Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"Insights and Strategy, Please" — Overheard in the C-Suite by guest blogger Maureen Ehrenberg

Corporate real estate leaders are taking a cue from IT and turning to insight-driven partnerships over tactical delegation

Keep the lights on in Toledo. Secure 20,000 square feet of space in LA. In the 1990s, corporate real estate (CRE) outsourcing strategy was primarily tactical, giving direction to whichever on-the-ground service provider was most fit for the job. Tactical service delivery just isn’t in demand today. Strategic, data-driven insights, advice and results are replacing tactics, and partnerships are replacing vendor relationships.

Introducing Outsourcing 4.0: We're in this together.

With a trusted CRE supplier serving and acting as strategic partner, corporate leaders are finding they can more readily develop a centralized system to supercharge every corner of the workplace, and real estate portfolio – and their people. They can harness cutting-edge technology, tap actionable predictive analytics, and optimize performance. They can even free up internal teams to focus on higher level work, such as enriching connections with HR, Procurement and IT for a more aligned workforce.

This new model might have a familiar ring to it.

These fresh CRE strategic outsourcing strategies are similar to progressive IT outsourcing that has transformed the role and impact of technology services across a corporation’s operations.

Likewise, new CRE outsourcing brings together quantitative and qualitative approaches, and incorporates close dialogue with other business units. CRE partners serve as managing consultants that impact much more than the physical space of corporate operations; they make the entire workforce stronger. By acting globally and integrating locally, portfolio strategy and facilities management are streamlined with central decision-making, while shaped for the specific needs of each location.  

Three signs C-suites are poised for outsourcing strategy revolution

"But that's the way we've always done it," is no longer effective in terms of outsourcing strategy and business results. Following are a few key indicators that corporate leaders are ready for change:

1.       Making companies “thin.” Corporations are increasingly adopting a “thin client” model in which one or two supplier partners serve all CRE needs, including infrastructure, personnel and the supporting software services. Centralized CRE outsourcing means more streamlined operations, focused inter-company decision-making and user-friendly client interfaces. Companies increasingly expect supplier partners to integrate across corporate sectors and innovate by using advanced data and analytics to pose creative ideas, solutions and innovate
2.       Expanding the definition of “real estate” to “workplace.” Corporations expect today’s outsourced partners to be holistic workplace experts, helping to create the employee experience and transforming the built environment this is much broader than traditional property matters. In top companies, the expanded purview of the CRE outsourced provider includes the delivery of the workplace environment and how the worker is enabled to operate within it. Collaborating with HR, IT and other shared services business teams, real estate professionals are now directly influencing worker productivity, employee well-being, recruitment and retention. In addition to physical space, CRE partners are involved in supporting “relationship management” at every level of a company’s operations.
3.       Prioritizing outcomes over metrics. While key performance indicators (KPIs) and service-level agreements (SLAs) continue to matter, the expansion of outsourced CRE roles has emphasized the importance of overall outcomes and standards. Employee satisfaction and productivity are, for example, a strategic imperative. And CRE suppliers are being engaged to a greater extent in support of corporate goals through new types of contracts. These contracts align them with the risks and rewards of company business outcomes related to the transformation of the portfolio and the delivery and management of the built environment together with their CRE partners within the corporation.

The desire to improve global positioning is no passing interest, either. An overwhelming 73 percent of CRE leaders say their mandate to centralize real estate functions on a global basis is stronger than it was just three years ago, according to JLL’s 2015 Global Corporate Real Estate Survey. Deep alignment is more necessary than ever.

Today's leading companies are seeking the kind of collaborative synergy that leads to improved innovation, productivity, profitability and employee engagement across even the most far-flung locations. Is it time for a new model? The answer is a resounding yes, and doing so will enhance every corner of the workplace: physical, psychological and digital. 
By Maureen Ehrenberg, International Director, JLL Integrated Facility Management

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Supply Risk Maturity: Everyone thinks they are good at their jobs, right?

Supplier risk managers are in an interesting spot – they’re their own worst enemies. If they’re bad at their jobs, then the company is exposed to unnecessary risk. BUT if they’re good at their jobs, then risk becomes so well managed that stakeholders begin to take their efforts for granted, turning on them with “what do we need you for? Everything is going fine.”

