Tag: service providers

Wipro’s Big Bet With New CEO Thierry Delaporte | Blog

Last Friday, May 29, Wipro appointed Capgemini’s former COO, Thierry Delaporte, as its new CEO and MD. This is an intriguing time for Wipro to change its leadership. The third-party services industry is now at an inflection point, and there are typically opportunities for market share shifts to happen at these points. Here is my point of view on the inflection point, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, and other main factors at play, which shape Delaporte’s challenge and Wipro’s opportunity.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Impact of Coronavirus on Service Delivery Is Limited But Ongoing | Blog

This is the second in a series of blogs that explores a range of topics related to these issues and will naturally evolve as events unfold and facts reveal themselves. The blogs are in no way intended to provide scientific or health expertise, but rather focus on the implications and options for service delivery organizations.

These insights are based on our ongoing interactions with organizations operating in impacted areas, our expertise in global service delivery, and our previous experience with clients facing challenges from the SARS, MERS, and Zika viruses, as well as other unique risk situations.

To date, over 99 percent of the officially confirmed total of 45,000 (61,000 if the Chinese authorities’ newly expanded definition is used) Covid-19, or Coronavirus, cases are inside China. The impact of the virus is pronounced in a core group of ten Chinese provinces: Hubei, where the virus originated, the six neighboring provinces of Shaanxi, Heinan, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hunan, and Chongqing, plus the adjacent coastal provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, and Zheijiang. As of February 9, these areas account for 90 percent of the total reported confirmed cases and 92 percent of China’s new cases.

While supply chain organizations in these provinces are facing severe impacts due to closures, we believe the level of exposure to risk of disruption for service delivery organizations is limited because the service delivery centers are largely servicing internal customers, which are themselves operating at reduced capacity or are closed completely until further notice.

Data from Everest Group Market Intelligence (EGMI) shows that there are 51 Global Inhouse Centers (GICs) – or shared services centers – and 20 service provider delivery centers located in these 10 provinces. Of the seven GICs in Hubei at the epicenter of the outbreak, two, owned by FedEx and UPS respectively, are thought to deliver internal shared services to domestic and near-Asian employees. The rest are technology research or innovation centers.

In view of restrictions imposed by the Chinese government, provincial governments, or companies implementing business continuity protocols, it is highly likely that most, if not all, of these delivery centers are closed and will remain so until further notice.

Examples of the restrictions imposed by the authorities or by companies themselves that have been in place for at least two weeks and look set to remain include:

  • The Chinese government extended the New Year holiday, which began on January 24, to February 2. Authorities in in 24 provinces and cities further extended closures by a week to February 9, and many businesses look set to remain closed the week of February 10; authorities in Beijing have urged businesses to adopt flexible working policies, including working from home
  • Places of business in Hubei will remain closed until February 15 at the earliest
  • With extensive internal travel restrictions in place, many workers who had returned to their home provinces for the New Year holiday are now unable to return to work
  • All multinationals with offices in China and Hong Kong have imposed either complete travel bans (Amazon, Ford, Google, HSBC, and LG) or non-essential travel (GM, Johnson & Johnson, P&G, PwC, and Siemens) to and from mainland China
  • Many multinationals have imposed a work from home policy for all staff in China and Hong Kong until further notice; in some cases, this policy has been backed by widescale closure of offices and facilities
  • Some businesses have cancelled meetings or conferences involving large numbers of international participants, including, for example, Citibank’s annual investor conference in Singapore, ZTE’s press briefing at MWC in Barcelona, and Ericsson’s attendance at MWC in Barcelona.

As an example of specific defensive measures businesses are taking, all businesses and public facilities in Singapore, in accordance with government guidelines issued on February 10, are now:

  • Scanning people entering and leaving buildings for raised temperature
  • Increasing the frequency and intensity of cleaning
  • Making hand sanitizer widely available
  • Requiring all visitors to make a health and travel declaration
  • Issuing face masks to staff who interact with members of the public

It is possible that some enterprises will use the disruption caused by the outbreak as justification for cost cutting and capacity reduction, but we don’t yet see clear evidence of that.

Visit our COVID-19 resource center to access all our COVD-19 related insights.

Companies Waste Or Overpay Service Vendors At Least 10% | Blog

Organizations buy services from a wide variety of service providers — ranging from managed services for IT applications and infrastructure, contingent labor to supplement gaps in skills and availability, cloud services, business process services, and more. We at Everest Group looked at the administration of these contractual relationships and discovered that most organizations leave tens of millions of dollars on the table. Why does this happen and what is the answer to this dilemma?

Read my blog on Forbes

How To Get Innovation From Service Providers and Vendors | Blog

Companies today hold all business functions to a mandate for innovation. Innovation should create business value (a better experience for employees, customers, and partners). It should create agility and speed. It should make business functions more easily adaptable, easier to change. And it should also lower the cost of the functions over time. The benefits are clear and obvious. But the truth is innovation is illusive and hard to get.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

5 Types of Outsourcing Providers — and How to Get the Most from Them | In the News

As corporate technology leaders pursue their digital transformation strategies, many are looking to IT service providers as potential partners in those change efforts. However, a one-size-fits-all approach to outsourcing providers is not likely to serve CIOs well in meeting innovation goals. In fact, bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better in the digital change era.

