Poole’s Patter, Part III: Why do so many companies get SO hung up on technology decisions?


What happened to Deputy Poole, we heard many cry after his two recent HfS contributions reflecting on why the word of BPO just happens to be the way it is…

David Poole (pictured left) somewhere en route back to the UK

Well, we can confirm the wild rumors that he turned up at Shared Services & Outsourcing Week masquerading as an analyst as completely unfounded.

He was, in fact, being steadfastly pursued by $7.5 billion Business Services giant Serco to head up their UK and European services operations.  While we were secretly hoping he was going to become the next Sheriff of Nottingham, he clearly couldn’t resist another chance to point his top-down shooter at the BPO business.  Or it may have been the salary, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.

So… without further ado, here’s the long-awaited third tranche, entitled…

Why do so many companies get SO hung up on technology decisions?

When it comes to technology, particularly when it comes to back office horizontal services like HR, Finance and Procurement, I’ve never understood why so many companies get SO hung up on technology decisions and so bought into spending huge sums of money paying consultants to reinvent the same wheel over and over again. Of course I can say that now that I’m not employed by a [Platinum] Partner of SAP, a [Diamond] Partner of Oracle or a [Titanium] Partner of Microsoft. Frankly it’s always been nuts to invest millions in bespoking the accounts payable screens or putting logo’s on the journal voucher entry screen so the accounts clerk remembers who he works for. Today, however, apart from core systems of record and arguably key master data systems it’s even more crazy. BPO providers can take care of practically all of the non-core system requirements using ‘one to many’ software as a service solutions that are significantly more functional (again due to much greater investment), efficient, connected, secure and most importantly at a fraction of the cost of providing those system internally. And CIO’s (hint: as long as they are credited with the decision) love to offload these complex sub systems to external knowledgeable providers allowing them to focus their overworked IT functions on keeping the core systems up and running.

The interesting development in this whole BPO technology arena is the increasing granularity that it allows. You see BPO providers know how to link and integrate their best practice process models to the supporting technologies. The smart ones can then only provide the technology actually needed to provide the processes. It’s a bit like a restaurant menu with a wine pairing. So not only do you get access to the best practice models, you only need to use (and pay for) the specific components of the technology that you need to deliver the specific sub processes that are being provided. This allows true fit for purpose service delivery delivered in the most efficient way possible.

David Poole is the recently anointed CEO UK & Europe, Global Services at Serco. You can read his full bio here

Posted in : Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Cloud Computing, Finance and Accounting, IT Outsourcing / IT Services, Sourcing Best Practises



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  1. I couldn’t agree more, David. The answer’s simple: the IT industry needs to remain employed 🙂


  2. David,
    so nice it’s explained you are the guy on the left! Good to see you enjoying life.
    On the article, you know you’re right and that it will be the strategy of any company with strong management that wants to survive.

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