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Digital Talent Shortage Driving Need For Offshore Talent | Blog

By | Blog, Digital Transformation

There is a clear talent shortage in the US, and this is particularly true of specialized skills (engineering and IT), which are at the center of the competitiveness of the US economy. The current Administration is intensifying this skills shortage by restricting companies’ ability to import talent through H-1B visas. The unintended consequence of the Administration’s strategies to constrict offshore workers is that the skills shortage is forcing US companies to go back offshore for the necessary talent.

Read my article in Forbes

 

 

Are the Automation Savings Numbers You Hear Real? | Blog

By | Automation/RPA/AI, Blog

While today’s enterprises turn to automation for a multitude of competitive advantages, cost savings is at the top of their list. Through their marketing initiatives, often backed by client case studies and references, third-party service providers often boast automation-driven FTE reductions that save their clients millions of dollars.

Indeed, we’ve seen claims of savings to the tune of 30-70 percent FTE reductions. But our own data, culled from BPO deals on which we advise, show FTE reductions that are one-third to two-thirds lower.

Why is there such a significant gap? It’s because the service providers are calculating the reduction at the project level, instead of at the process level. While the numbers show well using a project level calculation, they’re very misleading, and often lead to disappointment.

Let’s take a quick look at an invoice processing example to see the glaring differences.

invoice processing example

As you see, an automation-driven invoice data extraction project in North America results in a 60 percent FTE reduction. Yet, when you expand the calculation to include invoice coding and exception handling in all operating regions – i.e., the enterprise-wide end-to-end invoicing process – the number drops to 10 percent. A 60 percent FTE reduction is highly enticing, and technically it’s correct. But it doesn’t show you the whole picture.

In order to properly assess the value of automation and develop your business case, you need to look at the percentage savings for the entire process. This is the only way you’ll obtain objective, realizable benefits data.

How can you find the automation savings data you need?

Your first thought might be to try and collect it from similar enterprises that have already implemented automation. But the numbers won’t be particularly reliable, as most enterprises are in the early days of their automation journey.

The most practical and valuable approach is to look at the BPO deal-based data for the entire process to be automated. Doing so gives you a realistic view of the automation-driven FTE savings for a couple of reasons. First, the FTE base for automation benefit calculation in deals is clearly defined in the baselining/RFP phase as the total number of FTEs in the process. And second, the FTE benefit numbers within deals are slightly more aggressive than the current norm, but because providers are continually refining their capabilities, they are comfortable with contractually committing to the higher numbers.

And remember that your BPO and/or RPA implementation provider should present this data to you to set realistic expectations. If they don’t, you’ll be armed with the ammunition you need.

Automation has the potential to greatly reduce your expenses. But before you leap, you need to carefully evaluate how the savings are being calculated. Your satisfaction depends on it.

If you’d like detailed insights on the FTE reduction numbers across different BPO processes within live BPO deals, please connect with us at [email protected] or visit https://www.everestgrp.com/research/domain-expertise/benchmarking/.

The Top Three Cloud Vendors Are Fighting An Ugly War, And It’s Only Going To Get Uglier | Blog

By | Blog, Cloud & Infrastructure, Uncategorized

With the massive size of the public cloud market, it’s reasonable to assume that there’s plenty of pie for each the top three vendors –Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft Azure (Azure) – to get their fill.

But the truth is that they’re all battling to capture even larger slices. While this type of war has happened in other technology segments, this one is unique because the market is growing at 30-40 percent year-over-year.

Here are a few examples of the current ugly wars these vendors are waging against each other.

AWS is luring away Azure customers. Channel checks suggest that AWS is incentivizing clients to move their Windows workloads to Linux. The next step is to move their SQL Server workloads to other databases (e.g, PostgreSQL). Of course, it won’t stop there; there will be an entire migration strategy in place. And there have even been a few instances in which AWS has funded clients’ early PoCs for this migration along with the implementation partner.

