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Why is Leadership Changing in India’s Service Provider Firms? | Blog

By | Blog

Leading service providers in India are going through substantial change due to executive leadership churn. The question is: is this bad? To answer, let’s look at what’s driving the churn and how long it’s likely to continue, and why.

Take Cognizant, for example. The firm has gone through leadership change for some time. First, it changed the chairman of the board and a few board members. Then it changed the CEO. With the recent resignations of Debashis Chaterjee, EVP and President, Global Delivery, and Prasad Chintamaneni, EVP and President, Global Industries and Consulting, we’re now seeing turnover in the next level down in executive leadership. And I believe we can expect more turnover.

Similar churn has been happening at other services companies given the fact that each of the top five India heritage companies announced a new CEO in the past three years.

What’s Driving the Executive Churn?

Underpinning the leadership turnover is the providers’ move to a new business model. They shifted away from struggling with the issues of the labor arbitrage model and moved to the digital platform model. As companies move down this path, I think it’s natural for their leadership to evolve.

Evolving the executive leadership is natural because the old guard must give way to the new guard – firms must bring in fresh thinking. The prejudices, paradigm and old rules of thumb don’t work in the new digital model (or, at least, only a few of them work). To succeed in this transition, the firms must change their thinking. One way to do that is changing the leadership.

The offshore services majors have extraordinarily deep talent benches. To keep their deep talent pools, they need to provide opportunities for them to progress and move on to more senior roles. When the senior teams move on, it opens opportunities for this talent. And it’s an opportunity to being in some new blood from the outside. That talent combination can be quite healthy, particularly at a time where companies are no longer scaling the known, existing model. Instead, they are moving into uncharted waters with a new business model that is evolving and being defined.

Another manifestation of the executive leadership churn is taking place at TCS, which is handling the digital shift differently. The firm reorganized to give its deep talent pool opportunities and new responsibilities. Instead of executives leaving TCS, we see a substantial reorganization that opens opportunities for the young blood, new talent, to take on more executive responsibilities. TCS handled this in a different mechanism to achieve the same goals as Cognizant – bringing new blood through. TCS retained its old blood by giving them different responsibilities and by shaking things up and moving people around.

This is what’s happening, and it affects pretty much all the service industry’s firms.

How Long Will the Leadership Churn Continue?

The executive leadership churn is predicated upon the fundamental industry shift into a new business model, which naturally causes this turnover. The turnover is healthy and inevitable, given the degree of organizational change going on.

I think it’s prudent to watch for too much of a good thing. However, the turnover is inevitable. I believe we’ll see more change as companies navigate and embrace the new digital future and move deliberately into that future.

Global Service Delivery Locations: Where to Go, Where Not to Go! | Blog

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

Long gone are the days of selecting offshore/nearshore service delivery locations with a regional/local interpretation of demand, a focus on cost savings, and an emphasis on service delivery in and of itself. Today, it is evolving to include a global view of demand, an increasing focus on talent quality and capacity for innovation, and the involvement of group-level strategy at its core.

So, which locations will help enterprises fulfill their requirements? Where can they place a long-term bet for a sustainable strategy that provides a competitive edge against their competitors?

Everest Group’s viewpoint, “2019 Locations Predictions: Follow the Talent,” reveals location-specific forecasts that can guide organizations on how to transform their global delivery location strategies.

Everest Group’s Predictions for Global Services Delivery Locations

Asia

As companies look for large-scale rebalancing and consolidation/right-sizing to fewer centers, the primary focus of a location strategy will be talent quality and availability. Asia has the largest talent pool with varied skillsets for IT, digital, Engineering and R&D (ER&D), and BPS service delivery.

India – India will continue to progress in the next three to five years, driven by growth in the digital and ER&D functions, as well as the increase in the availability of depth and breadth of talent. Cities such as Hyderabad and Pune will experience the highest traction due to increasing demand for complex IT and high-end R&D work from the technology and BFSI giants.

