms
    The world post-COVID-19 will look very different, and Dr. Binh believes a platform economy is on the rise. Most business leaders in Vietnam have planned for digital transformation, which is an indicator of huge market potential for FPT and digital platforms such as FPT.AI.

To go deeper, we invite you to dive into the full details of the discussion between FPT's Chairman, Dr. Truong Gia Binh, and Phil Fersht:

Dr. Truong Gia Binh, Chairman FPT Corporation

FPT’s desire to be at the top of the game

Phil Fersht, CEO and Chief Analyst, HFS Research: Dr Binh, tell us a more about yourself and how you came to be Chairman of Vietnam’s premier IT service provider?  Was this what you had always planned when you were starting out with your career?

Dr Trương Gia Bình, Chairman, FPT Corporation: Starting a business was not in my initial plan, Phil. In the late 1970s, the wars left Vietnam as one of the poorest countries in the world, with GDP per capita less than $100. Food was not sufficient to feed the population.

As a research fellow in Russia at the time, I noticed that Vietnamese people were often looked down upon. So I gave up pursuing my research career and joined 12 fellow scientists to found

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Posted in: Digital TransformationIT Outsourcing / IT ServicesDigital OneOffice

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Sitel buys SYKES. Now a CX juggernaut triumvirate emerges with Teleperformance and Concentrix

June 22, 2021 | Phil FershtMelissa O'Brien

It’s been a couple of years since we’ve seen any major consolidation in the contact center BPO top ten providers with Concentrix acquiring Convergys, but last week Sitel made it clear that large contact center acquisitions are still in vogue by announcing its intention to buy peer SYKES.  

As for the $2.2b price tag, Sitel now expects to generate $4b in revenues from the combined entity.  The combined revenues will be biting at the heels of their next-largest competitor, Concentrix, which is second only in revenue and scale to contact center BPO giant Teleperformance. In 2020 SYKES revenues grew 6%, whereas Sitel’s grew 18%.  With this acquisition, Sitel jumps ahead of the now 4th largest competitor, TTEC:

WFH leadership is the significant boost behind SYKES’ appeal

SYKES has arguably been the work-from-home (WFH) contact center leader since pre-pandemic days, with the foundation of its 2012 Alpine Access pure-play home-based contact center acquisition.  Since, SYKES has further developed this core capability into a very sophisticated recruiting, onboarding, training and collaboration platform – fully virtual.  The long-standing WFH expertise and the capability of its OneTEAM platform enabled a successful shift to remote in early 2020 and continues to be one of SYKES’ major differentiators. 

With 40% of staff expected to be working from home across Global 2000 organizations over the next year (see below), having the broadest geographic experience and depth will surely align the merged entity with the strategic resourcing desires of many leading customers.  If Newco leads with WFH, customers will surely entrust more with them.

 

In addition to the WFH and tech capabilities, SYKES offers an attractive and complementary geographic footprint, including a European multilingual hub with delivery out of Egypt.

SYKES brings the only scaled-up global automation services capability that could position Newco at the heart of OneOffice

Its other key capability, which we touted as the first real automation investment by a contact center in 2018 is the RPA strategy and implementation capability of Symphony ventures.  While the Symphony resources have largely been held together by SYKES, the firm declined to embrace automation into its core value proposition and failed to excite the market by rebranding this unique capability as the bland “SYKES Digital Services” last year.  If Sitel can embrace automation to drive front-to-back processes and a OneOffice mindset for its clients, it’s not too late to revitalize the former Symphony team to create a genuine edge for itself in the market.

In a OneOffice organization (see Exhibit 4), automation becomes a native competency, where human performance is augmented by unleashing creativity and personal interaction, where the immediacy of data creates insights to support decision-making that can make or break the firm. The only true way to create a OneOffice experience is to be able to integrate the front office processes and interactive technologies (most of which are embedded in the call center) with the operations of the organization:

OneOffice is where teams function autonomously across front, middle and back-office functions to promote broader processes with real-time data flows that support rapid decision making. It’s where front, middle and back offices will cease to exist, as they will be, simply, OneOffice.  Sitel+SYKES has a unique opportunity to consult to enterprises to make these front-to-back connections and weaves these capabilities into their managed services offerings.  The merged entity can offer real expertise to provide automated processes as-a-service and help their clients through the journey.