Azure is pushing for AWS migration. It isn’t uncommon for many mid-sized implementation partners to make their client pitch solely on the fact that they can migrate AWS virtual instances to Azure and achieve 20-30 percent, or more, cost savings. It also isn’t uncommon for Microsoft to bundle a lot of its offerings, e.g., Office 365, to create an attractive commercial bundling for its broader cloud portfolio against AWS, which lacks an enterprise applications play.

GCP is pushing Kubernetes cloud and Anthos. GCP’s key argument against AWS and Azure is that they are both “legacy clouds.” The entire Kubernetes cloud platform story is becoming very interesting and relevant for clients. More so, for newer workloads, such as AI, Machine Learning, and Containers, GCP is pushing hard to take the lead.

Each of these vendors will continue to find new avenues to create trouble for each other. Given that Azure and GCP are starting from a low base, AWS has more to lose.

So, how will the cloud war play out? Three things will happen going forward.

Stack lock-in

The vendors have realized that clients can relatively easily move their IaaS, and even PaaS, offerings to another cloud. Therefore, they’ll push to make their clients adopt native platform offerings that cannot be easily ported to different clouds (e.g., serverless). While some of the workloads will be interoperable across other clouds, parts will run only on one cloud vendor’s stack.

Preferred partnership for workloads

While the vendors will acknowledge that implementation partners will always have cloud alliances, they’ll push to have preferred partner status for specific workloads such as database lift and shift, IoT, and AI. For this, most cloud vendors will partner with strategy consulting firms and implementation partners to shape enterprises’ board room agenda.

Migration kits

In 2018, Google acquired cloud migration specialist Velostrata. This year, both AWS and Azure launched migration kits targeting each other’s clients. This battle will soon become even fiercer, and will encompass not only lift and shift VM migration, but also workloads such as database instances, DevOps pipelines, application run time, and even applications.

With the cloud giants at war, enterprises need to be cautious of where to place their bets. They need to realize that working with cloud vendors will become increasingly complex, because it’s not only about the offerings portfolio but also the engagement model.

Here are three things enterprises should focus on:

  • Ensure interoperability and migration: Enterprises need to make the cloud vendors demonstrate evidence of easy workload interoperability with and migration to other cloud platforms. They should also determine the target cloud vendor’s own native migration tool kits and services, regardless of what the selected implementation partner may use.
  • Stress test the TCO model: Enterprises need to understand the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the new services offered by the cloud vendors. Most of our clients think the cloud vendors’ “new offerings” are expensive. They believe there’s a lack of translation between the offerings and the TCO model. Enterprises should also stress test the presented cost savings use cases, and ask for strong references.
  • Get the right implementation partner: For simpler engagements, the cloud vendors are increasingly preferring smaller implementation partners as they are more agile. Though the vendors claim their pricing model doesn’t change for different implementation partners, enterprises need to ensure they are getting the best commercial construct from both external parties. For complex transformations, enterprises must do their own evaluation, rather than rely on cloud vendor-attached partners. Doing so will become increasingly important given that most implementation partners work across all the cloud vendors.

The cloud wars have just begun, and will become uglier going forward. The cloud vendors’ deep pockets, technological capabilities, myriad offerings, and sway over the market are making their rivalries different than anything your business has experienced in the past. This time, you need to be better prepared.

What do you think about the cloud wars? Please write to me at [email protected].

Four Guidelines for Success in Innovation in Digital Transformation | Blog

By | Blog, Digital Transformation

A problem afflicts many companies undertaking transformation: they aren’t ready for innovation. But they need innovation to change their competitive positioning in the market. Today, many companies want their IT organizations to partner with the business to create opportunities for innovation and supportive services that drive transformation. And they look to their procurement chief or sourcing organization to ensure that any services they buy support innovation. How important is this? It’s critical. In fact, how your company leverages its IT organization and sourcing organization is a determinant of success in digital transformation.

I talked recently with Gopi Suri, an executive who has a background of successfully positioning IT organizations to be more transformational in nature to support their company’s business. Suri shared with me his four guidelines for a successful outcome in digital transformation.