The Philippines – The Philippines will continue its dominance as one of the largest voice-BPS markets, and will also experience growth in IT services, accentuated by a faster rotation into digital such as customer analytics and social media-driven services. We expect increased traction in locations beyond Manila, such as Iloilo, Quezon, Taguig, and Davao, given their attractive cost proposition and untapped talent pools.

Malaysia – Malaysia will continue to grow, especially in the multilingual BPS, banking-BPS, and digital sectors, due to the increasing demand from Southeast Asian markets and global BFSI majors.

Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA)

As companies consolidate their portfolios, and as technology and design thinking-based approaches blur the boundaries between IT and BPS, cross-functional collaboration will become critical to achieving digitalization and faster time-to-market. The EMEA region provides an ecosystem that enables companies to tap into talent that can multi-task, and is more suited for cross-functional center setups.

Poland – Poland will overtake Canada to become the third largest location in the world for BPS delivery, given its expansion of multi-functional delivery centers across various verticals and its strong government support. Cities such as Krakow, Warsaw, and Wroclaw will see traction in high-end IT services, with players setting up digital innovation hubs, including blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and AI.

Ireland – Ireland will experience the fastest growth in the region due to strong government support, well-developed infrastructure, and the increasing trend across global majors to shift their headquarters away from the United Kingdom because of Brexit uncertainties. Beyond Dublin, we also expect higher BPS growth in tier-2/3 locations such as Cork, Limerick, and Galway.

Israel – Israel will witness a significant uptick in next-generation IT services including big data, cybersecurity, cloud, and IoT, driven by a focus on research and close collaboration between academia and industry.

Americas

The rise of reshoring amidst the protectionist policies adopted by leading source geographies, including the United States, is driving companies to scrutinize and consolidate their service delivery portfolios. The Americas region is becoming a preferred choice for firms, given the ease of coordination with onshore teams, better alignment/training, and customer intimacy.

Costa Rica – Costa Rica will experience an increase in center set-up activity, although the typical scale of operations might decline due to the focus on delivering agile transformation and automation solutions to support North American operations.

Jamaica – Jamaica will see accelerated growth, especially in the BPS segment, on the back of availability of a large English-speaking talent pool and dedicated government investments to enhance the business environment.

Canada – Canada will also witness accelerated growth, particularly due to high government investments in attracting foreign investors, and especially in the IT and digital services space. Uncertainty around U.S. government policies will further drive enterprises to expand beyond existing U.S. delivery centers, especially Canada.

In today’s complex, and often volatile, environment, a tightly defined and carefully crafted location strategy is increasingly critical to enterprises’ long-term success. For more details on Everest Group’s Predictions for Global Services Delivery Locations, please see our viewpoint, “2019 Locations Predictions: Follow the Talent” or contact Parul Jain or Anish Agarwal directly.

Substantial Change as HR Becomes Data Driven and Employee-Oriented | Blog

By | Blog, Talent

The need to change is coming to the HR world, and it’s happening quickly. It will necessitate substantial changes in the HR mind-set, the way HR groups are organized, the supporting technology and the amount of resources invested in HR. What is driving this incredibly changing universe of HR? And what does it mean for the future of enterprise HR and for third-party HR service providers?

Rapidly changing workforce demographics, coupled with imminent talent deficits, has shifted the HR spotlight to the employee experience rather than an enterprise-facing experience. Thus, it’s now necessary for companies to take a direct-to-consumer approach (the “consumer” being an existing or potential employee).

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Busting Four Edge Computing Myths | Blog

By | Blog, Cloud & Infrastructure

Interest in edge computing – which moves data storage, computing, and networking closer to the point of data generation/consumption – has grown significantly over the past several years (as highlighted in the Google Trends search interest chart below). This is because of its ability to reduce latency, lower the cost of data transmission, enhance data security, and reduce pressure on bandwidth.

