Category: Blog

What Is Happening Now In Tech Services Spend? | Blog

The beginning of 2023 saw tech services budgets slightly up, with robust IT spend during the first quarter. In mid-April, companies began significantly reducing their discretionary spend and delaying or canceling initiatives that had been budgeted. Any new initiatives focused on cost saving and how to do more with less. Now, the sentiment is shifting again: there is a bit more money to drive business value, and I expect that to slowly build for the rest of the year. Where will IT spending occur for the rest of 2023, and what are the implications?

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Cisco’s Acquisition of Splunk Marks the Beginning of the Battle for Integrated IT Operations | Blog

In the biggest technology transaction of the year so far, Cisco agreed on September 21 to buy cybersecurity firm Splunk for a staggering US$28 billion. With the potential to help organizations integrate their IT operations across various aspects such as applications, data, infrastructure, security, and networks, this acquisition is highly significant. Cisco’s purchase of Splunk clearly indicates that the convergence of IT operations and data analytics is a priority in today’s digital business landscape. Read on for our expert analysis of the deal. 

Contact us to learn how this could affect your organization.

Why did Cisco acquire Splunk?

Cisco has wanted to buy Splunk for some time due to multiple business and revenue synergies. Cisco will immediately gain approximately US$4 billion in recurring revenue from subscription-based services. Cisco’s revenue is currently split between products (74%) and services (26%). By increasing services, Cisco will be better positioned to compete with hyperscalers, cybersecurity providers, and platform providers to capture the major portion of enterprises’ IT spend.

Cisco has somewhat lagged behind competitors in the cloud wave of enterprises’ technology spend and has experienced a decline in its collaboration product suite, making its cybersecurity portfolio a key investment area. The deal will act as a catalyst for Cisco’s business transformation, heightening focus on subscription-based revenue and, in the long run, Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven integrated IT operations.

Key benefits Cisco’s customers will see from this acquisition include:

  • Cybersecurity development: The cybersecurity space will most immediately be impacted by the acquisition of Splunk, the leading security analytics platform in the market with a highly loyal customer base. This platform will enable Cisco customers to transition from threat detection and response to threat prediction and prevention by leveraging generative AI (GAI) to improve visibility and data usage
  • Observability platform: Splunk’s comprehensive and highly regarded observability capabilities could complement Cisco’s products and platforms. Splunk has strong integration capabilities with most of Cisco’s products across data centers and networks. With the acquisition, clients can expect better visibility, and with the incorporation of AI and analytics, they can effectively utilize the terabytes of available data

Beyond this, the biggest benefit that customers can anticipate from this deal is the potential for integrating IT operations across the entire stack – solving a problem of siloed operations and insufficient end-to-end visibility that has plagued enterprises for years. Cisco’s acquisition of Splunk is a clear signal that the integration of IT operations and data analytics is a priority in today’s digital business landscape.

Enterprises stand to gain many benefits through an integrated IT operations approach, including optimized resource utilization, single pane of glass view, agile and prescriptive problem resolution, enhanced security, improved collaboration between IT and the business, cost savings, enhanced user experience, and data-driven decision making aligned with business outcomes.

Cisco and Splunk union in the data-driven AI world

This combination of synergies, coupled with the power of AI, can result in a comprehensive suite of solutions that can help organizations more effectively achieve their IT and business objectives.

Among the potential benefits are:

  • Single pane of glass view: The integration of Cisco’s networking solutions with Splunk’s analytics tools can offer end-to-end visibility into an organization’s infrastructure. This visibility would enable companies to identify bottlenecks, improve performance, and optimize their IT operations
  • Advanced threat prevention: With the combination of the IT telemetry data and Splunk’s powerful analytics, threat detection capabilities will be enhanced. Organizations can proactively identify and respond to security threats, reducing the risk of data breaches and other cyberattacks
  • Improved performance: Efficient troubleshooting through preventive diagnostics can create a world where IT systems are always available and efficient
  • Business-driven IT operations: By accessing rich data analytics, businesses can start to make data-driven decisions that positively impact their top line, whether optimizing supply chain operations or improving customer engagement

Cisco is not the first to move in this strategic direction. IBM, for instance, recently acquired Apptio to gain end-to-end visibility across the IT stack and build its cloud-agnostic IT operations model. All hyperscalers have been expanding their capabilities through acquisitions in the cybersecurity space to provide a unified view of the IT environment.

In the long run, the acquisition of Splunk is likely to be highly beneficial for Cisco.

This significant deal will act as a catalyst for Cisco’s business transformation, heightening focus on subscription-based revenue – a strategy other providers of all sizes have seen success in.

If Cisco gets this right, its customers will benefit from an array of operational benefits across the IT stack. It also has the potential to make the IT stack always available, secure, and aligned to business outcomes.

To discuss the potential of this acquisition and what it means for businesses, reach out to Titus M at [email protected].

 

The Bumpy Road Ahead for US Automakers: Everything You Need to Know About the UAW Strike Disrupting the Industry | Blog

The ongoing strike by the United Auto Workers (UAW), the biggest union in the US automotive industry, has ramifications on auto production, costs, and supply chains. In this blog, we explore the impact of the UAW strike against GM, Ford, and Stellantis and look at who stands to win and lose.   

