Phil Fersht
 
CEO and Chief Analyst 
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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.

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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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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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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Accenture, Infosys, KPMG, EY and DXC top the 2021 ServiceNow services rankings
May 30, 2021 | Phil FershtTom ReunerMartin Gabriel

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One platform which has scaled new heights over the past year, geared to orchestrating processes in the cloud, is ServiceNow.  One area that is becoming increasingly critical for these platforms is driving up the excitement of the leading - and emerging - services providers to train their staff to deploy, develop and help manage the solutions.  Hence, it is no coincidence that we're seeing SNOW rise in prominence with the service providers with ex-SAP chief Bill McDermott at the helm. 

HFS' IT services leader, Dr Tom Reuner, supported by analyst Martin Gabriel, have spent the past few months talking with an exhaustive quota of end-customers of ServiceNow, in addition to drilling into HFS' customer perception surveys, to draw up the definitive Top Ten guide to

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The big digital flip: 60% of staff going back to the office
May 23, 2021 | Phil Fersht

What a difference six more months of staring into the digital abyss has made

When we interviewed leadership from 400 Global 2000 enterprises at the end of last year only 37% saw them returning to an in-office environment.  Our very latest HFS Pulse study, covering 800 Global 2000 enterprises, clearly shows a marked shift towards sending staff back to the office, with a 60% ratio of staff expected to be office-based over the next year:

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We're entering a hybrid reality, where digital and physical work cultures are blended

The digital exuberance of 2020, where declarations from many leading enterprises - the likes of Unilever, Hitachi, Mastercard, Google and Amazon - that they had become "work-from-anywhere enterprises" is clearly losing steam as so many enterprises have struggled to maintain a motivating, dynamic culture. Employees - from leadership down to interns - are burned out with the sheer monotony of a 100% digital environment and the inability to whiteboard ideas, share ideas, collaborate on process design and embrace emerging tech.  This is especially the case with Gen-Z and Millennial staff who are desperate to get back to an office environment.  In fact, many are choosing to work for firms that are embracing an in-office culture - something we have already seen happening aggressively in the call center environment (download POV here).

Bottom-line:  We're seeing a significant "digital-flip" towards an in-office model

We can't deny the experience of the last year has driven a genuine need to configure business operating models to function in a remote virtual environment, as most businesses simply can no longer limp along with on-premise systems, fragmented processes, and an inability to operate in the cloud.  However, as we evolve towards a new reality where we can really visualize a physical future for businesses, it's also become clear that businesses are struggling to function entirely in the cloud and depend more than ever on a people-driven culture.  Why is this?

Businesses thrive on people and technology empowers us, not dictates how we work.  While many businesses struggled - or failed completely - during the pandemic, many have thrived as costs have been decimated and a return to growth has created so many new markets to exploit and customer demand to satisfy.  This has also created a highly fluid job market, where people can get hired rapidly over Zoom and staff can dictate where they want to work.  Companies with strong, dynamic leaders who inspire staff to learn new things, collaborate together, and focus on purposes beyond mere profit and efficiency are fast becoming venues where ambitious staff want to apply themselves.  While much can be achieved in a pure remote model, it's simply not sustainable for a healthy, energizing work environment in the medium-long term.  Running data and processes in the cloud is critical to keep companies operating effectively, but those are merely the baseline table-stakes to survive in this new hybrid reality.  Technology is critical to provide the infrastructure to exist, but it doesn't dictate the business model... people do.

There is only so much you can achieve remotely.  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.

Holy Moly... It's Rajan Kohli!
May 13, 2021 | Phil FershtSarah LittleShantanu Tewari

Rajan Kohli is now President, Wipro's Integrated Digital, Engineering and Application Services (iDEAS)

Rajan Kohli is quite possibly one of the coolest and calmest global leaders in today's services industry, at a time when the speed and the pace of change bounce between hot and scalding. Are things moving as fast as clients want? And what about the internal pace of change? Wipro has recently completed both a major restructuring under new CEO Thierry Delaporte and the eye-catching acquisition of Capco in the past few weeks, so how are they really pulling it together to deliver the value clients so urgently seek?