Interest over time on Google

 

But, as discussions around edge computing have increased, so have misconceptions around the potential applications and benefits of this computing architecture. Here are a few myths that we’ve encountered during discussions with enterprises.

Myth 1: Edge computing is just an idea on the drawing board

Although some believe that edge computing is still in the experimental stages with no practical applications, many supply-side players have already made significant investments in bringing new solutions and offerings to the market. For example, Vapor IO is building a network of decentralized data centers to power edge computing use cases. Saguna is building capabilities in multi access edge computing. Swim.ai allows developers to create streaming applications in real time to process data from connected devices locally. Leading cloud computing players, including Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, are all offering their own edge computing platform. Dropbox formed its edge network to give its customers faster access to their files. And Facebook, Netflix, and Twitter use edge computing for content delivery.

With all these examples, it’s clear that edge computing has advanced well beyond the drawing board.

Myth 2: Edge computing supports only IoT use cases

Processing data on a connected device, such as a surveillance camera, to enable real-time decision making is one of the most common use cases of edge computing. This Internet of Things (IoT) context is what brought edge computing to the center stage, and understandably so. Indeed, our report on IoT Platforms highlights how edge analytics capabilities serve as a key differentiator for leading IoT platform vendors.

However, as detailed in our recently published Edge Computing white paper, the value and role of edge computing extends far beyond IoT.

Edge computing

For example, in online streaming, it makes HD content delivery and live streaming latency free. Its real-time data transfer ability counters what’s often called “virtual reality sickness” in online AR/VR-based gaming. And its use of local infrastructure can help organizations optimize their web sites. For example, faster payments processing will directly increase an e-commerce company’s revenue.

Myth 3: Real-time decision making is the only driver for edge computing

There’s no question that one of edge computing’s key value propositions is its ability to enable real-time decisions. But there are many more use cases in which it adds value beyond reduced latency.

For example, its ability to enhance data security helps manufacturing firms protect sensitive and sometimes highly confidential information. Video surveillance, where cameras constantly capture images for analysis, can generate hundreds of petabytes of data every day. Edge computing eases bandwidth pressure and significantly reduces costs. And when connected devices operate in environments with intermittent to no connectivity, it can process data locally.

Myth 4: Edge spells doom for cloud computing

Much of the talk around edge computing presents that the current cloud computing architecture is not suited to power new age use cases and technologies. This has led to attention grabbing headlines about edge spelling the doom of cloud computing, with developers moving all their applications to the edge. However, edge and cloud computing share a symbiotic relationship. Edge is best suited to run workloads that are less data intensive and require real-time analysis. These include streaming analytics, running the inference phase for machine learning (ML) algorithms, etc. Cloud, on the other hand, powers edge computing by running data intensive workloads such as training the ML algorithms, maintaining databases related to end-user accounts, etc. For example, in the case of autonomous cars, edge enables real-time decision making related to obstacle recognition while cloud stores long-term data to train the car software to learn to identify and classify obstacles. Clearly, edge and cloud computing cannot be viewed in exclusion to each other.

To learn more about edge computing and to discover our decision-making framework for adopting edge computing, please read our Edge Computing white paper.

Protect Yourself from Cyber-breaches: Digital Forensics and Incident Response | Blog

By | Blog, IT Security

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, a staggering 1,200+ breaches were reported in 2018. A breach can wreak havoc on a business, including – but not limited to – loss of revenue and reputational harm. And poor incident response can compound that damage, as demonstrated by breaches at Deloitte, Equifax, Uber, and Yahoo.

Some enterprises are recognizing the importance of being prepared and able to respond to attacks: 22 percent of respondents to a 2018 Everest Group survey rated “reduction in time/effort to detect, respond, and recover from breaches” as their top strategic priority in next 12-24 months.

But given the dangers, 100 percent of enterprises need to think through and create an effective risk mitigation strategy. This is where Digital Forensics and Incident Response (DFIR) can be essential. Combining incident response with deep forensic analysis to collect and examine digital evidence on electronic devices, an effective DFIR strategy can help mitigate business risks in the early stages of an attack.