What the UAW is demanding

Union leaders representing the striking workers are negotiating for the following: 

  • Higher wages and other benefitsThe UAW has been asking for a 40% pay hike, reduced weekly work hours, revised pension schemes, improved healthcare benefits, and greater job security. The closure of factories to transition towards electric vehicles (EVs) is yet another factor driving the union’s demand for more protection for their workers
  • Reintroduction of cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) to help workers’ pay keep pace with inflation: During the 2008 financial crisis, autoworkers made concessions to automakers, including giving up COLA, which has not been reinstated. Over the past two decades, the average hourly wage for workers in the motor vehicle and parts manufacturing industry has declined by more than 20% when accounting for inflation
  • Equal benefits for all employees: The industry currently operates under a two-tier wage system, where new employees and temporary workers receive lower pay and benefits than their more experienced counterparts for performing the same tasks

After unsuccessful negotiations on these issues, UAW President Shawn Fain declared a rolling strike on Sept. 15, simultaneously targeting all three automakers. Since then, the consequences of these events have hit the entire US automotive industry. Let’s explore this further. 

Impact on production

Despite only three factories/plants being affected by the strike initially (GM’s assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri; Ford’s site in Wayne, Michigan; and Stellantis’ site in Toledo, Ohio), the impact on production was stark when 13,000 workers walked off the job. Vehicle production by these automakers fell by 4,000 to 6,000 vehicles within a week of the UAW strike.

The three Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) argue that the proposed UAW contract would hinder their competitiveness in transitioning to EVs. If the UAW strike continues for more than four weeks, it could delay EV development plans and extend production schedules to 2024. This would further set back Ford, GM, and Stellantis, who already trail Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid Motors in the EV market.

Impact on costs 

The UAW proposal is unlikely to be accepted in full by any of the three automakers, considering they already pay higher wages (US$65 per hour) compared to competitors such as Tesla (US$45 per hour) and Toyota (US$55 per hour), which do not use union workers. Any further wage increases would likely cause GM, Ford, and Stellantis to pass on some costs to their customers, providing an advantage to other automakers who can price their vehicles lower.

The three auto OEMs contend that they must shift towards manufacturing EVs to comply with government regulations and maintain competitiveness in the automotive industry. However, this transition will require significant reinvestment of their profits, which will not be possible if they comply with the UAW’s demands unless the firms choose to incur more debt. 

Impact on supply chains

The UAW expanded its strike last week to 38 GM and Stellantis parts distribution centers as negotiations with these two manufacturers failed to make significant progress. The strategic move by the union to hit parts centers rather than production facilities will impact supply chains, making it harder for the companies to source new parts to repair and service vehicles that have already been sold. Production delays and strikes on parts centers will also cascade the impact onto Tier-1 suppliers, further increasing pressure on the three OEMs to reach an agreement with the UAW.

While the UAW’s demands may well be in good faith and result in improved working conditions for their members, the road ahead for the three impacted automakers seems nothing but bumpy. The true winner in this entire saga may well turn out to be Tesla, as it is poised to expand and enhance its market share in the EV segment.

Everest Group’s Engineering Research & Development (ER&D) services analysts will continue to follow the developments and provide updates. Please reach out to Nishant Udupa or Gokul K to discuss the UAW strike or other automotive industry topics.

Insights on Challenges and Opportunities from Oracle CloudWorld and the Oracle Health Conference | Blog

At last week’s Oracle CloudWorld and the Oracle Health Conference in Las Vegas, the company presented its new positioning, which includes leveraging its broad portfolio, making the next move in healthcare, and delivering lower-cost cloud technology. However, Oracle faces challenges such as not dominating any market, opaque pricing strategies, and the loss of competitive edge to a healthcare rival. Read insights from our analyst who attended these events about the company’s path forward.  

Company leaders presented their vision for Oracle’s future, which is focused on the following three important areas:

  • Breadth and depth of offerings – The company offers a full portfolio in cloud, Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Human Capital Management (HCM), Customer Experience (CX), Enterprise Data Management (EDM) and healthcare to name a few
  • Big bang positioning in healthcare – With its acquisition of Cerner, Oracle is placing a huge growth bet in this segment, like all tech players. The company talked about new opportunities in this area at the Oracle Health Conference
  • Better cloud economics – While industry analysts previously called Oracle out for elasticity, security, and performance issues, it has moved to best-in-class in these areas

Let’s explore each of the elements of their strategy and the challenges they present:

  1. Master of none: There’s no doubt about Oracle’s breadth and depth of coverage. Oracle has credible offerings for each area it competes with AWS, Salesforce, or Microsoft, whose market messaging in certain instances is ahead of product maturity in areas such as healthcare and CX. However, this is not enough.

Oracle’s biggest challenge is that it lacks dominance in any one area. It is not the undisputed preferred choice in any of the markets it claims leadership in. Below are the leaders in market share or positioning in each of the segments where Oracle competes:

    • Generative AI: Microsoft
    • Cloud: AWS/Azure
    • ERP: Oracle (in the US) but head-to-head with SAP everywhere else
    • HCM: Workday
    • CX: Adobe
    • Enterprise Data: Snowflake/AWS

Oracle needs to double down and succeed on select growth bets that will help it reinvent its brand. ERP or databases cannot be those bets.

  1. Not Epic: At one point, the Epic and Cerner competition appeared to be headed toward a true duopoly. However, Epic has gained a significant advantage over competitors by taking aggressive actions on two fronts: swiftly moving to modern architecture by working with the cloud ecosystem and grabbing market share from tier-2 EMRs such as Athenahealth, Meditech, and Allscripts.

Cerner, with Oracle’s strong backing, should have stolen a march over Epic on both. Instead, Cerner was distracted by the integration with Oracle and lost considerable ground. Hence, instead of a duopoly, what we have is a market where you are either Epic or Not Epic.

  1. Opaqonomics: Oracle pitched they are “significantly cheaper than AWS or Google.” However, this claim cannot be consistently validated. While some enterprise clients indicate that Oracle Cloud is more affordable, others feel it isn’t. The difficulties lie in the following:
    • Oracle cloud economics is incorporated with its app economics, making it very difficult to separate the two
    • Pricing is not transparent or standardized. Inconsistent client feedback (some who feel it is cheap, others who don’t) impacts Oracle’s competitive positioning against other clouds
    • This inconsistency is also visible in client experience. One client mentioned it took Oracle CIoud Infrastructure (OCI) “six weeks to provision additional compute when on paper, the promise of cloud is to do it over six seconds.”