“Traditionally, size was a good proxy for capability, especially when technology was viewed fundamentally as an enabler of efficiency,” says Jimit Arora, partner in Everest Group’s IT Services practice.

Read more in CIO

Consequences For Customers From Current Services Industry Disruption | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

The services industry is in disruption, pivoting from highly profitable but mature labor arbitrage factories to a rapidly growing, immature new market based on automation and software-defined market with digital platforms generating value. Most large companies have outsourced numerous IT and business process functions and now depend on the supply chain of services. However, I’m forecasting a services industry consolidation and substantial change in the supply base. Enterprises should seriously consider the impact and risks this market consolidation means for their business.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

New Infosys CEO Salil Parekh Brings Commitment to Digital Transformation | Sherpas Blue Shirts

Recently, Infosys appointed Salil S. Parekh, formerly a Group Executive Board member at Capgemini, as CEO and MD of Infosys. His selection was a surprising choice. He lacks the industry profile of Infosys’ prior CEOs and has no prior experience as a CEO. But I believe he is a talented executive who is well positioned to continue the existing Infosys strategy and is committed to building the next generation of Indian services. He understands all that an Indian talent base can offer while also understanding the need to broaden the global talent base and lead Infosys into a becoming a digital transformation leader. I believe the following perspectives are critical when evaluating the impact of this new leader at Infosys.

The Advantages He Brings to Infosys

As I blogged in August 2017 when Vishal Sikka resigned as CEO, the new Infosys CEO will need to make bold, decisive moves to position the company for the future. Specifically, I think he brings the following advantages to Infosys:

  • Strong credentials and deep practical knowledge in using a consulting-led approach to build a global transformation services business. Under his leadership, I expect Infosys to strengthen its consulting capabilities and use them to position the firm as a first-choice digital transformation company. Prior to joining Capgemini, he was senior partner at E&Y and used that financial services consulting team experience to help Capgemini into one of the fastest-growing financial services practices in the services industry. He understands how to blend consulting and delivery in a fast-changing industry will be powerful for Infosys, which must master a more consultative transformation approach if the firm is to emerge as a leader in digital services. Sikka had deemphasized the consulting practice at Infosys.
  • Successful track record in business turnarounds and managing acquisitions (including Capgemini’s acquisition of iGate). In October 2017, I blogged about Infy needing to aggressively acquire digital companies is a key component of its digital transformation strategy. His influence in leading Capgemini’s charge to acquire iGate indicates he understands the necessity of a strong Indian delivery component in the future mix of services.
  • Deep experience in the financial services market, which is Infosys’ largest and most lucrative market segment.
  • Notable experience in working in a global context outside of an Indian firm. Salil’s outstanding leadership capabilities were notable at Capgemini.
  • Deep understanding of the Indian/Bangalore culture along with demonstrated outsourcing industry experience. He will fit well into the Infosys culture and, thus, is a safe choice as CEO.

I think Infosys chose an external candidate to lead the firm to avoid some of the friction and issues lingering from the friction among the board, management and founders. Infosys now needs a steady hand, a more low-profile approach to building its future. Although Sikka raised the firm’s profile in the digital transformation space, he didn’t manage to bring the founders and the rank-and-file employees along. Parekh has the skills to focus on executing on the digital strategy. He will bring a fresh perspective on how to continue Infosys’ drive to remake the firm into the next-generation of services companies based on digital technologies and business models. I also expect he will be instrumental in changing the board composition over the next 18 months to ensure he has a unified board and can heal any ongoing rifts with the firm’s founders.

The fact that Parekh will be based in Bangalore is significant, as it will better position him for deeper understanding of the Infosys culture and enable him to build internal support for the difficult journey ahead in a challenging and changing marketplace.

In Salil, Infosys has found a capable executive that fits the Indian culture, yet brings the consulting and global perspective the firm needs. Thus, he should be able to build alliances in and outside the firm without creating the pushback that Sikka experienced.

What about Other Changes in Senior Leadership at Infosys?

The industry and media are abuzz with speculation on the amount of executive turnover as a result of Parekh’s selection. Every new CEO brings in new executives, and he won’t be an exception to this rule. It’s important to realize that Infosys has plenty of room to remove executives without removing existing talent. Some in the senior ranks had stayed to create stability after Sikka’s departure, but they will now be free to move on. Other senior talent had stepped up on a temporary basis and can now move back to a more sustainable role. That said, I don’t expect a wholesale removal of the firm’s senior leadership. It will be a case of streamlining the leadership team and restructuring some layers.

Should the Infosys Strategy Change?