Twin Forces Driving DFIR adoption

Starting on the DFIR journey: an enterprise perspective

The first step in the journey is establishing forensic analysis and incident response teams responsible for reporting, incident handling, and monitoring when a breach is detected.

The incident response team should have specific training in areas such as file systems and operating system design, and have knowledge of possible network and host attack vectors.

After a breach is detected, the forensic analysts must work closely with the incident response team to address several issues, such as isolating affected systems and making containment decisions, based on existing device, access, and data security policies. Enterprises must also update their policies regularly to stay ahead of attackers.

Putting DFIR into action

An effective incident response plan should include the following components:

Enterprise action items following breach detection

A guided approach to creating a DFIR strategy

Enterprises without a cyber-attack incident response plan leave themselves open to potentially insurmountable losses. Despite the danger, they often face significant challenges in creating a plan. These challenges include:

  • Limited budget for plan development and forensic analysis
  • Lack of built-in approval systems to kick off incident response
  • Lack of support for cyber insurance policies
  • Lack of adequate skill sets to perform forensic analysis.

Our guided approach to developing a DFIR strategy can help enterprises evaluate and onboard digital forensics as part of their overall cybersecurity strategy.

DFIR strategy for enterprises

Specialist DFIR offerings can help

As many enterprises aren’t equipped to improve their security posture and reduce incident response times on their own, specialist DFIR vendors – such as CrowdStrike, Cylance, and Mandiant – can assist with suites of holistic offerings. In contrast with managed security services (MSS) players, specialist DFIR vendors lead with localization as their core value proposition. Their product-centric service offerings, localization, and a guided approach help enterprises build resilient business are valuable resources for enterprises.

In fact, DFIR capabilities are becoming a deal clincher/breaker in large security transformation deals between enterprises and MSS providers. Enterprises need to carefully analyze the value proposition of their current/potential MSS partners serving as their DFIR vendor. The following checklist can help enterprises determine if their MSS providers can provide DFIR services.

Enterprises MSS Partner checklist for DFIR capabilities

Approaching DFIR in the digital world

Today’s business environment has dramatically changed the way enterprises need to address DFIR. Adoption of digital technologies such as cloud, IoT, mobility, software defined everything (SDX), etc., has made traditional forensics techniques obsolete. And issues such as evidence acquisition, validation, and cataloging are just the tip of the iceberg.

The following new approach can help enterprises effectively protect themselves against cyber attacks in the digital world.

The new approach to DFIR

Given what’s at stake, enterprises must understand that remaining in the dark about potential breaches can prove significantly more devastating than the time and resources required to build or onboard competent digital forensics capabilities. DFIR can be a challenge, but it’s worth it.

Please reach out to us at [email protected] and [email protected] if you are interested in exploring DFIR in further detail.

Journey Migrating to Hybrid Cloud has Three Issues Crucial to Success | Blog

By | Blog, Cloud & Infrastructure

When companies undertake digital transformation, it’s crucial that they keep executive and organizational support throughout the multi-year journey. An effective strategy for getting and sustaining that support is to focus on the “moments that matter” to the executives and/or users. Those are the moments (or events, decisions, actions) that comprise the most important issues to decide and evolve on the journey – things that the company must get right.