While this might sound like a harsh takedown of Oracle’s positioning, these issues can be fixed and serve as critical paths to Oracle’s reinvention. Oracle is a true engineering firm, and each capability that it delivers has an engine under its hood. Clients can trust Oracle to provide fully developed products. To restore its shine, Oracle needs to bring the same rigor to its customer success initiatives, master a few key markets, and establish transparent and standardized pricing.

For more insights from Oracle CloudWorld and the Oracle Health Conference, please contact Abhishek Singh.

 

Analyst Relations Quarterly Newsletter | Q3 2023

Dear Analyst Relations colleagues –

In today’s 2023 market, organizations are working hard to pivot and focus intensely on revenue generation. Whether or not you believe there’s a recession, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that companies are behaving as though there is one. Prophylactic cost-management measures have been rolled out across companies in order to be on solid ground should a recession emerge – which is, in reality, creating conditions similar to an actual recession. The common thinking seems to be “manage costs and drive revenue.” This shift coincides with more analyst relations (AR) teams having closer linkages with the sales and revenue generation teams at provider organizations. This, in turn, puts AR people in the position of linking the value of research to the desired outcomes of sales.

Everest Group’s consultative engagement approach has always been “business-need” centric, targeting the needs of sales and marketing stakeholders at provider organizations. We start with the premise that data that reflects actual on-the-ground realities leads to better insights and understanding, which can then help guide provider decisions around competitive positioning, buyer needs, partnering channels and strategies, go-to-market approaches, and better structured and priced proposals – all adding up to supporting higher win-rates.

I’m often asked how Everest Group engages with sales and marketing executives. The truth is that it’s a long answer that can best be described as starting with the strategy around market segments and extending through proposal review and bid support.

On November 30, you can join me and my colleagues on a LinkedIn Live dedicated to discussing how Everest Group supports sales and marketing teams through our memberships and bespoke projects. You’ll get a flavor of the discussion from the video below, where I introduce my colleague, Molly Norton, who works with many of our provider clients. Please watch the video and register for the event to join the conversation.

For those in the Northern Hemisphere – I truly hope you enjoy the last few weeks of summer!

Best Regards

Katrina Menzigian
Vice President, Analyst Relations Engagement

Thought Leadership

A Message from Everest Group’s CEO and Founder on the Positive Opportunities Within Sustainability | Blog

Top Employers for Tech Talent™ ─ Understanding Brand Perception from the Perspective of Tech Employees in India, the US, and the UK | Blog

Generative AI in Retail and CPG: Revolutionizing Operations and Customer Experience | Blog

Generative AI’s Impact on the Talent Market: Unraveling its Effects on Training and Recruitment Versus the Environment and Society | Blog

Talent Spotlight

Rohit

Rohitashwa Aggarwal is a Partner in Everest Group’s Global Sourcing practice. In his role, he is focused on engagements and initiatives with global companies that focus on GBS / shared services centers. Rohitashwa works extensively with global organizations and GBS clients on their talent strategy, including global workforce planning, innovative talent acquisition and management practices, remote delivery models, and more.

You can learn more about Rohitashwa and connect with him on LinkedIn.

CONNECT WITH ROHITASHWA ON LINKEDIN

Positive Opportunities Within Sustainability

Keep an eye on our new sustainability-focused LinkedIn page, where we deliver valuable sustainability insights that businesses can leverage for their sustainability goals.

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Featured Video

Molly

How Everest Group Supports Sales Teams Improve Outcomes

In this quick video, Katrina Menzigian, Vice President, Analyst Relations Engagement, and Molly Norton, Global Client Director, chat about the increasing interest among provider organizations to partner with Everest Group to target specific sales objectives and challenges.

WATCH NOW

Everest Group’s Buyer’s Corner

Read how Everest Group helped an insurance provider access a Guidewire licensing agreement to achieve best-in-class terms and conditions across the industry and best-in-class commercial outcomes.

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Events

How AR Teams Use Research to Support Sales and Position for Competitiveness | LinkedIn Live

AR-focused Event | How Everest Group Guides Enterprises to Better Decisions | LinkedIn Live Discussion

The Pricing Index: Pivotal Themes and What to Expect in the Next Year | LinkedIn Live Discussion

From Hype to Reality: Maximizing Your Return with Intelligent Automation | Everest Group Participates in an Industry Event

Popular Analyst Relations Resources

Everest Group’s Reports Portal: Home to All of Everest Group’s Content 

Access our latest research, outcomes from our latest surveys and studies, on-demand webinars, and much more.

Everest Group’s RFI Agenda

Wondering how to organize your team for future RFIs? Looking for the next RFI to showcase your capabilities? Search our public RFI Agenda for answers. Everest Group’s RFI Agenda is a great resource to bookmark to help your team better plan its workflow. You can see all the critical info, such as the study title, the study status, RFI launch date, publication date, and links to previous reports.

Analyst Relations Engagement Center

Please visit our dedicated Analyst Relations Engagement page to see past issues of our AR Newsletters and replays of past events designed for AR professionals.

Everest Group RFI Introduction and Overview Document

This is a handy reference guide on the basics about Everest Group’s RFIs, guidelines on how to use our PEAK Matrix® Assessments, and FAQs.

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From Headshakers to Institutionalists: Exploring GBS Change Management Personas | Blog

Understanding your change management approach and experience level can improve decision-making and enhance transformative practices. Our research has identified four change management personas that GBS organizations typically fall under. To find out which persona best fits your organization, read on.  