Bottom line:  While scaling up to compete with Teleperformance and Concentrix is clearly the game-plan, Sitel/SYKES needs to focus on the value of the parts and integrate at speed

Sitel is virtually unrecognizable from the firm it was six years ago.  A debt restructuring plan following its sale to French conglomerate Groupe Acticall was completed in 2018, opening up the firm to footprint expansion, digital investments, and a major rebrand which unified the company and all of its complementary assets.   Sitel has recently made major investments in growth. Its design thinking and discipline organically, including hiring design experts and developing its MaxHub and EXP + model. 

This latest major announcement sets in stone the firm’s intentions to be a leader in this global, remote, and increasingly digital contact center market. Now speed is of the essence to integrate the two firms, and we can expect an aggressive competitive response to this.  Sitel and Concentrix were widely rumored to have come close to a merger, and neither top two firms will stand still and take this new competitive threat lightly.  There are several mid-tier CX providers which will struggle to maintain growth in the coming short-medium term, and we will be surprised if we do not see some more large-scale CX services mergers over the next 6-12 months.

Posted in: Digital OneOfficeCustomer Experience ManagementIntelligent Automation

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Unleashing cultural innovation is dictating the emerging work environment

June 19, 2021 | Melissa O'BrienPhil Fersht

Not only is a clearer picture of the “future of work” emerging in today's new reality, but its very nature is also changing day-by-day. In short, no one can paint an accurate picture of what the emerging work environment will eventually look like, but we can develop scenarios to understand how this will play out in the coming months and years.  What is clear is enterprises are grappling with the need to drive unprecedented innovation in a work-from-home culture, and are figuring out how to arrive at a more predictable, acceptable, and effective work culture as we look beyond this pandemic era. Developing a work-from-home capability is the table-stake to survive in today's environment, but innovation will only thrive in a hybrid work environment where people can inspire and motivate each other.

There is only so much you can achieve remotely – the smart way forward is a hybrid work model

We've talked to hundreds of executives over the past year, and they all complain about the same thing - they are managing an almost unmanageable amount of internal meetings over video calls, simply to keep the wheels on basic task management and accountability.  Simply put, it's becoming increasingly complex and awkward to run business operations in a remote model where training is a huge challenge, where motivating people is almost impossible, where getting beyond the basics of keeping activities functioning is a huge challenge.  Communicating, collaborating, idea-sharing, white-boarding, etc are critical for taking businesses forwards and driving real innovation.  They are also critical for helping employees become comfortable with change, to be comfortable with automating mundane elements of their jobs, and to become adept at embracing ways of accessing the data needed to exploit market opportunities. 

With industry lines blurring, supply chains fragmenting and new opportunities and challenges springing up at a breathtaking pace, the time to bring people back together is fast-arriving, and so many enterprise leaders are now seeing this in spades.

Embedding digital fluency into your workforce is paramount to drive a truly cloud-enabled business architecture

The clearest barometer that shows the major changes facing Global 2000 enterprises over the next 12-18 months are the clear priorities to develop “Digitally Fluent” workforces to be best equipped to function effectively in the cloud. 

Digital Fluency describes the ability to drive the seamless interplay between business and technology:

  • Ability to translate the understanding of digital tools to create new ways to serve customers’ needs and drive value;
  • Ability to consider how digital technology will impact every aspect, every functional area of the organization;
  • Ability to examine the organization’s business model, strategy, and operations in the context of digital technology.

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While the magic number from the new HFS Pulse study of 800 Global 2000 indicates that 60% of staff will return to the office over the next year, we must recognize that this is not a static

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Posted in: Digital OneOfficeGlobal Workforce and Talent

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Time for some Sharma Karma

June 14, 2021 | Phil FershtSarah LittleRam Rajagopalan

Talking to Manish Sharma is like going through a karma carwash – you feel pretty fresh and sparkly at the end. But don't take the effervescence lightly – Manish has cultivated his career at Accenture over three decades, now leading "the largest operations business on the planet." I had the opportunity to catch up with Manish during HFS' OneOffice Symposium, in addition to a behind-the-scenes catch-up call. He uses words without embellishment, so when he speaks of dramatic mindset shifts, super compressed transformations, and the multiplier impact, you know this era has been a stunning one. 

Both Rohan Kulkarni and Sarah Little captured key highlights from our Symposium "Digi-side" chat (think "greatest influencers" and alignment with the OneOffice mindset).

You can create your own karmic take-aways from the closed-door call below: 

Phil Fersht, CEO and Chief Analyst, HFS Research: Good afternoon Manish. It is great to see you again. You’ve been traveling for some time, right? Great to have you on here. For some of the folks not so familiar with you personally, maybe you could just give us a little bit about you and your background, and how you came to be in your current role. Did you always want to be leading a multi-billion dollar P&L within Accenture? Or did you have other plans when you were starting out?