Rajan now leads Wipro iDEAS (Integrated Digital, Engineering and Application Services), one of the firm's two new global business lines, so I spent some time with him to wade into those waters.... after his daily run through Central Park. Here's a peek into the conversation...

Phil Fersht, CEO and Chief Analyst, HFS Research: It is great to have you back on here again Rajan. I think we last spoke on HFS about three or four years ago, so quite a lot has happened since then with you, your career, and with Wipro. For the benefit of everyone here, maybe you could just give us a rundown on yourself again, and where you have evolved from, to the position that you are in today. Then we can talk a bit more about how you are hoping to take things forward in the new setup at Wipro.

Rajan Kohli, President and Managing Partner, Wipro iDEAS (Integrated Digital, Engineering, and Application Services Business Line): Absolutely. The pleasure is all mine, Phil. I think, when we last spoke, I had just taken over as the leader of Wipro Digital, and Wipro was making a big bet on digital in that space. Prior to that role, I was head of banking and financial services, and before that, I had been the Chief Marketing Officer at Wipro. But most of my time had been in leadership roles in our financial services business. We set up Wipro Digital in 2014, and I’d been leading Wipro Digital until a quarter back.

If you remember, Phil, our initial hypothesis was that in Wipro Digital we’ll develop capabilities that are differentiating, capabilities that don’t currently sit in any part of Wipro, and then, over a period, we’ll move other parts of Wipro under Wipro Digital so that we can do an end-to-end digital proposition for our clients. And that is the journey we were on.

 

“Through the massive restructure that Wipro had… we added the digital experience parts of Wipro’s business into Wipro Digital, then we added application modernization. With this latest reorganization, Wipro has now added all of engineering, all of applications, all of data also under this new group called iDEAS.”

 

Earlier this year, through the massive restructure that Wipro had, we have continued that journey forward. Initially, we added the digital experience parts of Wipro’s business into Wipro Digital, then we added application modernization. With this latest reorganization, Wipro has now added all of engineering, all of applications, all of data also under this new group called iDEAS.

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HFS adds more beans to fuel healthcare research - meet Rohan Kulkarni
May 09, 2021 | Phil FershtRohan Kulkarni

Rohan Kulkarni is Research Vice President, Healthcare, at HFS

We're firmly on our path to view the world through industry lenses at HFS research, as we see value chains across sectors merge, and the needs to be hyper-connected changing before our eyes - with suppliers, customers, partners, governments, etc grouping into new value ecosystems as the world finds its feet post-pandemic.

Who could have predicted the reinvention and emergence of food services as a whole new industry, such as the complete digitization of banking and retail, the shift in insurance to becoming a sales/marketing-driven industry, and the reemergence of the travel industry in this pandemic and post-pandemic eta?  But perhaps there have been no more fundamental changes to an industry value chain than what has transpired - and continues to evolve - in healthcare.  The need for rapid, quality patient data, economic data, cloud migration, and supply-chain reinvention has never been so critical to driving government, enterprise, and individual decision-making in the world of health, life sciences, and pharmaceutical production.  

Without further ado, let's delve into the views, ideas, and plans being driven by our latest analyst addition, Rohan Kulkarni, fresh from his accolades as a master of perfect pints...

Phil Fersht, Founder, CEO and Chief Analyst, HFS.  Before we get to all the work stuff, Rohan, can you share a little bit about yourself….your background, what gets you up in the morning?

Rohan Kulkarni, Research VP Healthcare, HFS.  The opportunity to participate in the healthcare ecosystem is personal to me. Recognizing that US healthcare is sub-optimal across the key dimensions of cost, health outcomes, and experiences will impact me and most of us in the most personal ways as we grow older requires us to lean in and help make it better. I want to influence drivers that could make the care construct better in some meaningful manner.