Neither position is particularly good for job security. In both cases, however, having a disciplined way to account for your efforts and effectiveness will help you prove the value of your job. Documenting your efforts through a supplier risk management maturity assessment is one way to achieve this. This type of assessment will help you gain more clarity around how good you are at your job and enable you to have more productive conversations with stakeholders and explain your value beyond just “we lowered the company’s supplier risk.”

So, how do you demonstrate this maturity to your organization? Think about whether you have all the right pieces in place, then think about how well you execute all of those pieces.

Key Pieces To A Comprehensive Supplier Risk Management Effort: What To Do

The first part of justifying value to your organization is to explain the depth of what you’re doing. Effective supplier risk management involves a lot of moving parts, and listing all of the activities you do on an ongoing basis can go a long way in reminding stakeholders about the complexity of your role and the value it brings to your organization. 

The key activities include:

  • Risk identification, categorization and assessment. Do you know what risks you’re looking for and do you have a model for integrating those risks into the broader corporate risk program?
  • Supplier data. Do you have an ongoing process in place for capturing supplier data and the impact on your overall risk?
  • Risk treatment. What would you actually DO based on your supplier risk identification and monitoring?
  • Organization/team skills. Do you have the right people to manage supplier risk?
  • Metrics. How do you measure the effectiveness of your program, what does success look like for your supplier risk management team?
  • Collaboration with stakeholders. Do you have productive relationships with key stakeholders like senior executives, risk, compliance, legal, procurement, etc.?
  • Reporting. Do you provide useful and actionable information to your stakeholders?

Execution Is The Most Important Part Of Supplier Risk Management: How You Do It 
Anyone can pull up a PowerPoint deck with lots of slides that show organizational diagrams and risk identification models. But how well does your company execute on the key pieces above? Maturity is almost always judged not by the existence of a program, but how well the program is executed. 

Critical factors in maturity include:

  • Standardization. Does everyone who manages risk use the same approaches, tools, and processes? Transparency across the organization can only come when there is some way to standardize and give everyone the same view.
  • Effective use of technology. Any manual process is likely an ineffective one. Using technology to capture, analyze and share data is a key indicator that a company has invested in maturing its efforts for supplier risk management.
  • Compliance with the processes. Here’s the real jewel in the crown. Does everyone comply with your risk management program? You can have a beautiful approach, rich and accurate data, and books’ worth of action steps to take, but if no one actually uses any of it (or worse, actively tries to go around it) then you can’t consider your organization mature.
The next time you are asked to justify supplier risk management, consider putting your program to the test with a maturity assessment. You’ll be able to have a more productive and thorough conversation about exactly what you’re doing, and how you’re doing it, and you’ll be able to identify which parts excel and which need improvement. Most importantly, you’ll be able to capture and share the depth of your efforts.

Written by Christine Ferrusi Ross, SVP, Neo Group & Supply Wisdom. Edited by Atul Vashistha. More details can be found at supplywisdom.com.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Criticized for Your Customer Service? Turn Adversity Into a Business Opportunity by guest blogger Matthew Park

Redefining Engagement to When, Where, & How Your Consumer Chooses

At a restaurant, the couple next to me wasn’t happy with the meal served. The lady took out her phone and started posting on a social media site ... Familiar?

This era is of the social customer … unafraid to use her voice. She understands the relative shifting of influence, and the vulnerability of Big Business. The social medium is instant and responsive, and positions businesses willy-nilly in places where potential customers already exist.

For businesses that incorporate social media as part of their omni-channel CRM programs, keeping up with social conversations is a two-fold process: You need a social CRM strategy, including relevant technologies, to ensure your social engagement with the customer. Second, you need a social customer service strategy that integrates your contact center and marketing or corporate communications department to not only address customer complaints, but do so holistically aligned with your brand experience objectives.

Also, if your social customer service strategy does not aim at integration of the social sphere with problem resolution, it’s bound to fail. A precise social customer service “solution” would pick up the initial social thread and seamlessly convert i t into a one-on-one interaction, for example with a Listen-Engage-Analyze-Resolve approach (as we do at Minacs) for a successful customer experience outcome.

