Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Excerpts from "Putting the 'Human' Back in HR"

How Viewing Employees as Customers Can Provide Greater Value

Today, when an employee wants to understand more about the programs, policies and processes related to maternity or paternity leave, there are many options to getting the information they need:
searching an employee portal, accessing a policy repository or coordinating directly with benefit providers.

Employees don’t think in terms of traditional HR functional silos, such as recruitment, learning, or payroll. They think in terms of key and impactful work/life events. Rather than having employees track down information from different departments inside and outside of HR, a focus on high-touch employee services offers a better way by providing thoughtful, end-to-end support.

Whether it’s for an employee who is transferring to an office across the country or a manager that is working to hire a new team member, the focus is on addressing personal and professional issues as seamlessly and efficiently as possible.

In the case of the employee going on maternity or paternity leave, the employee services-based approach addresses concerns and reinforces a feeling the organization has the employee’s best interests at heart. Meanwhile, the company maximizes the employee’s productivity before the employee begins their leave and improves the likelihood they will be engaged once they return.

While traditional HR processes supported by self-service technologies and HR functional expertise will continue to deliver the bulk of incoming employee inquiries, employee services will become
valuable as employees continue to bring their consumer expectations into the workplace. By viewing employees as customers who receive the benefits of personal, high-touch services during pivotal
“moments of truth,” companies can change employee and manager perceptions of the company while improving efficiency and productivity.

Read the entire article in the March/April 2015 edition of PULSE magazine.
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Original article written by Jill Goldstein, Talent and HR BPO Offering Lead, Accenture

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

5 Takeaways from the IAOP World Summit

Courtesy of Lindy Zars, CBE Companies

I am so excited to introduce you to CBE’s marketing manager in the outsourcing call center space, Mattie Brawner. Mattie focuses on discovering trends, hot topics and emerging needs and challenges in the industry, as well as helping our business leaders develop forward-thinking solutions to help solve those needs and challenges.

I attended the IAOP Outsourcing World Summit in Phoenix on February 16-18. Pegged “The world’s most important gathering of outsourcing professionals,” the Summit is a forum for sharing new ideas and approaches with other industry executives. It was a huge opportunity for me, a fairly amateur outsourcing professional, to gain perspective from some of the most innovative in the industry.

I left the Summit with a notebook full of notes and a mind full of ideas… I boiled down five takeaways in the slides below. I hope they spark some interest for you and inspire you to learn a little more.

Read the full blog and see the slides here: http://blog.cbecompanies.com/2015/03/06/5-takeaways-from-the-iaop-world-summit/
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Reposted from Lindy Zars blog at CBE Companies http://blog.cbecompanies.com/2015/03/06/5-takeaways-from-the-iaop-world-summit/

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Seen and Heard at The 2015 Outsourcing World Summit

PULSE Editorial Board Members Share Their Highlights from the Summit

UNLEARNING FOR THE FUTURE, KEYNOTE BY GLOBAL FUTURIST JACK ULDRICH   “If anyone arrived in Phoenix thinking business as usual, they got a wake-up call attending Jack Uldrich’s keynote on Monday morning Feb. 16. The theme was “Unlearning for the Future” and he actually was from the School of Unlearning – sounds like a great place to shed some old habits. Jack had us all mesmerized with multi-media, vivid imagery and just a lot of very cool technology stuff. But it was not all imaginary and futuristic, he made a point of how all these seemingly outlandish technologies and approaches to common-day business challenges, are all happening today. From wearable technology and Google glasses in the operating room, 3D printing challenging our traditional supply chains, to our favorite Uber personal car service which legitimately challenged taxi services overnight, globally. Embrace new technology, think outside the box, and don’t let yesterday dictate tomorrow. This one was inspiring, so I hope you did not miss it."  —Robert Barclay, Vice President, Global Marketing, Genpact

IMPROVING OUTCOMES THROUGH A FOCUS ON COLLABORATION IN A MULTI-SOURCED ENVIRONMENT   “One guitar, five band members, unbelievable harmony. The band is Walk Off the Earth and the song is Somebody that I Used to Know. That’s the analogy Laura D’Ambrosio, director of Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Marie Surrette, managing director, of Accenture used to describe their 10-plus year working relationship. Granted, it wasn’t always that way and the journey towards the current state took some patience, a structured approach, a focus on building relationships … and a few toy cars! A red and green squishy car is provided to each meeting participant – when the meeting is heading in the wrong direction, participants push the red car forward as a signal that a reset is in order. And that’s just one of many tools the two organizations use to create a healthy working environment.”  —Eugene M. Kublanov, Managing Director, Asset Business, KPMG LLP