Change management is necessary within Global Business Services (GBS) organizations. But finding the right approach for effective execution – from implementation to management and measurement – can be challenging, even for more mature GBS organizations.

Moving to a GBS platform sets off a chain reaction of transformations for businesses. At its core, the GBS’ mission is to create and sustain business operation change by consolidating, standardizing, streamlining, and creating more value. The GBS model’s nature lies in bringing change through new ways of working, distributed operating models, elevated service levels, enhanced experience, and digitization, enabling the enterprise to experience higher levels of innovation.

Since constant transitions within the GBS model are expected, change management should be viewed as a continuous process and not a one-off fix until the next shift occurs. Effective change management can enable GBS organizations to identify new opportunities, mitigate risks, and create a culture that embraces innovation and continuous improvement, ultimately leading to long-term success and growth.

So, what’s the path to successful change management? To begin, assess where your organization falls on the adoption scale that ranges from those who have not yet prioritized change management to leaders who seamlessly embed it into all aspects of GBS operations.

Understanding the four change management personas 

In our recent report, State of Play in GBS Change Management, we conducted in-depth interviews with 58 leading GBS organizations across the globe to understand how GBS organizations approach change management.

As we compiled the data, we discovered the way GBS organizations implement change management is influenced by various factors such as the change management imperative, scope, talent model, and funding.

These elements can determine a GBS organization’s change management persona. Our research identified a range of generalized organizational profiles that we categorize as headshakers, crawlers, gamechangers, and institutionalists.

Let’s define these typical change management personas:

Headshakers

A GBS organization that falls into the headshaker category hasn’t yet established change management competency and, unfortunately, does not perceive it as crucial. At this starting level, the organization may approach change by communicating transformation on a case-by-case or ad hoc basis. While ensuring that information is relayed throughout the enterprise at the outset of periods of change is indeed essential, this approach often lacks a comprehensive strategy, monitoring mechanisms, and effective change management engagement practices.

Headshakers tend to place change management primarily as a communications function with sporadic support for other activities. Additionally, these GBS organizations do not invest in dedicated talent resources specifically focused on implementing and overseeing successful change initiatives.

Crawlers

Organizations categorized as crawlers may notice that the GBS organization is gradually moving toward establishing a GBS change management competency and views change management as somewhat critical. The organization might allocate resources to address change management needs for specific transition and transformation projects. Crawler organizations also tend to emphasize communications to ensure leadership alignment and prioritize change impact assessments to better understand the nature of the change and where it will occur.

Crawlers typically lack the in-house talent to lead their change management initiatives and instead rely on external consultants or contractors. The change management team’s size is usually contingent on the available funding and project requirements. Like headshakers, crawlers operate on an ad hoc basis, but they may incorporate certain enhancements, such as Centers of Excellence (CoEs), to equip employees with the necessary tools and training to support change initiatives.

Gamechangers

Gamechangers are generally younger GBS entities that have reached a respectable level of maturity in their change management journey. These organizations are actively taking steps to establish change management practices, recognizing its necessity. Gamechangers readily invest in change management for both transitional and ongoing changes. Their approach to change management is comprehensive, playing a strategic role in driving business transformation. Gamechangers go beyond mere communication methods to take on stakeholder and transition management, methodologies and tools development, and conduct change risk assessments to ensure successful change implementation.

Gamechangers typically have a dedicated team consisting of both in-house and contractor employees devoted to the specific needs of each project. These initiatives are regularly funded as part of the annual transition budget, demonstrating the organization’s commitment to this crucial aspect of GBS operations.

For gamechangers, change management becomes firmly established when the enterprise transitions to a GBS model or undergoes any significant transformation.

Institutionalists

Institutionalists firmly believe in change management and have invested substantially in building a robust GBS change management competency, recognizing its value as a strategic capability. Change management is implemented from the start of GBS model adoption and is funded annually. A consistent and systemic commitment to change management exists, with a focus on both maintaining business operations and driving business transformation. It is embedded and managed as a critical component of all GBS initiatives.

With this approach, the organization carries out the full scope of activities, including change champion network management, training and learning programs, organizational change readiness, and customer experience monitoring. A dedicated team of employees focuses specifically on change management and may be supported by contractors.

By incorporating change management as part of the overall GBS governance, stakeholders can easily understand, adopt, and embrace transitions – solidifying the organization’s ability to adapt and evolve.

Are you ready to make a change?

Change management is an important yet frequently misunderstood topic that plays a pivotal role in empowering GBS organizations to generate and maintain sustainable value.

Identifying which of the change management personas best characterizes your current approach is essential to gaining deeper insights into change management and its impact on your GBS organization.

Whether you are a headshaker, crawler, gamechanger, or institutionalist, recognizing your organization’s current position will empower you to make informed decisions and strategically enhance your change management practices.

To learn more about change management personas and how to incorporate change management across your organization, reach out to Rohitashwa Aggarwal, [email protected], or Arushi Gupta, [email protected].

Discover the Strategies Top GBS Organizations Use to Create Superior Employer Brand Perception | Blog

Positive employer brand perception is crucial to attract and retain top talent in today’s dynamic environment. How current and potential employees view the organization’s brand is critical to business success. Gain insights from our research on best practices by leading Global Business Services (GBS) organizations who have created a superior employer brand perception in this blog.

Why brand perception matters for GBS organizations

In today’s competitive landscape with constant change and evolving workforce needs, having a strong employer brand isn’t just a benefit but an essential asset that can propel GBS organizations toward exceptional growth. For employees and job seekers, perception is reality.