I have been in the industry, getting on a decade and a half, leading strategy at multiple fortune 500 companies, being a product management executive & CIO at 2 different health plans while having consulted across the ecosystem. These opportunities have highlighted that the health & healthcare industry is unique in its ability to only get better in a participatory fashion. It's not just a doctor and patient equation, but rather needs all of us to do our part to stay healthy, be good patients when sick and when we get better, to stay that way. Its ongoing work for all of us all the time.

Phil - You've had a diverse career spanning several roles aligned to the healthcare industry... can you share some of your experiences over the years... what would you do all over again, and what would you definitely avoid?

Rohan - Yes, Phil, I have been lucky to traverse this path through the healthcare ecosystem as a journeyman. I am amazed at the paradoxes in the industry; on one end, the amount of money that is in the system is mind-boggling and sufficient to solve all our healthcare challenges with plenty leftover, yet on the other hand, it represents the only industrialized nation without universal health insurance. This pandemic has exposed the level of empathy the industry has, particularly the nurses and doctors whose altruism knows no bounds, yet our society today is challenged with misinformation and trust impacting care & its delivery. My point is that the healthcare industry is meant to solve a polymathic problem and we are still scratching the surface in so many ways despite all the advances.

As I indicated earlier, I have been privileged to journey through the ecosystem, meeting some wonderful people, accomplishing things that made me proud, contributing to helping reduce costs & optimize resources, and most importantly finding platforms to drive awareness to draw in more people to participate in the improvement of the ecosystem.

Phil - How critical is the role of services and technology in the healthcare industry during this time - has it changed significantly?

Rohan - I think technology and its enablement through services as we know it has been a cornerstone of healthcare’s evolution for the better part of 2 decades. As the population grows, particularly the seniors, and the prevalence of chronic conditions worsens without any evidence to suggest a radical change in behaviors, I would say that the role of technology and services in healthcare is critical, perhaps only next to what clinicians can do.

Yes, I think it has changed significantly from how data is captured and analyzed and used in diagnosis and care protocols, how it can keep patients connected to clinicians for real-time interventions, how fast we can develop vaccines, and much more. The speed from identification to solution to post solution maintenance, in my view, has been the hallmark of the last decades' extreme technology focus on healthcare.

Phil - What role do you see analysts playing as we emerge from this pandemic? Same old game, or is something new brewing? How do you intend to cover the healthcare sector?

Rohan - Health & healthcare’s success, in my view, is defined by the quality of life attributes, which will require democratization of the ecosystem and the broad participation of everyone. A key focus of that is driving awareness and engagement to help people, communities, enterprises, and governments appreciate different perspectives. To be able to bring various stakeholders together, drive robust debates and influence good sustainable solutions. I think this next chapter for analysts will differentiate between the good ones who will challenge the status quo and raise the bar, collaborate and influence industry solutions and those that will be critics.

My approach is going to include a few dimensions;

  • coverage expansion to include the entire ecosystem beyond the health plans and life science that we currently cover to healthcare providers;
  • a focus on digital health through the intersection of Healthcare & Triple-A Trifecta change agents – AI, automation, and smart analytics as well as mobility and virtualization
  • Healthcare is a polymathic problem and will require a polymathic solution; as such, I will cover healthcare’s intersections with climate change, societal changes, the food we eat, the impact of the way we work (e.g., OneOffice), and more that impact the social determinants of health.

While I do have faith in my fellow humans, I do suspect that at some point here shortly, the pandemic will be history, albeit a painful one for many. It will likely get people to go back to their old habits with perhaps a few non-material changes to their lives. As such, it is critical to driving awareness in more meaningful, personal, and even in your face ways so that together we can chart a better path forward.

Phil - What do you think we'll be talking about in healthcare when we gradually revert to a world beyond our screens?  Will we get a resurgence of energy and excitement, or will we crawl out of our caves blinded by the sunlight?