EMERGING TECHNOLOGY MEGATRENDS, KEY NOTE PRESENTATION BY SCOTT SINGER, COP, HEAD OF GBS, RIO TINTO   “Easily the best GBS story I’ve heard – disciplined progressive, and faithful to all stakeholders. With entertaining, real-life examples, Scott Singer outlined Rio Tinto’s objective, outcome-focused approach in continuously adjusting the blend of in-house and outsourced service delivery, and its principle-based approach to governance across the extended enterprise. Especially impressive was the GBS organization’s commitment to apply new technologies – social, mobile, analytics and cloud – to amplify talent, create organizational agility, and deliver near- and long-term business value. Rio’s journey from ‘doing’ to ‘orchestrating’ should serve as an inspiration and a model for others – a lodestar for sustainable sourcing.”  —John Hindle, Founding Partner, Knowledge Capital Partners

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

5 Don’t-Miss Sessions at IAOP Outsourcing World Summit 2015

Blog Re-Post Courtesy of Jordan McMahon, Automation Anywhere

A must-do event for the outsourcing world is happening in Phoenix this month. The IAOP Outsourcing World Summit is touted as being the “largest and longest-running industry event in the world” and generally draws nearly a thousand participants from around the globe. Robotic process automation is among the topics covered in several of the 9 conference tracks, and we’re eyeing a few of the sessions in particular to be especially informative, inspiring, and maybe even a bit controversial.

Here are a few sessions that have gotten our attention, and what we’re hoping to get out of them:

1. Reimagining Outsourcing with Robotic Process Automation: Its Impact on Delivery, Transformation, and Competitiveness

Not surprisingly, our number one pick for this year’s World Summit is the session focusing on the current wave of RPA adoption in the outsourcing world, and how it’s affecting those who have adopted (or will affect those who don’t). I’m sure we’ll hear some numbers surrounding lower operational costs, reduced error rates, and increases in productivity, but I’m also hoping to hear from participants their perception of RPA as the new kid on the BPO block.

2. Opening Keynote with Futurist Jack Uldrich

With our recent focus on how automation will affect the job landscape in the coming decade, we’re looking forward to hearing what Jack Uldrich, “America’s Chief Unlearning Officer,” has to say about what’s ahead for outsourcing, how embracing new technology can help organizations reach new heights, and particularly if he touches on the impact of automating back-office (and soon front office) work as one of the ways BPOs are currently “unlearning.”

3. The Third Industrial Revolution, Smart Machines, and the Resource Revolution: Impact on the Global Sourcing Industry

Yet another one of our favorite topics, this session led by Mike Fabrizi of The MITRE Corp. will discuss why we’re on the brink of the next industrial revolution. What’s piquing our interest in particular? Hearing Mike’s thoughts on how the “value add web is changed in the face of automation and advanced machine learning.”

4. The TENT Talks

In a smart move for the attention-span-challenged (or any of us who just want a good, quick burst of information), IAOP is offering a series of 10-minute “tent talks” that are meant to spurn debate. I’ll be curious to see a) if the topics are controversial enough to get a good dialogue going and b) if there will be adequate time to delve in to the topics fully. If done right, these TENT Talks, being held the first day of the event, could set the tone for the rest of the conference and provide the fodder for many a lunch conversation.

5. State of the Industry Survey Results

The trends and trajectories for the outsourcing world from the people in the trenches themselves. This short session will review what those in the outsourcing industry see as critical to business in the coming years, and how to get ahead of the “next big thing.”

To visit the IAOP Outsourcing World Summit page, head to http://www.iaop.org/summit.

Check out original blog here.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

The Rise of Geopolitical Risk and What CPOs Need to Know to Keep it In-Check, by guest blogger Nick Ford

The news is dominated by geopolitical events from around the world – the spread of Ebola, the conflict in Syria, ISIS and just about anything that happens in North Korea. Most people will read a few articles, watch the evening news, form an opinion, feel mad, feel glad or feel nothing. Some people will take action. They will be driven to help where they can by donating their voice, their time or their money. Then there are the people who have to leave their emotions, their political affiliations and their prejudices at the door and when disaster strikes, they have to think about business.

As procurement spreads across more and more geographical boundaries, organizations are being exposed to more geopolitical risk. In order to ensure the safety of their company, Chief Procurement Officers and Procurement Directors must proactively consider the implications of these events on the smooth running of their businesses. They need to take into account where they are doing business, where their suppliers are doing business and where their manufacturers are located. What is the volatility of that location? What is the political stability, the currency stability and the stability of the work force within that location? How does that affect your business? Some more progressive organizations are taking this even further down the supply chain and looking at where their suppliers’ suppliers are doing business.