Having a superior employer brand perception is a magnet that attracts and encourages top talent who want to align with the organization’s values. GBS organizations increasingly are recognizing the importance of building and maintaining a distinctive employer brand perception.

Creating a strong employer brand perception is a challenging and intricate task that requires consistent efforts across various fronts. Understanding the complexities involved is important to succeed in this effort.

By drawing on insights and best practices from leading GBS employers that stand out for their employer brand perceptions, organizations can enhance their ability to create a compelling one. Let’s explore the findings from the latest edition of our case study report to learn more.

About the Top GBS Employers™ 2023 Report

To better understand the true differentiating factors that help create a superior employer brand perception, we analyzed the success stories of some of the top GBS employers from our recently published Top GBS Employers 2023 Report.

We collaborated with GBS entities of Experian, GSK, and Sun Life in India; Henkel and Northern Trust in the Philippines; and Takeda in Poland to understand nuances of their journeys to elevate employer brand perception to new heights.

In the case study compilation report, How GBS Organizations Build Differentiated Employer Brand Perception, we uncovered how all these organizations adjusted to constantly changing employee needs and fostered a strong sense of camaraderie within the organization.

The study provides profound insights on:

  • The key factors that make the top GBS employers stand out in terms of brand perception
  • The key initiatives, actions, and practices that create a strong employee value proposition for top GBS employers
  • How top GBS employers adjust to the evolving employee needs
  • Ways GBS employers can future-proof the employer brand perception

Insights from the report

Every organization’s secret sauce is unique. Our research found that each company adopted a different approach to building a strong employer brand when navigating through specific challenges.

Here are some insights from our analysis:

  • Experian’s success can be attributed to its thriving culture, where employees have the autonomy, flexibility, and resources to build their career paths. Experian further bolstered its value proposition by improving the quality of work, offering unparalleled learning and development opportunities, and building a diverse, inclusive, and collaborative work culture
  • GSK emphasizes an organizational culture that allows people to thrive and contribute to their fullest potential. This philosophy underpins its efforts that are centered around these five key themes:
    • Fostering the GSK culture
    • Building an inclusive organization
    • Driving impact through performance using data, digital, and an innovation   mindset
    • Investing in talent and leadership needs and development
    • Creating a learning environment for future skills
  • Henkel has always prioritized employee needs and fostered a culture of enabling employees. This approach helps it stay ahead of the curve in addressing evolving employee expectations
  • Northern Trust believes that collaborative efforts among management, employees, and other key stakeholders build a great workforce. The company believes in ensuring its five key promises:
    • A culture of care and collaboration
    • A focus on individual career development and growth
    • An opportunity to innovate
    • Dedication to a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace
    • The chance to have a meaningful impact
  • Sun Life believes in planning for the future and has created a plethora of learning and development and career progression programs. The financial services company has been nimble in understanding and adjusting to evolving employee needs, earning its position as a top GBS employer in India for the second consecutive year
  • Takeda Business Solutions (TBS) is dedicated to being and remaining a best-in-class GBS organization. It continually evolves its captive delivery strategy and ways of working to reflect the evolving business and workforce. This commitment is demonstrated through:
    • Creating an exceptional people experience
    • Unleashing the power of data and digital
    • Investing in and future-proofing the capabilities of its people

These examples show that no one formula exists for creating a strong employer brand perception. The key to creating a desirable image lies in the individuality and distinct character of each organization.

Although every organization’s journey is different, the paths are connected by common threads. By unlocking the workings of the top GBS organizations, we found they each:

  • Not only understand but act quickly to address employee needs: With rapidly evolving employee requirements, GBS organization needs to be flexible and autonomous to act with agility
  • Provide employee growth opportunities: Offering holistic professional development beyond compensation is valued. Employees are not only looking for compensation but career paths, professional guidance, upskilling opportunities, and challenging and meaningful work assignments
  • Align the enterprise culture with local value systems: By integrating local needs and perspectives of employees to foster individual growth, GBS organizations can make a greater impact and significantly improve employer brand perception

From these findings, it’s clear that highly skilled individuals today want more than just a job. They are seeking to work for organizations that value their contributions and encourage collaboration, purposefulness, and achievement. GBS employers who are seen as having a reputation that aligns with these aspirations are likely to succeed in recruiting and retaining top talent.

To uncover the details of each organization’s journey to create a superior employer brand perception, read the report How GBS Organizations Build Differentiated Employer Brand Perception. The report was developed by collaborating with GBS organizations of Experian, GSK, Henkel, Northern Trust, Sun Life, and Takeda.

To learn more about employer brand perception and talent management strategies, reach out to [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected].

Unveiling Hidden Dangers: Proactive Measures to Address Cloud Migration Risks | Blog

Moving an IT ecosystem to the cloud can be a complex undertaking that involves a multitude of risks – from technology and regulatory challenges to internal hurdles, as well as other unexpected problems that can arise without proper planning. Understanding these potential pitfalls and developing a comprehensive plan to mitigate them will ensure enterprises reap the many benefits cloud offers. Uncover the risks and learn recommendations to address them in this blog.  

In the last decade, cloud has risen to immense importance across all geographies and verticals, offering enterprises numerous benefits such as scalability, agility, and cost efficiency. As a result, it has become the bedrock of any digital business, leading more enterprises to increasingly migrate to the cloud. Additionally, enterprises are now also undergoing inter-cloud migration as they strengthen their cloud strategy and prioritize IT asset optimization.

Despite its apparent simplicity and prevalence in most digital transformation initiatives, enterprises must understand the associated cloud migration risks and proactively plan for contingencies. More than 55% of enterprises believe the COVID-19 pandemic rushed cloud adoptions and limited returns from cloud investments. This reinforces the importance of understanding cloud migration risks to fully realize the benefits that cloud promises.