Manish Sharma, Group CEO of Accenture Operations: First of all, Phil, it’s always good to chat with you, and catch up about the industry trends. In terms of my own journey, I have been with the firm now for 27 years. When I joined, it was a small consulting office in Mumbai. That is where I joined, and my background, funnily enough, is an engineering background, and never in my life, in my early years, did I ever think that I will be in an operations business or a BPO business. My dream was to design the best ever machine tool, whether it is the boring machine tool, or for cutting, or any other stuff, but that was my original plan, with my background. I joined because, at that time, it was Arthur Andersen in 1995, and I joined for setting up a manufacturing excellence practice in India, including supply chain, and everything else. That is where I spent all my years on, and I was always. I lived in Mumbai.

After a few years, when the outsourcing started, we got our first few clients, and I was told that “Can you help with one of the clients for few weeks?” I said, “Okay,” and I did my Monday to Friday from Mumbai to Bangalore, as we were setting up our business. Now, that two or three weeks, or two or three months, has got converted into virtually a decade, two decades out there. Right? That is the funny part of it. I have always enjoyed my journey in this. ’95 to 2002 consulting, 2002 onwards in this business, right from the formative years.

 

"It is exciting to lead the largest operations business on the planet. Right?"

It is exciting to lead the largest operations business on the planet. Right? When I think of it, what inspires me is our people. I think the best thing for me has been that I have seen people who joined us, when they came in, in early 2000, and now they are having families, and great infrastructure where they live in, great careers, growth of their people. It has been fascinating to just see the people grow, along with our client portfolio.

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Posted in: Digital TransformationDigital OneOffice

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Are you ready for the HFS OneOffice Digital Symposium?

June 05, 2021 | Phil FershtNischala Murthy Kaushik
Click to Register and make a voluntary donation to India's Covid-19 fight

The countdown has officially begun for the first HFS One Office Digital Symposium on June 8 and 9. This is an exclusive digital symposium for industry leaders in business and technology to gain access to the most expansive global community of pioneers, practitioners and peers.

HFS CMO Nischala Murthy Kaushik spoke with me to learn more about the complete story around the symposium...

Nischala : Firstly, Thanks for your time Phil. We are a few days away from the HFS One Office Digital Symposium. How are you feeling about it?

Phil : I am excited about hosting the HFS One Office digital symposium. As a company, our events are well known and popular in the industry as we bring together executive leaders for thought-provoking discussions and unfiltered dialogues – in the unique and exquisite HFS signature style.

However, the reality is that we are far from doing live events yet! And so, as a company, we felt it was a good point in time to host our first digital symposium. I am personally excited about the amazing speaker line-up of 70+ speakers from across the world, the topically relevant agenda we have curated, the sponsorship support we received from our clients, and also the phenomenal response from the industry in terms of registrations.

When I last checked, we had more than 800 sign-ups and are still counting and expect to surpass 1000 before registration close on Monday! And the interesting insight is that we have registrations from across all industries, geographies, roles and functions. The best part is that doing a digital symposium presents us the opportunity to connect and engage with a wider section of the global industry and ecosystem; it’s almost ~4X the numbers we typically host in our live events!

Nischala: That’s wonderful to hear Phil. And I am sure there is excitement in the air at HFS around the upcoming HFS OneOffice Digital Symposium. I also know that you have committed to use the proceeds from the HFS One Office Digital Symposium towards the COVID-19 relief response work in India. Can you please share more about it?

Phil: Yes, Nischala, a lot of our business and clients are based in India - it is the heartbeat of the global services industry. Over the past few weeks, we have seen and heard of the ground reality of the situation in India. And we made an executive decision to make immediate donations from the Symposium proceeds for the collective fight against the pandemic in India.

These are the organizations we are supporting – please join us in doing so today in lieu of registration fee: Give IndiaUnited WaySewa International, and Kinaara.

I am incredibly happy that the funds we have given are making a real difference on the ground. A facility for pregnant women with COVID-19 needed $7,000 to open.  We just made that happen. We also funded a 200-bedded hospital in a small town in Tamil Nadu and have just helped a maternity center become operational for women with Covid-19. So it truly gratifying to see the realization of our passion for a purpose to make a real difference.

In addition, HFS commits that the symposium proceeds will also be used to support causes we believe in – especially the importance of accessible college education for all racial minorities..

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Posted in: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)Digital TransformationGlobal Business Services

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