How-to Measure Geopolitical Risk
Historically, supplier risk has ignored location factors and has instead been focused almost entirely on financial performance. This made risk a very binary exercise, but the deeper and broader you go into operational risk, the less it becomes about numbers and absolute answers. To truly understand a supplier’s risk profile, you must undergo stress testing and “what if” scenario planning. What if war broke out in a region in which you operate? What if a fire broke out in a supplier’s factory and destroyed everything? Where would you transfer that work to, and quickly? What impact would that have on your lead times or your payments? What impact would that have on your customer contracts? You could come up with any number of scenarios and run them through your supply chain operating model to see what impact they could potentially have on your delivery to your customers. Once you understand what impact these events could have, you can start to defend against them.

How Geopolitical Risk Has Changed
Due to technology and access to the Internet, the world is becoming a much smaller place. World news is immediate. You’re able to monitor events and changes automatically. Organizations now have an abundance of information available to them. There’s always been political unrest and risk in certain regions, but now there is a far better understanding as to what’s changing on a daily basis, which allows CPOs to begin to proactively safeguard against them.

The Cost of Geopolitical Risk
Reducing geopolitical risk is about supply chain analysis, disaster recovery, your ability to move to a different supply chain supply environment and how quickly you can do that should a situation arise. The other aspect of geopolitical risk to consider is the cost. From a risk perspective, in the short-term, it costs more to work with a supplier out of China than it does to buy from someone down the road. In most companies, there’s not enough emphasis placed on the increased organisational risks that occur when working with some of these low-cost suppliers. But the truth is, the harm done to the business, should something go wrong, could be irreparable. The Ebola outbreak, for instance, could have a huge negative impact on Western organizations if they are no longer allowed to import from affected countries or if new trade restrictions, regulations or possible quarantines are implemented. When selecting suppliers, procurement teams need to take a total cost of ownership approach.

The Cost of Managing Geopolitical Risk
A total cost of ownership approach looks beyond the direct price and takes into account all of the indirect costs of using a supplier, risk and risk management included. For example: based on your risk profiling, you may want to use a double supply scenario to cover areas where you think the geographical or political risks are high. Organizations currently importing from Ebola affected sub-Saharan African may take this approach. That, of course, will add to the cost of the good or service. It’s the procurement team’s job then to convince the board that, although it may cost a little more, at the end of the day, it lowers the risk profile of the organization.


Supplier risks haven’t changed in the past 10 years – as far as I know there’s always been risk of war, disease or disaster – but the increase of global supply chains have left companies more exposed. Thankfully, there has also been an increase of available information to help prepare and defend against these risks. Strategic CPOs and Procurement Directors know that the best offence is a strong defence and are thus making risk management and disaster recovery a priority – even if it costs a bit more. You get what you pay for.
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Nick Ford is Managing Director, Global Procurement Outsourcing & Co-Sourcing, for Xchanging. Xchanging is a global, publicly-held business process, procurement and technology services provider. For more information, visit www.xchanging.com


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Trends and Predictions for 2015 by guest blogger, Christine Ferrusi Ross

What will 2015 hold for the outsourcing industry? As we look ahead, here are the top 5 trends Neo Group thinks will have the strongest impact in 2015. Several touch on supplier risk, which we believe will begin to touch everything else in the global services environment.

  1. Supplier Risk Management Becomes More Structured And Actionable. In the past few years, there has been high interest in supplier risk, but it’s mostly been theoretical. Companies knew they needed to understand the risk of their suppliers and they talked about supplier risk a lot. But they didn’t do much about supplier risk in a tangible way. As end customers become more aware of a company’s supply chain, the brand risk that comes with a supplier failure go up dramatically. In 2015, companies will begin to really integrate supplier risk into their daily operations, moving from quarterly meeting risk discussions to making key business decisions based on different risk events on a real-time basis.
  2. Location monitoring will default to sourcing teams. After the Ukraine situation and corresponding issues with Russia in 2014, more companies will care in a tangible way about the locations of their services providers. However, even though these formally would be considered geopolitical risks, because they primarily affect service providers, the location monitoring will fall to sourcing and shared services teams. This is the right approach as we see increased disruptions due to location issues such as shrinking labor pools, changes in laws, weather issues and economic malaise.
  3. Digital officers and services continue their upward climb in corporate suites. The age of digital, focused on empowered customers and automated delivery, continues to become more important. As companies add Chief Digital Officers, the number of service offerings targeted to those executives will also rise. Neo expects a greater focus on revenue impact and more clarity and variety among these services in 2015.
  4. More technology services being purchased by business-line leaders. As consumer products like cars and washing machines and thermostats continue to embed technology, more and more product engineering teams will treat IT and IT services as core purchases and will take over those contracts directly. This will split current shared services organizations that don’t understand the trend. And temporarily it shifts some power back to suppliers who have new target buyers and more opportunity to sell without the formal bidding and RFP processes they’ve become so accustomed to in the past.
  5. Data and analytics will play a central role in sourcing advisory. As the complexity of sourcing rises and clients become increasingly sophisticated, the need to find the next set of opportunities and optimization will benefit greatly from analytics and not just expert advice.
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Christine Ferrusi Ross, Partner & SVP, Neo Group — Neo Group is a globalization advisory and analytics company that helps organizations achieve business objectives and address business challenges by leveraging global services and sourcing.