Rohan - I think that depends on where in the world you are. In the US, we were already down the path of being virtual in healthcare, and the pandemic certainly accelerated it. I suspect that momentum will continue where physical interventions are not necessary, such as primary care, nonsurgical specialist visits, etc. I believe after the initial surge of visits to the dentist, ophthalmologist, gynecologist, etc., human behavior will likely reverse to the mean, to return to most pre-pandemic behaviors. Now given the fact that we are unlikely to be at herd immunity any time soon and will likely need a booster vaccine come fall, I think a true post-pandemic scenario is still evolving.

Phil - Thanks for sharing your plans with us, Rohan. Excited to learn more from you as you get bedded in with us!

There is no vaccine for climate change
May 05, 2021 | Phil FershtJosh MatthewsNischala Murthy Kaushik

 

How many of you even knew Earth Day was on 22nd April? And even if you did, did you care?

If there is one lesson we will eventually take from Covid, it’s the paranoia that government and business leaders' now live with: a constant fear of being caught cold by a crisis like this, ever again.  This paranoia must spur them to preventative action rather than a reliance on their ability to deliver rapid treatments. Those treatments of the symptoms simply paper over the deepest cracks of the causes - problems that remain unsolved despite all the debt we've incurred.

Barring future pandemics and world wars, which seemingly can be treated by throwing extraordinary amounts of money into science and military coffers, the next looming crisis is that of a climate meltdown. This offers the opposite problem - where the only cure is through smart and painful prevention, not quick-fire, after-the-crisis inoculation. 

Sustainability must become a native part of businesses, policy, and our day-to-day lives

This means people need to be educated, they actually have to listen and then change their behaviors. No-one really took the threat of nuclear war seriously until the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were experienced. The world was able to recover from the horrors of 'limited' nuclear war, the experiences, hopefully, proving to be preventative for many more decades to come. But there is no second chance if we continue to destroy our planet.  There can be no "lessons-learned" when the world runs out of water.... Sadly, our recent study of 150 C-suite executives across the global 2000 shows us that sustainability only ranks fifteenth as a "fit-for-purpose" measure - no change at all from pre-Covid times:

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In this vein, we had our roaming story-teller Nischala Murthy Kaushik spend time with analyst Josh Matthews, who spends a lot of time thinking through how we tackle sustainability and climate change, in addition to spending his spare time as a counsellor on Cambridge City Council in the UK...

Nischala Murthy Kaushik (CMO, HFS):  Let’s start with the basics, Josh... What is the definition of ‘sustainability,’ and why is it important in 2021?

Josh Matthews (Assoc Research Director, HFS):  The best place to start by checking out the UN Sustainable Goals. These 17 Goals cover all the ambitions we should have as a planet, whether its tackling climate change, lifting people out of poverty, restoring and protecting biodiversity, or eliminating inequality. These challenges don’t stand alone—they’re heavily

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Campbell soup adds flavor as Syniti acquires DMR to create biggest data software and services pureplay
May 03, 2021 | David CushmanDon RyanPhil Fersht

Enterprise data businesses Syniti and Data Migration Resources have joined forces in a move they believe makes them the biggest data software platform and services pureplay in this, or any other, town.  And we see no reason to doubt their claim. With the thirst for quality data at a pandemic-driven all-time-high to base critical enterprise decisions, this merger is perfectly timed.

Under the Syniti banner – and with Syniti CEO Kevin Campbell remaining at the helm – the new company has the resources and global footprint to answer the ‘Are these guys big enough?’ question when it comes to tackling the most complex data requirements of the top echelons of the global 2000. The Newco claims it offers the largest collection of data specialists and an AI-driven platform converging capabilities across data management, analytics, and governance.  With Campbell energized and back in his element, who drove one of the first BPO pureplays Exult, before he inspired the multi-billion dollar BPO and technology growth trajectories in Accenture (see blog), you have to believe the newly re-invented king of data services is taking his new company somewhere very interesting...

Tie up comes after record growth for SAP-certified Syniti

Both parties share a common focus on people and intend that the new scale of the organization will give their prized data specialists the opportunity and desire to stick around to build long careers and the culture to attract more.