Let’s look at the most commonly understood and observed risks that generally fall under the following categories:

  • Technology – This encompasses risk arising from challenges in integrating legacy and modern systems, possible misconfigurations during migration, and the ever-increasing technology skill gap
  • Regulatory – This pertains to risk related to data security and privacy, vertical and geography-specific compliance and regulations, and data governance and sovereignty
  • Client’s internal environment – This involves risks such as untrained internal resources, broken security controls, reliance on third-party vendors for different services, and possible operations disruptions

While service providers generally tackle these threats from the get-go, a few other potential impediments often get overlooked during the migration phase, creating larger issues later on if not proactively addressed.

Some of these additional risks can include:

  • Underwhelming perceived value: Enterprises often do not have clear post-migration expectations, resulting in most enterprises being dissatisfied within a year or two of starting the cloud migration process. An alarming 67% of enterprises have expressed their inability to realize the expected level of value from cloud. This extends beyond monetary value and also encompasses aspects such as innovation, compliance, resilience, and agility, which are expected as by-products of successful cloud migration
  • Negative stakeholder experience: Cloud migration can impact internal and external stakeholder experience. Any security breach or service disruption can expose corporate data and applications to cyberattacks and even damage the enterprise’s reputation and erode customer trust. Additionally, any unnecessary delay in migration timelines due to factors such as network issues, application incompatibility, or inefficient processes can lead to downtime and productivity loss
  • Exceeding budget expectations: Unplanned migration costs and the complexities surrounding the entire multi-cloud system end up giving most customers price shock. Around 60-70% of global enterprises believe cloud adoption costs were higher than their initial expectations of cost reduction. This occurs due to factors such as complex multi- and hybrid cloud environments, inefficient cloud resource management, lack of governance guardrails, and gaps in consumption visibility and management
  • Conflicting objectives: Senior stakeholders from various departments often view cloud migration from different lenses and have disparate objectives. Even if service providers meet the defined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Service Level Agreements (SLAs), stakeholders still can be highly dissatisfied. This commonly arises due to misalignment between cloud, product, technical, and finance teams and the lack of defined accountability and ownership that results
  • Unplanned transitions: During the enterprise transition from one provider to another or from on-premise to an outsourced service provider, a proper transition methodology is crucial. Many enterprises struggle in this phase because transition teams do not contextualize their approach to the enterprise. This often results in a disconnect between expectations and outcomes in areas such as migration velocity, proposed SLAs, and risk management

Recommendations for mitigating cloud migration risks

To lessen these risks, enterprises should take the following actions:

  1. Define the value expected from cloud expectations
  • Define what value means to your enterprise. Different stakeholders often have varying ideas of value. Conduct a comprehensive assessment to come to a shared definition of value
  • Measure alignment to the defined value metrics at all stages of executing the migration plan
  • Recognize that value realization is continuous and emphasize the importance of making it a cyclic process rather than a one-time event
  1. Plan and assemble the right delivery team
  • Include an integrated cyber-cloud team to mitigate cloud security risks associated with migration efforts
  • Conduct a comprehensive RFP procedure to ensure the onboarding of certified and skilled talent with prior similar on-ground experience. Develop a detailed talent management plan across different execution phases
  • Ensure the availability of well-structured transition teams that offer industry- and enterprise-specific contextualization, particularly when transitioning from another vendor or a captive center
  1. Leverage Intellectual Properties (IPs) and frameworks
  • Implement a value-based migration framework internally or with a service provider partner to define and measure future value
  • Adopt an open communication framework that allows regular, timely, and contextualized communication with internal and external stakeholders to ensure consistent experience. This should be in addition to technology measures such as disaster recovery plans, incident response plans, and security measures
  • Prioritize the implementation of FinOps tools and solutions to enable cost optimization and visibility at all times
  1. Evolve contracting methodologies
  • Define Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), and don’t just contract for KPIs and SLAs
  • Push for some “skin in the game” from partners by encouraging transparent and flexible pricing models
  • Include knowledge transfer in the project scope to upskill internal teams to handle post-migration changes in the enterprise IT landscape

For more strategies to tackle cloud migration risks or to share your views on this topic, feel free to reach out to [email protected] or [email protected].

Unlocking the Power of OKRs to Achieve Ambitious Goals and Drive Business Strategy | Blog

Embraced by top tech companies, Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) help establish high-level measurable goals based on ambitious trackable targets. Paired with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), these powerful tools can fuel organizational success. Discover how OKRs can benefit your business, the best practices for implementation, and how these goal-setting frameworks can work together to drive exceptional results.

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In today’s rapidly evolving and competitive business landscape, setting and achieving the right strategic goals is essential for organizational growth and success. Businesses traditionally rely on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as the primary methodology for tracking these goals. However, are they effective in driving your business strategy? Or can another methodology better suit your business needs?

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) have gained widespread adoption in recent years as a popular methodology pioneered by Intel’s former CEO Andy Grove. Its appeal grew when John Doerr introduced them to Google. OKRs have since evolved and spread to various industries and organizations worldwide, driven by the need for better alignment, increased transparency, and more effective goal-setting practices.

So, what exactly are OKRs?

A powerful goal-setting framework popularized by major technology companies, OKR, at its core, is designed to align teams and individuals with the organization’s overall strategic objectives. OKRs consist of these two main components:

  • Objectives: Clear and qualitative goals that outline what an organization wants to achieve. They provide direction and purpose, inspiring teams to aim high
  • Key Results: Specific, measurable, and time-bound milestones that indicate progress toward the objectives. Key results serve as tangible metrics for success

Is it another fancy approach? Are OKRs of any use?