Monday, January 05, 2015

IAOP 2015 - Looking Forward to an Action-Packed Year!

Welcome to 2015. We're really excited for the year ahead!

If you're new to IAOP, please check out our Calendar of Events - full of upcoming chapter meetings & webinars, conferences, training programs & informational webinars, IAOP's latest press releases, Pulse magazine news, awards and so much more!

We've added extra COP Master Classes to our calendar this year - sure to fit anyone's schedule!

The 2015 Outsourcing World Summit, taking place February 16-18 at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge in Phoenix, Arizona. Each year, the industry's leading thinkers and doers gather for an event many describe as the highlight of their year. Attendees have called it "a calendar must" and “the conference that raises the bar for the entire industry.” More than 800 delegates will attend, including: CEOs, COOs, CFOs and other members of the corporate ‘C-Suite”; Directors and Managers, Professionals from HR, Finance, Purchasing, Legal, Administration, IT, Facilities,  Manufacturing, Logistics, Service Delivery and related business functions; Entrepreneurs building the businesses of the future; Investors, Analysts and Academics; Consultants and Corporate Advisors; Government Officials and Policy Influencers; Marketing, Sales, and Delivery Professionals from across the sourcing industry. We're looking forward to having everyone there...so get ready...we have lots in store for you!

The IAOP Pule Blog is seeking Guest Bloggers!! Want to be part of the IAOP PULSE Blog? IAOP Pulse Blog wants you! Please check out our guest blogger guidelines.

Have any questions? Please email Kate Tulloch-Hammond, Manager of Media and Communications at IAOP.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Best Places to Work Tend to be Green—and Not Coincidentally, Productive by guest blogger Bob Best

Asking the right questions has always been key to success for a corporate real estate executive and workplace strategist.  Today, those questions include asking whether your office is a “Great Place to Work” – and is it also a green one? The two should go together. The new World Green Building Council and JLL’s Health, wellbeing and productivity in offices: The next chapter for green building report provides “overwhelming evidence” that indoor air quality, thermal comfort, access to natural light and other elements of green office design make employees not only feel better, but also more productive.

According to the report, these are five secrets to creating a greener, more productive place to work:
  1. Tired or inspired? Check the air quality. Improving air quality can make a big difference in how office workers feel and function at work. According to the report, numerous studies show that high levels of CO2 and volatile organic compounds (VOCs, which are common in building materials) make employees feel tired and less able to think clearly. In particular, a 2011 lab test mimicking an office with high levels of VOCs found that increasing ventilation improved workplace performance by eight percent. Air temperature makes a difference, too; employee productivity declines by four percent when the office is too cold and by six percent when it is too hot.
  2. Office workers’ new best friend: a pet plant. Biophilia, which is the concept that humans connect with other living things, is an emerging area of workplace design and it’s good news for employees. A plant—yes, a live plant—can help lower office stress, improve cognitive function and enhance creativity. Make sure to have a plant in sight at work and occasionally gaze around the office, as views of other groups or the outdoors create visual breaks that make office workers more productive.
  3. Let the sunshine in. Office workers should sit near a window or take a walk outside during the workday. There are strategies, such as “light shelves,” that can direct more daylight from windows into office spaces.  It not only makes them happier, it also leads to higher-quality sleep that in turns boosts productivity. Many traditional office layouts only allow senior managers to have access to natural light, so reconfiguring the workplace ensures everyone can “see the light.”
  4. Dial down the decibels. Noise pollution is consistently reported as a major cause of workplace dissatisfaction, and one 1998 study found that participants’ ability to memorize prose dropped by 66 percent when exposed to distracting noise. Offices should have a variety of work spaces so employees are empowered to work in a collaborative, discussion space or individual, heads-down “concentration” space, reducing excess noise and increasing staff productivity. 
  5. Invest in elbow room. Are coworkers too close or not close enough? In the quest to cut costs, many companies have adopted open office plans, “hot-desking” and other new workplace design concepts. Done well, these approaches reduce carbon footprints while providing quiet, private workspaces, meeting areas and informal social spaces. Done poorly, employee productivity suffers across the board. Employers that create unique workplace strategies tailored to their corporate culture and business goals with have happy, healthy and productive office workers.
With the new WGBC and JLL research in hand, making the case for green investments in your office space should be easier than ever. Remember that not all environmentally sustainable practices are created equal; you’ll fare better recommending those that increase productivity while reducing carbon footprints, like those mentioned above.
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Bob Best, Executive Vice President, Energy and Sustainability Services, JLL