Read my blog on Forbes

Digital Investments are Helping Offshore Service Providers Reinvent Themselves | Blog

By | Automation/RPA/AI, Blog

Just a short five or so years ago, digital capabilities were a competitive differentiator for major service providers. Today, they’re a competitive must. As a result, global and offshore-heritage service providers alike are making significant investments in digital technologies such as blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and Internet of Things (IoT).

While the global players took the lead in building what is now a billion-dollar digital landscape, offshore-heritage service providers such as Infosys, TCS, and Wipro are quickly catching up. And their strategies to build and deliver greater value through digital-driven productivity and IP are clearly paying off. For example, our research found that their digital revenue jumped from 20 percent to 30 percent of their total revenue between Q1 2018 and Q1 2019.

Let’s look at how offshore-heritage service providers are upping their game with digital investments.

Internal digital-based capabilities

One of their strategies is to enhance the customer experience and improve efficiency through internal development of digital-based capabilities. For example:

  • Infosys launched AssistEdge Discover to increase the rate of automation implementations at the enterprise level through process discovery
  • TCS launched the connected intelligence data lake software on Amazon Web Services (AWS) to help clients build their own analytics services
  • Wipro made its AI and Machine learning (ML) solutions available on AWS to govern supply chain processes and enhance productivity and customer experience
  • Tech Mahindra launched NetOps.ai, its network automation and managed services framework, to speed up 5G network adoption
  • HCL launched iCE.X, an IoT device management platform, to bring intelligent IoT device management to telecom and media services, and increase IoT use case adoption.

Digital-focused acquisitions

As their initial reskill/upskill approach left them far behind global service providers’ inorganic approach, offshore-heritage service providers have taken the leap and started acquiring companies to obtain direct access to already-trained talent. For example:

  • Genpact acquired riskCanvas to access its suite of anti-money laundering (AML) solutions
  • Tech Mahindra acquired Dynacommerce, a computer software provider, to support its digital transformation strategy and enable a future-proof and future-ready digital experience for its customers
  • HCL acquired Strong-Bridge Envision (SBE), a digital transformation consulting firm, to leverage its capabilities in digital strategy development, agile program management, business transformation, and organizational change management. With this acquisition, SBE will become part of HCL’s global digital and analytics business
  • Tech Mahindra acquired K-Vision, a provider of mobile network solutions, for US$1.5 million to build and support the roll-out of a 4G and 5G telecom network in Japan. The acquisition will leverage the local presence and expertise of K-Vision to build its network services business in the country.

Partnership with startups

In order to develop skills and knowledge about these next-generation digital technologies in the general workforce, offshore-heritage service providers are partnering with niche start-ups to improve their agility/flexibility, reduce costs, and access stronger and better insights. For example:

  • Wipro partnered with RiskLens, a provider of cyber risk software and management solutions, to deliver quantitative cyber risk assessments to enterprise customers and government organizations
  • Tech Mahindra partnered with Rakuten Mobile Network to open a next-generation (4G and 5G) software-defined network lab. The partnership will help both the firms drive innovation and disruption in the 5G space
  • TCS partnered with JDA software to build next-generation cognitive solutions to optimize supply chains for customers. The partnership will develop joint, interoperable technology solutions for supply chains of the future, and accelerate human-machine collaboration to solve complex business problems
  • HCL partnered with Kneat.com, a software firm, to provide and implement next-generation digital solutions for facilities, equipment, and computer systems validation processes leveraging Kneat’s paperless software platform.

Future outlook

With digitalization on the rise across industries and product segments, and a bearish economy outlook in key markets such as the United States and Europe, offshore-heritage service providers will continue to invest heavily in next-gen technologies. This will help them to emerge as strong partners for global organizations to wade through their economic pressures.

To learn more about offshore providers’ digital strategies, key market trends, global locations activity, and service provider activity in Q2 2019, please see our Market Vista™ : Q2 2019 report.