OKRs offer several benefits that make them an attractive choice for ambitious organizations, including:

  • Alignment: OKRs ensure that everyone is working toward the same overarching objectives, fostering a unified sense of purpose and direction
  • Transparency and Accountability: By sharing OKRs openly, teams build a culture of transparency and accountability, encouraging individuals to take ownership of their contributions
  • Agility: OKRs allow organizations to adapt quickly to changing market conditions and adjust their strategies as needed
  • Motivation: Ambitious OKRs can inspire and motivate teams to go above and beyond to achieve extraordinary results

What companies have leveraged OKRs to fuel growth?

Companies like Google, LinkedIn, and Netflix have achieved remarkable success with OKRs in these ways:

  • Google utilized OKRs to launch innovative products and achieve significant business growth
  • LinkedIn used OKRs to expand its user base and improve customer satisfaction
  • Netflix leveraged OKRs to grow its subscriber base and produce hit original content

How can we define an OKR?

Here are some examples of OKRs to help you understand them better:

  • Objective: Increase customer satisfaction by 20%

Key Results: Increase the number of customer surveys completed by 40%. Increase the average customer satisfaction score by 10 points

  • Objective: Launch a new product by the end of the quarter

Key Results: Complete the product requirements by the end of the month. Develop the product prototype by the end of the quarter. Launch the product by the end of the quarter

What pointers should we keep in mind when defining OKRs?

To use OKRs effectively, consider the following four characteristics:

  1. Clarity: Objectives should be clear and easy to understand, providing a sense of direction for all stakeholders
  2. Specificity: Key results should be specific, measurable, and achievable, enabling progress tracking
  3. Ambition: OKRs should inspire and challenge teams to achieve exceptional results, pushing boundaries
  4. Alignment: OKRs should align with the organization’s overall mission and strategic priorities

Should we ditch KPIs now?

While both OKRs and KPIs are essential in assessing performance, they serve different purposes:

  • OKRs are aspirational and strategic, setting ambitious goals to drive overall organizational success
  • KPIs are operational and focused on specific metrics, measuring ongoing performance against predefined targets

OKRs and KPIs 09 12 2023 1

How can we use OKRs and KPIs together to achieve specific objectives?

OKRs and KPIs are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they complement each other in these ways:

  • OKRs provide the direction and inspiration to set ambitious goals
  • KPIs provide the data and measurement to track progress and fine-tune strategies
Parameter​ KPI​ OKR​
Objective Monitor “business-as-usual” drivers, identify problems, and areas for improvement​ Ambitious “business-goal-centric” view for measuring success​
Frequency Same metrics tracked for a longer period​ Metrics may change in the spirit of continuous improvement across multiple fronts and as business objectives change​
Ownership  Owned by departments or the organization as a whole​ Can be owned by individuals or teams​
Scope Focus mostly on operational metrics like velocity​ Focus on business objectives, such as growth, adoption, or customer satisfaction​
Level of challenge Maintaining current performance levels​ Push individuals and teams to achieve more​
Examples Increase velocity by 20%​ Improve brand awareness by increasing website traffic from 15% to 20% in Q2 through targeted marketing campaigns and content creation.​
Reduce customer churn rate by 5%​ Increase customer retention by 2% in May 2023 by improving customer satisfaction and loyalty through targeted marketing campaigns, personalized outreach, and enhanced customer support processes​

What best practices should my organization follow to successfully implement OKRs?

To ensure successful implementation and maximize the benefits of OKRs, consider the following best practices:

  1. Top-Down Alignment: Align OKRs with the organization’s overall mission, vision, and strategic priorities. Ensure that OKRs cascade down from top management to every individual, creating a unified sense of purpose
  2. Collaborative Goal Setting: Involve all relevant stakeholders in the OKR-setting process. Encourage open discussions and feedback to build consensus and ownership
  3. Clarity and Simplicity: Keep objectives and key results clear, concise, and easy to understand. Avoid jargon and unnecessary complexity to ensure everyone grasps their role in achieving success
  4. Measure What Matters: Focus on key metrics that directly impact the organization’s success. Avoid setting too many OKRs to prevent diluting efforts
  5. Flexibility and Adaptability: Embrace the agile nature of OKRs. Continuously review and adjust OKRs as circumstances change, allowing teams to stay responsive to market dynamics
  6. Regular Progress Tracking: Implement a robust tracking and reporting system to monitor progress regularly. Provide frequent updates and celebrate achievements to boost morale

OKRs and KPIs are powerful tools that can drive exceptional performance and success for organizations. By setting clear and aspirational objectives and measuring progress through specific key results, businesses can unlock their full potential. Strategically combining OKRs and KPIs allows organizations to achieve extraordinary results in a dynamic and competitive environment.

Start implementing OKRs in your organization today! Define ambitious objectives, set measurable key results, and foster a culture of transparency and accountability. To discuss how to embrace the power of OKRs to propel your organization toward new heights of success, contact Hemant Agrawal.

Exploring South Africa’s CX Services Potential: Your Gateway to Exceptional Customer Experiences

South Africa has emerged as a stand-out destination for customer experience (CX) services. Offering a talented workforce, cost-effectiveness, and infrastructure, the nation is attracting the attention of both providers and customers alike. Now is the time to capitalize on this alluring market in this rising continent. Discover seven advantages of South Africa and compare its hotspot cities in this blog.

With the rapid global transformation and dynamic shifts in commerce shaped by cutting-edge strategies, one continent is emerging as a rising giant in the realm of customer CX services delivery – Africa.

According to Everest Group’s recent report Africa on the Rise – The Next Frontier in Customer Experience Management, the continent’s customer experience management (CXM) delivery presence has surged. Boasting a full-time equivalent (FTE) workforce strength of 200,000-250,000 offering CX services to clients in and out of the continent, Africa has captured interest from global enterprises in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Western Europe.