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ukrainian IT Outsourcing 2014: Trends, Initiatives and Expectations by guest blogger Viktor Bogdanov

In the past few years the Ukrainian IT market was largely impacted by such negative factors as GDP drops, corruption, increased fiscal pressures and a deep political crisis in Q4 2013.

As a result of this, the general IT market saw an 8 percent decrease last year, according to IDC research. On the other hand, the IT exports market that had traditionally boasted 20-25 percent year-on-year growth rates since 2008, showed 6 percent increase, while the cloud-sourcing market showed an impressive 176 percent increase from 2012.

No doubt, 2014 is the most tragic year in the modern history of Ukraine, marked with both political and economic turmoil, and a long-standing crisis in Eastern Ukraine, caused by Russia’s aggression. Yet, in spite of many pessimistic views and forecasts, Ukrainian IT Outsourcing (ITO) has managed to not only survive but provide new interesting opportunities for service buyers, globally, especially in the areas of Cloud computing and mobile applications development.

Here’s my summary of the key trends and initiatives on the Ukrainian ITO scene in 2014:
  • In Ukraine, ITO accounts for 61 percent of the entire IT market.
  • In 2014, the ITO market value is expected to reach $2.4 billion (compared to $2 billion in 2013).
  • The Ukrainian market for cloud services (SaaS, IaaS) is projected to grow to over $7 million from last year’s $5.7 million, which marks 35 percent increase.
  • The Ukrainian government and IT community have launched the Brain Basket Foundation, a project aiming to triple the national IT workforce from today’s 30,000 to 100,000 specialists by 2020 by reforming IT education and aligning it with the actual business needs.
  • Supported by TransparentBusiness.Com, Ukrainian US Embassy and some Congressmen have launched the “Cloud-source to Ukraine” initiative aiming to help Ukraine compete for 10 percent share of the $288 billion global ITO market (and make $30 billion annually in revenues from ITO).
  • The ITO market has seen some high-profile M&A deals this year (e.g., Chicago-based Intersog has acquired Odessa, Ukraine based SoftTechnics for $2.5 million, Ukrainian provider Softserve has acquired German provider UGE Gmbh for $2 million).
  • Large outsourcing providers start investing in / supporting high-tech startups (e.g., Danish provider Ciklum has launched its own Startup Incubator).
  • The average gross monthly salary in the Ukrainian ITO has dropped from $2,600 to $2,100.
  • Ukraine ranks #3 among the Top 10 Freelancers Countries, according to elance.com.
  • Ukrainian software developers are most loyal to startups (over 70 percent) and out-staffing companies (60 percent), according to survey by douua.org.

On October 26, 2014, Ukraine elected a new government. While the final election results are yet to be announced, the preliminary results show clearly that the pro-Western forces outrun the conservative and pro-Russian ones with a big gap. It suggests the new parliament will have a lot of lobbies of IT prioritization and development. As such, we expect a major overhaul of the entire IT market and upgrade of the existing IT legislation in the upcoming months to foster more FDIs, better meet global ITO buyers’ demand for software development resources, and facilitate doing IT business in Ukraine.
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Viktor Bogdanov is a brand journalist and head of online marketing / PR at Intersog, one of Chicago’s Top App Developers and UK’s Top 10 Android Developer (as of June 2014) with R&D Centers in Ukraine.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

3 Emerging Trends in Procurement Technology by guest blogger, Patricia Dreghorn

“We don’t need any more savings. Our company is profitable enough.” When is the last time you heard a CEO say that? I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest never. Why? Because every successful business knows that there are always more savings to be had. The trick is to be continuously innovating - never rest on your laurels.

Whatever you’re using to achieve cost savings today won’t be able to deliver the same ROI indefinitely – the geo-political environment is changing, business operations are changing, values are changing and technology is changing. If everything outside an organisation is changing, it stands to reason that the organisation will have to change as well – but how?