Listen in to Social Conversation!
After the diner had posted her comment, an executive at the restaurant chain’s corporate office “heard” of it and wanted the unit manager to take care of it immediately.

In the social space, the customer expresses disappointment, or happiness, on social media. Apart from lost revenues, ignoring social chatter can result in negative social sentiment that influences other customers, prospects, and the public! But how do you keep up with these conversations? And where does your contact center come into play?

Social media centers listen into conversations about your firm, products, brands, competitors, or even special interest areas for you across social networks, like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and even blogs. Social complaints are categorized and prioritized for action and resolution.

Analyze the Issue With Social Tools! 
With the diner’s complaint now in the public domain, the restaurant’s management, after tracking her comment, understood the negative impact it would have on their business.

Businesses that evaluate social customer care experiences are three times more likely to retain their customers. This requires an analytics component to your implementation, and you need to configure it to filter and categorize the social mentions to recognize sentiment and trends. Tag the opportunities found upon analysis of mentions. They provide you with deep insights into customer behavior and allow you to adopt escalation procedures when issues need immediate attention.

Understanding customer aspirations and their business impact help you to draft an approach that identifies and predicts the types of customer behavior and their “unintended outcomes.” Social listening and sentiment analysis tools can be used to analyze the data being generated through customers’ and influencers’ social interactions.

Customer Engagement Is the Key!
Within 20 minutes, the manager was at the diner’s table, apologizing for the issue even after the waiter had apologized.

Though technology drives customer service, human and organizational factors must be evaluated. They still play an important role in engaging customers, where the key is to engage with customers in their channel of choice. Your strategy needs to move customers from generic, many-to-many social conversations to one-on-one, personalized engagements to solve problems quickly.

Social advisors need to engage customers by responding to their posts. If that requires escalation or multi-department facilitation, businesses should route communications and coordinate resolution with appropriate departments. Based on need, the social analysts or advisors in the social command center (listening and analyzing post) will transfer a case over to advisors in the contact center to facilitate such resolution.

Resolution Achieves Customer Satisfaction!
The manager removed the meal from the bill, comped the couple’s meals, and gave them a gift certificate for another visit. Generously, the diner agreed to take her negative post off social media. She probably narrated the restaurant’s response as well!

By paying attention to conversations in the social space, you resolve issues early. Apart from reducing costs associated with repeat contacts, timely resolution ensures sustained excellence in customer experience. A 360-degree, omni-channel strategy combines social strategy, technology, analytics, execution, and people into a 24x7 customer service operation.

An integrated social-to-contact-center solution means we take such conversations off social channels to provide the appropriate level of attention and problem-solving customer service to drive resolution. Contact centers need omni-channel engagement capabilities that provide the scale to open one-on-one communication channels with customers. But they should also be able to provide the required customer care, requiring seamless cross—departmental workflow automation and the ability to respond to socially-posted complaints.

You’ve Crafted the Science … Now Hone the Art!
CRM systems in contacts centers play an important role in delivering social customer service. Social CRM must be one component of your overall social customer service strategy. The CRM solution should utilize analytics information integrated to provide business intelligence solutions. Quite simply, “look out” to listen, “understand” to analyze, “decide” to engage, and “address” to resolve!

For an effective social customer service solution, you need to ask: Do we have well-trained, dedicated experts for our contact center program who can monitor social exposure daily and meet customer needs? Does our solution apply First Contact Resolution principles to resolve customer issues early to help reduce costs, not to mention the long-term and lasting impact to reputation? Does the solution monitor our social accounts and brand mentions across the world?

After all, 140 characters is all it takes to make, or mar, a reputation!

Matthew Park, Manager, Solutions at Minacs

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Supplier Risk Management - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly by guest blogger Dan Kinsella

As clients continue to evolve their vendor relationships from broad based sole sourcing into integrated service portfolios and as vendors continue to evolve their service solutions to more technology dependent offerings, e.g. Cloud, Digital, we expect the level of complexity and the risk profile of these interdependent relationships to increase.  In the early stages of outsourcing it was quite common for an organization to be governing and managing a single vendor for each of their functional sourcing needs, with a limited Vendor Management Organization (VMO).  While this may have been convenient at the time, clients today are looking for more focused and specialized vendors who are able to effectively integrate into the Global Business Services portfolio. 