Leaders must not only communicate effectively about those moments but also deal with the related challenges along the way. Otherwise, progress on the digital transformation journey will slow or the journey will be derailed and likely will fail. To avoid either of these outcomes, let’s consider three moments that matter in a common digital initiative – migrating to a hybrid cloud environment.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Need for Vendor Management in Procurement To Transform | Blog

By | Blog

Historically, vendor management teams built strong skill sets in acquiring services at low/competitive unit-cost prices and measuring vendor performance. But the world changed, and there is a growing misalignment between the purchasing and vendor management and the business units they serve. Businesses say the vendor management teams buy things cheaply but don’t buy the things that meet the business needs or deliver the outcomes the business wants. Businesses are asking for more value, and it’s not unusual for Everest Group’s vendor management and CPO clients to ask us for help in how they can better partner with their company’s business. This blog looks at how the current practices are ineffective in aligning with the business and how vendor management needs to change so it can deliver the value the business expects.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Banks Increasingly Tapping the Extended Ecosystem to Reverse Their Fortune | Blog

By | Banking, Financial Services & Insurance, Blog

To reverse their precipitous loss of competitive advantage and market share, traditional banks are increasingly transforming themselves from financial products/services providers into customer lifestyle experience orchestrators. One of the key levers they’re pushing to bring about this innovation turnaround is expansion of their ecosystem to include academics, regulators, FinTechs, telecom firms, and technology vendors.

Everest Group’s recently-released report, Guide to Building and Managing the Banking Innovation Ecosystem – Case Study and Examples from 40 Global Banks, revealed four distinct ways in which banks are working with the ecosystem to drive their innovation strategy.

FinTechs

This is all about exploiting the symbiotic relationship between banks and FinTechs. Serving as “enablers,” FinTechs are helping banks provide more choices to customers and expand the set of services and features in their current offering. For example, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) collaborated with WaveApps to integrate invoicing, accounting and business financial insights into its online business banking platform. This enables RBC’s small business clients to seamlessly manage their full business financial services’ needs — from banking and bookkeeping to invoicing — in a single place with a single sign-on.

Taking on the “enabler” role, banks allow FinTechs to gain access to their customers, data, capital, experience, and platform. This collaboration helps FinTechs avoid the challenges they face in scaling their services independently.

Banks and FinTechs are also combining their unique strengths to solve specific business/customer issues in co-branded partnerships. As the banking industry moves towards lifestyle orchestration services, banks need to launch products that cut across industries such as travel & hospitality, manufacturing, and retail & CPG. This can be achieved by meaningful cross-industry collaborations like the one between Citi and Lazada Group, an e-Commerce site in Southeast Asia. The partnership allows Citi card holders to enjoy a discount of up to 15 percent on selected days when shopping on Lazada, while shoppers who sign up for a new Citi credit card receive additional discounts on Lazada. The move drives growth in Citi’s cards business via increased customer loyalty.

Internal innovation

To build their internal innovation ecosystem, banks are conducting hackathons and establishing digital R&D hubs that help them retain talent and bridge the digital skills gap. For instance, Bank of America launched its Global Technology and Operations Development Program – which is called GT&O University – to train workers for new and evolving roles related to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. This has helped the bank not only upskill its workforce but also enhance its retention-oriented employee value proposition. And banks, including ING, are tapping open banking by providing external developers, industry innovators, and clients with access to their APIs. This helps them expand their offerings, provide new channels to serve customers, build new experiences for clients, and enable open collaboration.

Investments

Banks are closely tracking the innovation ecosystem through multiple programs such as investments, incubation support, and partnerships to avoid threats of disruption and competitive disadvantage. This includes investments across academic institutions, startups, and service providers. Interestingly, our research suggests that banks are likely to continue investing in startups via acquisitions or venture capital financing to accelerate their transformation efforts. This is evident from TD Bank’s recent acquisition of Layer 6, a Canada-based AI startup, which adds new capabilities to TD’s growing base of innovation talent and know-how.

Co-innovation

Through co-innovation partnerships with startups, consortiums, academic institutions, and technology giants, banks are jointly developing innovative solutions and technology. Leading banks are forming consortiums with other banks, technology firms, and other participants across industries to solve industry-wide issues such as cybersecurity, API security, and regulatory technology, building platforms and standards for the industry. For instance, TD Bank joined the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity to co-develop new cyber risk management technologies. And HSBC is working with IBM to jointly establish a cognitive intelligence solution combining optical character recognition with robotics to make global trade safer and more efficient.