Technology is not only a catalyst for change, it’s also enabling it. Looking at technology in the procurement department specifically, in recent years, e-sourcing tools have improved the way we source and communicate with suppliers; analytics have allowed us to more accurately track savings and performance; and increased data volumes permits better risk management. So what’s next?

There are a few trends I’m seeing emerge in the procurement technology space. All of them have effectively the same goal of delivering more, long-term, savings but each approach the problem from a different angle. From better insight to empowered suppliers to expertise on demand, these are the three innovations that I think are changing procurement…for the better.

Predictive Analytics
Companies have really only scratched the surface with analytics. Most of what’s available to procurement teams today relies on historic and retrospective analysis, limiting its ability to provide actionable insight from the start. The advancements with Big Data in recent years are enabling a move towards more predictive analytics and forecasting. Predictive Analytics, as the name suggests, provide the ability to predict, with a high degree of accuracy, the outcome of a certain action or the movement of the market, for example. The boundless potential of this technology has resulted in an onslaught of major investment and new business tools are coming to market every day.

With predictive analytics, procurement no longer requires someone to bang their fists on the table and demand a better deal from suppliers. Those days are gone. Procurement can now be founded on intelligent forecasting, understanding the market trends and knowing when is the right time to take risks and seize opportunities. This ability to make better decisions is made possible by a combination of very, very insightful data and by being able to interrogate that data.

Moving Down the Supply Chain
Another area where we can see technology, specifically data, shifting the industry is with insight and support for suppliers - moving away from procurement per se and going much further down the supply chain. Companies are asking not only what suppliers can do for them, but also what they can do to help their suppliers - delivering more value for everyone.

For instance, at Xchanging some of our customers never purchase raw materials, their suppliers are suppliers of finished goods yet we often do research into commodities for other customers, manufacturing companies who require us to dig quite far down the supply chain. Where before these two activities would be separate, now companies are looking at ways where that in-depth commodities market insight can help their finished goods suppliers deal with their own suppliers. I think buyers will be doing a lot more data mining in the supply chain itself in order to help their suppliers effectively find savings for them.

Support Staff-as-a-Service
Rather than employing individuals to run procurement technology and understand that technology, we are seeing a move towards buying that expertise as a service – and the potential savings are incredible. Some providers, for example, are offering support staff-as-a-service. A customer will say they wish to buy a certain amount of time with a product or service at a fixed cost per hour. This model is starting to take off.

In addition to the impressive cost benefits, having support staff-as-a-service also greatly increases a company’s competencies and know-how – which is where I see the real value lie. Where a company may only do one RFP above a million pounds every two years, for example, the support staff do them all the time, in a plethora of different markets, geographies and industries. Having genuine experts provide advice, insight and support empowers organisations to do better and deliver savings they never knew possible.

With procurement, it’s easy for companies to reach a stage where they just take the low-hanging fruit – stick with suppliers they know, processes they know and tools they know – but change is happening all around them. Procurement cannot operate in a vacuum. It affects too many parts of the business and is affected by too many global factors. It becomes very difficult to drive savings over time if you’re just doing the same things you’ve always done. Companies need to look at innovative ways of changing that. These are just three of the emerging innovations I’m seeing in my world but there are more out there. What are you seeing?
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Patricia Dreghorn is Global Technology and Strategy Director for Xchanging. Xchanging is a business process, procurement and technology services provider. Learn more at www.xchanging.com.



Thursday, September 18, 2014

Digital Disruption: The Impact on Global Talent

Next week, I will be in Singapore for the IAOP Asia Pacific Outsourcing Summit<<http://neogroup.com/2014-asia-pacific-outsourcing-summit/>>. I look forward to kicking off this event with Brian Brower, digital expert, former Nike Program Director and currently at Vivint, “The Smart Home Company" "Internet of Things", with an Opening Keynote on Digital Disruption & Impacts on Global Talent.

More than a buzzword, digital disruption is creating unique opportunities for businesses looking to adopt a sustainable strategy for customer engagement. As new digital technologies emerge, industries must respond in turn, adapting and innovating in order to drive business outcomes. With a firm grasp on how to employ technologies to advance business objectives, companies can increase their reach, bring products to market faster, and bridge the gap between limited resources—in effect, surviving, and even thriving, through disruption.

What are successful companies doing?

With innovation and digital transformation rising in importance in the minds of many business leaders, one strategic lever that I have seen work well for companies looking to tap into these advantages and opportunities is leveraging global talent.

It’s clear that effectively employing technology and successfully navigating the digital landscape is becoming a competitive driver. Finding the right talent to lead these initiatives is critical, but leaders are often pulled in diverging directions as they struggle to simultaneously overcome competitive pressures to lower costs and increase revenue.