Managing Services: A More Effective Approach | Blog

By | Blog, Digital Transformation

In a recent blog post, I explained that companies need to reconceive their services as an evolving journey and need to rethink how they manage services. That’s because services are becoming more strategic in a digital environment and require ongoing commitment and focus to ensure they deliver on their promise. Their evolving nature makes services a cascading change management challenge that remains as long as the service remains. One of the most difficult aspects that companies struggle with is how to build conviction and sustain momentum that they are successfully moving toward delivering value in the services.

Read my blog in Forbes

Can Your Shared Services Group Manage Enterprise Risk? | Blog

By | Blog, Shared Services/Global In-house Centers

The financial crisis of the late 2000s, increasingly stringent regulatory requirements, growing competitive pressures, and a host of other factors have vaulted the risk management function to new heights of strategic importance for banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) companies.

Our ongoing research in the sector shows that most enterprises handle risk management out of their onshore headquarters locations, rather than giving ownership of the function to their offshore shared services centers, or what we call Global in-house Centers (GIC).

When we asked BFSI companies why they were keeping risk management on their home turf, they cited several reasons:

  • Because they’re still trying to streamline their risk management frameworks, structures, and processes, they’re unclear what to keep onshore and what to offshore to GICs
  • As risk management is becoming an increasingly critical component of the overall enterprise strategy, they view offshoring the function as a risky move
  • They’re concerned that the offshore talent lacks the needed business acumen and understanding of sourcing geography’s regulations
  • They feel constant interaction and frequent coordination with multiple business units and teams is the first line of defense for reducing risk at the origin

What’s the common thread behind all these rationales? They’re all perceptions, rather than reality.

In fact, our research shows that GICs are particularly well-suited to deliver the risk management function. Why?

  • Many shared services organizations are the driving force behind their enterprise’s digital, automation, and analytics initiatives, and their deep knowledge in these specialized capabilities can be highly useful in the risk management function. And there are synergies in areas such as risk modeling, forecasting, scenario analysis, and reporting. For example, a leading bank’s GIC has successfully automated local regulatory reporting, and is transitioning to be a centralized reporting team
  • There is a dearth of risk talent globally, but offshore GIC locations, such as India and Poland, have strong, solid pools of talent with deep risk management knowledge. This talent is coming from their domestic market (e.g., local banks) and existing GICs that, over time, have scaled their risk management function
  • To deliver real risk management value to the business, the GIC and the group risk team must be integrated; shared services groups have already cracked this operating model way back in areas such as investment research (e.g., sell-side and buy-side) and actuaries (e.g., pricing and valuation).

How can your shared services organization assume responsibility for your enterprise’s risk management function? Like most GICs, yours was probably established to handle scale-oriented transactional work. But risk is about value, not scale. So, you need to change your parent company’s mindset about your group’s capabilities by proactively identifying, proposing, and demonstrating how you can add value and be a strategic partner in managing risk.

Here are a couple of examples that may help get your creative juices flowing:

  • One GIC parlayed its experience with machine learning algorithms to build “Challenger Models” that significantly increase the precision of dataset validation for its company’s credit analysis
  • Another shared services group championed creation of its company’s “Operational Risk Center of Excellence” through process enhancements, global transformation projects, continuous process review and improvement mechanisms. This helped streamline and simplify various processes and risk frameworks.

Our two cents to enterprises: you stand to lose a lot if your risk management capability isn’t up to snuff. Your best solution may be right in front of you, even if not geographically right next to you.

3 Walls IT Leaders Must Take Down | Blog

By | Blog

The supportive IT services that delighted businesses yesterday seldom spark the same delight today. Companies just expect IT to deliver quality technology components and services at an ever-decreasing cost per unit: That’s considered “hygiene.” Now they want IT to create new business value. But many CIOs and IT groups make three operational mistakes that build walls between the IT organization and the rest of the business. Those walls must be broken down.