Get insights on the CXM industry in Europe in our webinar, Navigating the European CXM Outsourcing Market: Trends and Insights.

As enterprises look to mitigate concentration risks by diversifying their contact center presence and further tap advantages such as cost arbitrage, diverse talent, and rapid technological advancements, businesses find Africa increasingly attractive for CX delivery. At the same time, the country’s focus on integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG), and diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) elements further enhance its appeal to companies today.

Amidst Africa’s overall growth,South Africa in particular has captured the interest of CX providers and enterprises as a paragon for lucrative CX delivery. As the stage is set for South Africa’s continued ascent, let’s unravel the reasons behind South Africa’s emergence.

The emergence of South Africa

South Africa is developing as a globally attractive location for CX service delivery, drawing attention for numerous compelling factors that include:

  1. Cost-effectiveness: South Africa presents a promising advantage in cost-effectiveness for contact center services, offering competitive pricing in comparison to traditional nearshore destinations in Eastern Europe, and Latin America. The country enjoys relatively lower labor costs while ensuring high-quality service standards, making it an enticing proposition for companies seeking to optimize customer support operations without compromising on service excellence
  2. Skilled and multilingual workforce: With a large pool of young and educated talent, South Africa’s workforce possesses good aptitude and has a solid working knowledge of technology. With a variety of languages spoken, including English, French, Spanish, and native African languages, South Africa offers a significant advantage for businesses with global customer bases by fulfilling diverse language requirements
  1. Time zone compatibility: The country falls within a favorable time overlap with major markets like Europe and the United States, enabling seamless communication and smoother real-time collaboration between businesses in South Africa and their counterparts in these key markets
  2. Infrastructure: South Africa boasts well-equipped built and digital infrastructure, facilitating seamless interactions for traditional and hybrid contact centers. With robust telecommunications and widespread internet connectivity, businesses can efficiently run contact center operations
  3. Impact sourcing focus: South Africa offers companies a chance to meet impact sourcing goals while remaining cost-effective. With a skilled and diverse population, as well as a young workforce, the country provides an opportunity for impactful sourcing that supports local economic development
  4. Regulatory support: The South African government actively supports outsourcing by offering incentives to companies, stimulating development through foreign investment and job creation. Governing bodies like the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition (DTIC), Business Process Enabling South Africa (BPESA), and CapeBPO provide resources and reward job creation
  5. Cultural Affinity: South Africans’ familiarity with US and UK culture and shared holiday celebrations create cultural similarity with global markets for CX delivery. This affinity facilitates efficient CX service delivery by enabling a better understanding of customer preferences, language, and lifestyle, fostering smoother interactions and stronger connections

CX providers in South Africa

While numerous global service providers thrive in the CX services landscape in South Africa, regionally-based service providers also have built a noteworthy industry reputation, leveraging different locations to extend their services both within and beyond the African continent. These service providers offer complete customer lifecycle management, business applications, marketing, and lead generation, with customer engagement specialists and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven solutions for enhanced customer engagement.

Examining the major hot spots for CX services delivery within South Africa

In South Africa’s remarkable rise in the CX outsourcing industry, three dynamic cities – Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban – stand out as hotspots for CX services delivery.

Below, we explore some of the elements that place these cities at the heart of the driving force behind South Africa’s growth and prominence in this industry:

City  Attributes of the city
1


Cape Town

Cape Town’s compelling 60-70% cost advantage over major UK tier-2 cities and its favorable business environment with a reliable infrastructure, advanced technology, and a skilled workforce make it an attractive choice for cost-conscious companies. English is the primary language utilized for BPO services in Cape Town, although there is also a significant Afrikaans-speaking population. Cape Town showcases a remarkable collaborative spirit between the local government and operators, driving strategic projects that lay the groundwork for future growth and success in the region’s CX services delivery landscape. With a focus on key verticals like retail, telecom, utilities, and travel and hospitality, the city hosts specialized skills academies to support these industries, ensuring a skilled and talented workforce that contributes to its competitive advantage.
2

Durban

Durban stands out as a cost-effective contact center destination, offering up to 70% lower operational costs than tier-2 cities in high-cost countries. Its skilled and diverse workforce, supported by reputable universities, makes it an appealing choice for outsourcing, accounting for 13% of South Africa’s contact center jobs. English is the primary language for BPO services in Durban, with significant a Zulu-speaking population. Recent infrastructure development, reliable telecommunications, modern office spaces, and high English proficiency further enhance Durban’s appeal for seamless CX services delivery.

3 

Johannesburg

 

As South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg presents a substantial English-speaking talent pool, making it an advantageous hub for contact center outsourcing with its diverse and skilled workforce. In addition to the Afrikaans-speaking population, talent proficient in Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, and French languages are readily available. Accounting for 40% of the country’s contact center jobs, as per BPESA, Johannesburg ensures abundant resources for efficient outsourcing operations. The city’s modern infrastructure, including reliable telecommunications and robust IT systems, guarantees seamless contact center operations.

The road ahead for South Africa

As South Africa establishes itself as a sought-after location for CX services delivery, the country is poised to attract more global enterprises expanding their service delivery footprint. With its skilled workforce, cost-effectiveness, and cultural affinity, this vibrant nation offers fertile ground for driving business success and forging lasting partnerships. To stay ahead in this dynamic environment, organizations need to quickly seize the moment and explore the untapped potential of South Africa’s burgeoning CX services delivery sector.

Read Everest Group’s report Africa on the Rise – The Next Frontier in Customer Experience Management to learn more about the African CXM landscape. If you have questions or would like to discuss South Africa’s evolution, please reach out to Chhandak Biswas, [email protected], or Joshua Victor, [email protected].

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