The key is knowing how to leverage global talent, or talent without borders. Technology talent pools exist in regions across the globe, including Asia Pacific and Latin America.

Argentina, for example, offers many advantages as a sourcing destination for creative, customer engagement focused technology talent. The country has a large labor pool, and many of these workers have a bilingual capacity. Cordoba graduates more than 37,000 IT students every year, one of the largest graduate pools worldwide. Further, Argentina operates in a similar time zone as the U.S. and has competitive labor costs.

Adaptability, innovation, talent—these are the keys to overcoming the disruption and creating a sustainable plan for future business success.


Hoping you’ll join me and other industry leaders and practitioners in Singapore!
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Atul Vashistha is the Chairman of Neo Group, a leading Supply Analytics and Monitoring, Governance Support and Sourcing Advisory services serving global clients since 1999

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Atul Vashistha to Deliver Special Address at 2014 Asia Pacific Outsourcing Summit

Atul Vashistha, leading globalization expert and advisor, Chairman of Neo Group and Founding Board Member of IAOP, will deliver a Special Address at the 2014 Asia Pacific Outsourcing Summit, taking place September 23 & 24 at the Mandarin Orchard in Singapore.

The theme for this year’s Summit is Enhancing Sustained Value for Regional Integration – Sourcing Maturity & Techno-Commercial Value. The event will bring together influential and creative thought leaders from the buy-side and supply-side, as well as governments and advisors, to “educate, teach, inspire and facilitate collaboration by bringing together the world’s top outsourcing practitioners and business leaders for a one-of-a-kind gathering to explore and set the future of outsourcing in Asia-Pacific.”

Atul will address the more than 400 global delegates, leaders and participants on the topic of Digital Disruption & Impacts on Global Talent. Through an informative and illustrative discussion with digital expert and former Nike Program Director, Brian Brower, Atul will explore the opportunities and challenges presented to global business leaders during this time of digital disruption. The discussion will also focus on the benefits of real-time analytics tools like Global Supply Risk MonitorSM by Neo Group, which enable business leaders to easily track digital talent around the world in order to enhance a global strategy, unleash creativity and speed up innovation.

“I look forward to participating in this important gathering of industry leaders and practitioners,” says Atul Vashistha. “At Neo Group, we have been spending significant time and effort on better understanding the increased attention and spend on digital. Sharing experiences and insights on these types of timely topics is the best way to move the industry forward and make significant headway in addressing key challenges, such as the dual challenge of speed to market and cost.”

For more information about this event, please visit the event page. View the press release.
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 About Neo Group
 Founded in 1999, Neo Group helps organizations meet business  
 objectives and address business challenges by leveraging global  
 services and sourcing. Our objective research and actionable analysis  
 helps buyers of Global Services make critical decisions like what to  
 source, when to source, where to source, who to partner with, how to  
 manage and monitor, and more.  Our deep experience, real-time  
 knowledge, proven & proprietary methodologies and track record of  
 success set us apart from our competitors.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

In Memoriam: Jane Siegel, Ph.D., COP






The global, standard-setting association and advocate for outsourcing professionals and the organizations they support.

In Memoriam: Jane Siegel, Ph.D., COP


It is with deep sadness that IAOP announces the passing of our colleague, Jane Siegel Ph.D., COP after a brief illness.

An active member of IAOP, Jane has always been, and will remain, a pillar of IAOP’s global community.

“We are all deeply shocked at this sad news and our thoughts are with Jane’s family,” said Debi Hamill, CEO of IAOP. “Not only did she play a pivotal role at IAOP, she was a personal friend. She will be dearly missed."

“It is not often you meet a fellow professional who thoroughly impresses by not only their knowledge, but their personality and warmth as well,” said colleague Jag Dalal, COP, IAOP Chief Advisor, Thought Leadership. “She was always there with ideas, thoughts and encouragement whenever I interacted with her.  It was done with a smile, patience and caring thoughts. She has left a void among outsourcing professionals, as she enriched all of us. I am thankful for having met her and worked with her.”

Her encyclopedic knowledge, passion,  and genuine connection with those she was speaking to, gave her the respect that made her—among other things—IAOP’s 2014 Member of the Year.  That honor is just a small mark of her considerable influence at IAOP.

Jane was an authorized trainer for IAOP’s Certified Outsourcing Professional® (COP) program, a member of IAOP’s Latin America Advisory Board,a chapter chair, a frequent presenter at our conferences and a valued member of several IAOP committees. She gave generously of her time and talents in helping steer our association and relished
opportunities to help whenever asked.