Syniti enjoyed record growth in 2020 (with some regions reporting more than 275% growth YoY). It reported the best Q1 results in its 23-year history at the end of April 2021. It’s riding a wave of rapidly increasing investment in smart analytics (Exhibit 1). Almost three-quarters see investments rising either significantly, or moderately.

Exhibit 1: Do you see investments increasing, decreasing, or staying the same for smart analytics in the next 12 to 18 months?

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Syniti has been expanding from its SAP heartland (where it now holds SAP Certified Gold Enterprise Support Integration) to introduce real-time data replication with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

It is also an SAP platinum partner when it comes to helping businesses move to SAP S/4HANA, SAP SuccessFactors, and SAP Ariba. SAP resells data migration software from Syniti as SAP Advanced Data Migration by Syniti. Deloitte, IBM and DXC have been Syniti’s leading SI partners to date.

Joining together offers a global footprint and platform for acceleration

Syniti and DMR have been competitors in the North American market – each with facilities in India. Syniti has expanded to Europe and Asia-Pacific and DMR has gone into Latin America. The plan is to scale up globally, making use of the combined power of their India operations and sharing sales teams and the best of the products, tools, ideas, methods and techniques applied by each business. The aim is to accelerate their individual growth through combination – staking a bigger claim to the rapidly expanding demand for enterprise data management than either could alone.

The combined solution portfolio - comprised of the Syniti Knowledge Platform, DMR CONCENTO, Rapid Data Governance (RDG), and other software solutions, offers customers and partners aggregated, integrated capabilities to address a wide range of data-led business and IT requirements.

DMR products will remain supported into the foreseeable future and the combined might of the organizations will be applied to accelerate the ongoing development of DMR’s CONCENTO RDG – a potentially powerful differentiator if it delivers on its promise of cutting implementation costs by up to 50%.

Bridge Growth Partners are the majority owner of the new enterprise with DMR CEO Ryan Rodenburg joining the executive board with a ‘CEO of the Americas’ remit.

Bottom Line: Effective combination of assets holds the key to long term success

Thousands of hours of teaming ahead of the official merger proved the two parties can work together well. But the long-term success of the deal is likely to reside in how effective the new organization can be in making 1 + 1 = 3 when linking up its assets in a range of client-value-creating combinations. The new organization makes for a more balanced products/services company going forward, something the market is starting to reward.  What is critical now is to encourage Syniti's energized service provider partners, especially Deloitte, IBM, Accenture and DXC to increase their focus and staff training on the bigger, badder Syniti.

In short, we need to understand that data is the strategy to get us ahead of our markets. Here are five steps we must take:

  1. Get The Data to Win In your Market. This is where you must align your data needs to deliver on business strategy.  This is where you clarify your vision and purpose.
  2. Re-think processes to get the data, Then you must re-think what should be added, eliminated, simplified across your workflows to source this critical data.
  3. Design your new operational workflows in the cloud. There is simply no option but to have a plan to design processes in the cloud over three-tier web-architected applications.  In the Work-from-Anywhere Economy, our global talent has to come together to create our borderless, completely digital business.  This is the true environment for real digital transformation in action.
  4. Automate processes and data.  Automation is not your strategy.  It is the necessary discipline to ensure your processes provide the data - at speed - to achieve your business outcomes. Hence you have to approach all future automation in the cloud if you want your processes to run effectively end-to-end.
  5. Apply AI to data flows to anticipate at speed. Once you have successfully automated processes in the cloud, it is easy to administer AI solutions to deliver at speed in self-improving feedback loops.  This is where you apply digital assistants, computer vision, machine learning, and other techniques to refine the efficacy of your data.  AI is how we engage with our data to refine ourselves as digital organizations where we only want a single office to operate with agility to do things faster, cheaper, and more streamlined than we ever thought possible.  AI helps us predict and anticipate how to beat our competitors and delight our customers, reaching both outside and inside of our organizations to pull the data we need to make critical decisions at speed.