Together, Parekh’s experience and the Infosys board’s forward-looking statements indicate that the existing digital direction and strategy that Sikka was driving will continue. I believe the firm is well positioned to participate in the consolidation of the legacy, high-margin labor arbitrage-based business. This is already taking place in the services industry, and I expect Infosys will capture a significant share of this work. However, I believe the primary goal is still to continue the digital transformation journey.

In the effort rebuild Infosys to lead in the digital marketplace, I suggest Infosys take the following five steps:

  • Build strong support from the board/founders and internal organization, A house divided will fall, and we have already seen what this will do to the organization. As I mentioned above, this will probably require changes to the board and some changes in senior leaders as well as taking a more low-key approach (at least at the outset).
  • Reset investor expectation on margins. The previous strategy’s fatal flaw was maintaining the expectation of industry-leading margins. To become the leader in the digital space, Infosys needs margin flexibility to experiment with new models and capture growth at the all-important start of the cycle.
  • Focus on understanding and building a new digital delivery model that is different from the factory arbitrage model. It’s important to recognize that this new model has yet to fully emerge in the services industry; therefore, if Infosys can be the first major firm to build such a model, it will become the industry leader.
  • Keep the commitment to aggressive pricing established under Sikka. The market will not tolerate a premium pricing position at this time.
  • Focus on its clients instead of the firm. Infosys has traditionally been introspective. Parekh looks to be capable of changing this characteristic and influencing the firm to look outside to its customers and their needs. Now, much of Infosys’ messaging is on how Infosys is changing. This needs to change to focus on how its clients are changing.

For all the above reasons, I believe Parekh is notably able to grow Infosys’ business. I don’t think he will bring clients with him, but I don’t think this is necessary. Infosys has all the clients it needs. The challenge for Infosys today is to become the digital transformation partner of choice for the clients it already has. If he can help achieve this objective, I believe Infosys will become a clear leader in the new emerging services market.

Dark Clouds Gathering for Indian Service Providers | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

The effort around reforming H1B work visas in the global services industry has been dangling for years, entrenched in a political battle in Congress. But there’s movement again, and dark clouds are gathering on the horizon, signaling a coming storm. Five days ago, the US House Judiciary Committee passed HR 170 (Protect and Grow American Jobs Act) with solid, bipartisan support, and it carries onerous policies aimed at India’s outsourcing service providers – as well as problems for their clients. It hasn’t passed into law yet; but it could happen in 2018. Here’s my assessment of the situation.

Proposed Requirements

As I’ve blogged several times since May 2013, reform focuses on service providers whose business model depends heavily on a large percentage of H1B workers placed at US clients. HR 170 raises the classification of H1-dependent firms to 20 percent, rather than 15 percent of workers. Providers would be required to pay higher wages to their H1B workers – with the minimum salary tied to the average occupational wage in the US. That’s a raise from the current $60k up to, and potentially surpassing, $135k.

The bill adds authorization for the US Department of Labor to conduct investigations of H1B-dependent firms – without first having to establish reasonable cause – and provides for a $495 fine to be levied on the firms for the investigations.

HR 170 also would require US clients to provide attestations and “recruitment reports” attesting that no US workers were displaced by H1B workers. This would add the burden of new management and compliance processes.

Impact

Obviously, the onerous requirements are targeted at Indian service providers that heavily use H1B workers (especially Cognizant, Infosys, TCS, Wipro). The provisions would raise their costs. They would not be able to pass those costs through to clients, so it would reduce their margins. Making it more onerous to use H1B workers would also negatively impact the Indian providers’ business models, which rely on the high-margin “factory” structure for talent provision.

Is it a Long Shot?

Although HR 170 was passed with bipartisan support by the House Judiciary Committee and has yet to pass the full House. If that were to happen, the bill would still face bipartisan battle in the Senate. We’ve seen that play out this year in efforts to repeal healthcare laws and now in tax reform efforts.

However, it may not be a long shot. The bill’s main sponsor, Darrell Issa, the Republican representative from California, will face re-election battles next year and is likely to push harder for a win in visa reform. And don’t overlook the fact that California’s Silicon Valley firms would benefit from onerous visa regulations targeting India’s firms.

My Takeaway Warning

India’s service providers are already struggling in an uphill battle aside from visa reform. They struggle to gain competence and market share in evolving to the digital world. Investments in rotating to digital raise providers’ costs, take time and often lead to battles with investors and other stakeholders who want to maintain the current margin levels. In addition, margins in the digital models are low, for at least the short term.

H1B visa reform’s dark clouds gathering on the horizon for the Indian service providers will only heap new burdens on providers already struggling with margins and new business models in trying to become leaders on the digital space. I believe the bill, if passed into law, would inhibit their growth.

US clients, which want more valuable digital services from third-party firms – but want to pay the low cost they have enjoyed with offshore providers for many years – must recognize that strategy is no longer in the playbook. They also need to be mindful of providers changing their business model and delivery practices to accommodate the requirements of H1B worker provisions when the reform passes into law and how the provider’s decisions will impact the client’s work.

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