Read my article on The Enterprisers Project

Companies Need To Rethink How They Manage Services In A Digital Environment | Blog

By | Blog, Digital Transformation

Buying services is no longer a matter of decisions that stand independently, like buying technology or products. In the past, many companies had the misconception that services are “one and done” or that they could be built and then be fine or at least fine for three or four years. But that’s not the case. Services are more of a journey – long-term commitments whose nature constantly evolves over time. It’s crucial that companies recognize this fact and that they rethink how they buy and manage services today. Why? Because the digital economy requires integrating more services into offerings, and they are becoming more integral to a company’s value proposition to customers and stakeholders.

Read my blog on Forbes

What Analytics Hot Spot Is Right For Your BFSI Business? | Blog

By | Banking, Financial Services & Insurance

Enterprises that operate in the BFSI industry are the biggest consumers of analytics services. They realized earlier than companies in other sectors how powerful analytics can be in offering targeted and customer-centric solutions, exploiting the massive amount of available data, meeting dynamic customer demands with their expectation for real-time solutions, and helping them adapt to changing business environments.

There are four different regions around the world that provide analytics services to BFSI companies: India, Asia-Pacific (APAC,) nearshore Europe, and Latin America. Each has its own unique capabilities, characteristics, and value proposition.

To help BFSI firms select the right delivery location for their specific needs, we recently completed a “Locations Insider Report” named Global Hotspots – Analytics in BFSI.

Following is a look at the findings. To add context to them, we classify analytics solutions into four types based on their sophistication and business impact, as you see here.

What Analytics Hot Spot is Right for Your BFSI Business?

India

India is the leading delivery destination for analytics services in the BFSI industry. It has a large talent pool (more than 65 percent of the global sourcing FTEs in nearshore/offshore locations,) and offers high cost arbitrage. Because of these factors, a large number of BFSI companies have chosen to set up analytics Centers of Excellence (CoE) in key tier-1 locations such as Bangalore, Delhi NCR, and Mumbai. While both tier-1 and tier-2 locations support traditional analytics services delivery, and largely support customer, fraud, and finance risk analytics functions, advanced analytics services delivery is concentrated in tier-1 cities.

India is also seeing an uptick in start-up activity in analytics services delivery across multiple functions including customer, credit, fraud, and risk. Because these service provider start-ups can provide accelerated access to skilled resources either through partnerships or acquisitions, BFSI companies may want to factor this into their location selection strategy. In the PEAK Matrix evaluation included in our report, Bengaluru and Delhi emerged as “Leaders” because of their high cost arbitrage and significant talent availability. We identified Mumbai as a “Major Contender” due to its healthy mix of cost arbitrage and talent availability, and high maturity in traditional analytics services delivery.

APAC (excluding India)

Manila and Shanghai are the top locations in the APAC region. While services delivery is dominated by service providers offering traditional analytics services, a few locations also have a sizable shared services – or global in-house center – presence. The geography primarily supports finance and fraud risk management functions, and some companies are setting up analytics CoEs.

Nearshore Europe

In nearshore Europe, the top analytics services delivery locations are Budapest, Edinburgh, Prague, and Warsaw. While companies leverage the geography for both traditional and advanced analytics, advanced analytics services delivery for fraud and finance risk management is gaining traction, primarily due to region’s availability of high-quality talent and the ability to support work in many European languages. Certain nearshore locations, such as Belfast and Edinburgh, support high-end predictive and prescriptive analytics, not only because a highly qualified workforce is available, but also because of the need for advanced processes to be in proximity with business customers. Just like India, Poland is experiencing an uptick in start-up analytics service providers.

Latin America

Latin America is an emerging destination for analytics services. One of its key advantages is its ability to provide real-time monitoring and data analysis to the North American market due to its similar time zone. BFSI companies primarily leverage key locations in the region, such as Mexico City and Sao Paulo, for traditional analytics services across risk management functions such as credit and fraud.

Because of all that’s at stake, BFSI companies need to carefully evaluate locations for analytics services delivery against their specific business requirements. To learn more about the global analytics services landscape – availability of both entry-level and employed talent pool, market maturity, cost of operations across top locations, and implications for stakeholders including service providers, GICs, BFSI companies, country associations, and industry bodies – please read our recently released report, “Global Hotspots – Analytics in BFSI.”