To learn more about banks’ leverage of the extended ecosystem to drive competitive advantage, and details on the “why’s” and “where’s” banks are focusing their innovation efforts, please see our report titled “Guide to Building and Managing the Banking Innovation Ecosystem – Case Study and Examples from 40 Global Banks.

Issues in CPO And Sourcing Organization Digital Effectiveness | Blog

By | Blog, Digital Transformation

There is a useful framework or construct for activities and issues that are critical to an organization’s success. We call these issues “moments that matter.” By focusing on the activities in moments that matter, an organization can ensure that employees and managers are effective in their jobs; it’s also a way to differentiate between hygiene activities and critical activities. Take the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) role or sourcing organization, for instance. Consider the following moments that matter to their success so you can ensure they are equipped for the moments that matter to your company. These moments and activities separate CPO organizations that are highly effective from those that merely go through the motions

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Offshore Service Providers Embracing M&A to Regain Market Share from Global Counterparts | Blog

By | Blog, Digital Transformation

Offshore-heritage service providers’ cost arbitrage value proposition served them well in the outsourcing industry’s earlier days. But to gain competitive advantage in the digital age, clients’ expectations over the past several years have evolved to include value-add capabilities, innovation, industry-specific expertise and skill-sets, etc. In turn, offshore service providers increasingly lost market share to global service providers that made heavy inorganic M&A investments in these areas.

Following the global service providers’ lead, many offshore providers took the M&A path to growth. And the results have been astounding. In fact, our Q1 2019 Market Vista report shows that the offshore providers’ revenue grew by 8 percent in 2018, as compared to the global providers’ 2 percent growth.

Offshore heritage SPs increase their wallet share through acquisitions & aggressive pricing

Where have the offshore providers been investing their M&A dollars?

New technological capabilities

Because of clients’ digital-oriented mandate, the majority of offshore providers’ acquisitions have been to obtain new technological capabilities such as cloud, cybersecurity, analytics, and automation. For example, Wipro in 2018 acquired Cooper, a design consultancy firm, for US$8.5 million to expand its design and digital innovation capabilities in North America. And TCS acquired Bridgepoint Capital to expand its capabilities in the financial services and insurance domain, particularly in U.S. retirement services.

Offshore based service provider developments

Start-ups

Due to lack of skills and knowledge about these next-generation digital technologies in the general workforce, offshore service providers are acquiring niche start-ups to:

  • plug gaps in their portfolios
  • quickly enter domains where sizable language and cultural barriers exist
  • improve their agility/flexibility
  • reduce their costs
  • access stronger and better insights
  • improve processes.

In fact, our most recent Market Vista report showed that start-ups accounted for as many as 50 percent of offshore players’ acquisitions in Q4 2018, compared to 42 percent in Q3 2018.

For example, Cognizant acquired Mustache, a creative content agency start-up, to expand its digital content capabilities by leveraging Mustache’s innovative approach to planning, producing, and distributing compelling video content and programming. Infosys acquired Fluido, a Salesforce Cloud consultancy start-up, for US$76 million to help clients in digital transformation and strengthen its position as a Salesforce enterprise cloud service provider.

Talent

Because offshore-heritage service providers’ initial reskill/upskill approach left them far behind global service providers’ inorganic approach, they’ve taken the leap and started acquiring companies to obtain direct access to already-trained talent. For example, Wipro acquired Syfte, a design firm, to strengthen its design and innovation capabilities in Australia and Asia Pacific. Under the agreement, Syfte’s talent will join Designit, a subsidiary of Wipro, to enhance the transformation services offered by Wipro Digital. Similarly, Genpact acquired Barkawi, a supply chain management consultancy, to add talent with consulting and digital technology capabilities in supply chain management and aftermarket services.

To learn more offshore providers’ M&A strategies, key market trends, global locations activity, and service provider activity in Q4 2018, please see our Market VistaTM: Q1 2019 report.