”I would like Jane’s family and friends to know she was deeply admired and will be missed by all of us at IAOP who were fortunate to work with her,” said friend and colleague,  John Maher, COP, Executive Managing Director at CB Richard Ellis.  “I am very saddened to hear about her passing but very thankful for many great memories I have working with her.”

“I had the privilege of meeting Jane five years ago and immediately we formed a close professional relationship,” said colleague Santiago Pinzón Galán, Executive Director, Chamber of BPO/ITO/KPO, ANDI. “She was a brilliant researcher, sincere professional, wonderful person and clearly a “guru” on outsourcing, committed to improving the outsourcing industry in Colombia and a strong supporter of what we do here at ANDI. Beyond all this, she was a great and dear friend, always had a word of advice and support, and always a human approach to solving issues. We shared ideas and actions to strengthen LATAM as a region. It was an honor to have been taught by her, but the biggest honor was her friendship.”

The imprint she leaves in this industry and at IAOP is difficult to overstate.  She was a pioneer; as Senior Scientist at Carnegie Mellon she taught courses about IT-enabled Service Management and participated in research to define meaningful measures of service performance and quality well before its time. She also founded ITSqc, LLC, the spin-off from Carnegie Mellon University created to promote best practice models for the global IT-enabled services industry.

"I've had the privilege of working with Jane on many occasions, beginning in the late 1980s," said friend and colleague, Bill Hefley, PhD, COP, 
Director, ITSqc, LLC.  "We worked together with a graduate student studying software technology adoption, she contributed to the national software capacity study for the US government, contributed to Carnegie Mellon's Human-Computer Interaction Institute and it's growth, and was the founding director of the research center that became ITSqc, LLC, where she was integral part of the spin out from CMU to continue to support the eSCMs - the basis for organizational certification that forms one of IAOP's two pillars of certification for the outsourcing profession - organizational and individual (COP).  Dr. Siegel was a caring individual, who gave much of her time and energy to helping others, and she will be greatly missed by all who knew her."

A steadfast force in her fabulous Hermes scarves, her brilliance and integrity spoke louder than words.  All of us at IAOP are proud to have known her, and it is an honor for us to continue her professional legacy.

We will miss you, Jane.





Monday, June 02, 2014

Embracing Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility is here to stay. It isn’t a hash-tagged trend; it’s here for the duration. There isn’t a month devoted to it on the calendar; it’s not looking to be monumentalized.

Corporate Social Responsibility addresses the social, economic and environmental effects of doing business – defining priorities, integrating social responsibility throughout business, while building social and business value. Outsourcing can be used as a powerful tool for advancing CSR. 

Organizations have a lot of power – locally, globally and economically. Those embracing CSR devote real time and money to socially conscious investments and programs, alternative energy and social welfare initiatives to benefit employees, customers and the world at large.

Corporate Social Responsibility in outsourcing focuses on three critical areas – people, community and the environment. The “people” component relates to employee issues such as fair pay, good working conditions and diversity, while the “community” area focuses on economic and charitable efforts, both locally and globally. The “environment” aspect relates to green practices that help reduce energy consumption and waste. Practicing CSR is also good business for reasons of sustainability, as well as brand-building.

A new eBook – The Outsourcing Professionals’ Guide to Corporate 
Responsibility – examines corporate social responsibility policies 
and practices for outsourcing, including identifying and showcasing 
policies that IAOP members have adopted, creating a framework 
for companies to model new CSR policies and develop a network 
of resources for IAOP members. Written by Bill Hefley, PhD, COP 
and Ron Babin, DBA, COP, with contributions from IAOP’s 
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Committee, its publication 
is the culmination of several years work. It is a one-of-a-kind indispensible 
management tool for any company involved in outsourcing – whether 
customer, provider or advisor.

On Friday, June 20th, at 11 am EST, IAOP CEO, Debi Hamill 
will be hosting a complimentary webinar on CSR which will feature 
Bill and Ron. The trio will discuss the guide, which examines 
corporate socially responsible policies and practices for outsourcing, 
including identifying and showcasing policies that IAOP members 
have adopted, creating a framework on which companies can model 
new CSR policies and develop a network of resources for IAOP members. 

We invite you to attend this complimentary webinar. This indispensible management tool for any company involved in outsourcing – whether customer, provider or advisor is the first and only global publication on CSR. For more information, please feel free to email Pam O’Dell, IAOP Director of Corporate & Professional Development, at pam.odell@iaop.org.
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Kate Tulloch-Hammond, IAOP Manager of Media & Communications

Friday, May 02, 2014

Survey - Outsourcing Talent Research

KellyOCG and IAOP have partnered on Outsourcing Talent Research. Please complete this 1-question poll and tell us what you would like to learn.

Click here to take survey