During the 90’s into the 00’s it was much more common for clients to have a sole source provider who provides all IT services, another who provides Finance and Accounting, and depending on the level of maturity there could be a whole host of other providers delivering services for functions like Procurement, Facilities Management, Printing, Asset Management, Human Resources, etc.

Today, however, focus is shifting from delivering single function services to delivering a range of services from a targeted mix of internal and external suppliers, while also asking some suppliers to work more collaboratively with each other for joint solutions.  This increases complexity in the ecosystem, including  Business Units, control functions such as information security and business continuity functions, tax, legal, sourcing, external vendors, captive delivery centers (near shore, onshore, global), and centers of excellence. 

Increased complexity requires deeper and sophisticated risk management policies and procedures, especially as regulators continue to issue more stringent guidance and scrutiny over Supplier Risk Management (SRM).  To date, clients have not been able to respond with effective and efficient SRM programs.
Key questions a VMO should be able to answer regarding the SRM program include:
  • Do you know who all your critical suppliers are?
  • Are you assigning the highest level of risk monitoring and due diligence to your riskiest and most critical suppliers?
  • Have you reviewed and approved the Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery programs for your critical suppliers?
  • Do you have controls in place to manage and approve the use of subcontractors by your suppliers?
  • Do you know which suppliers have access to your data, including client data, and what types of data?
  • What controls do you have in place to manage access?
  • What information regarding SRM is provided to the risk committee?
  • Have you evaluated whether your suppliers are Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) compliant?  
If you do not have clear answers to these questions, and a broad SRM program in place, you may be exposed to risks which you may not have considered when you executed your supplier contract, and may remain unmitigated.

To gain a better perspective, we looked at the results of the 2014 Deloitte Global Outsourcing and Insourcing Survey, to try and understand how clients are thinking about Vendor Management, particularly as it pertains to supplier awareness (a sub-function of SRM).

The Good
Approximately 75% of respondents indicated they have a VMO[1]

At first glance you may think, well 75% is not great, and while there is still some room to improve, the fact that nearly ¾ of those surveyed in the market indicated they have a VMO is quite impressive.  This is a great place to start when trying to better understand the vendor landscape and to evaluate the true risks to your enterprise which may be hidden or sheltered as a result of your supplier agreements.  If the information is not available today, a well-run vendor management organization or procurement office should be able to access that information.

The Bad
Only 40% of respondents indicated that they are satisfied with their supplier risk management program and adequacy of third party compliance and controls

While this is not ugly it certainly does not appear to be good.  With over 60% of respondents communicating neutrality or dissatisfaction with their SRM capabilities, regulators will be equally concerned and are likely to take remediation action.

The Ugly
Only 20% of respondents indicated that they are above average in terms of their SRM & Third party Compliance program

This result is the most disappointing across all of the major VMO functions surveyed.  Given the potential scale of service disruption and brand and reputational risk we expected this percentage to be significantly higher.  In fact, only one VMO function scored lower: Document Management

Getting Started
Like all things, the best place to start when it comes to SRM is to first “Acknowledge the Gap” between the actual vendor risk and perceived vendor risk.  The next area to focus should be “Building Awareness”.  Select a few major vendors and dig deeper into the dynamics of the relationship.  Insolvency and bankruptcy risk is always an issue for niche vendors, however, the larger more strategic relationships should be reviewed to understand concentration risk and data risks which may be passed through to the client.  Finally, clients must leverage this information for “Taking Action”.

Critically important, when building a SRM capability, is to include stakeholders from the beginning.  Managing supplier risk must not be seen as an imposition, but rather as a value to the business.  However, it is too frequently built in isolation and enforced upon businesses.  If the program is not hyper-efficient, businesses will focus on the inconvenience of process, and not the risks that the process is intending to mitigate.

In summary, knowing your critical suppliers is an essential element of any SRM program - “trust but verify” is the key.  Do not rely exclusively on contract provisions and consider measuring and monitoring compliance.  And remember, without the necessary controls, stakeholders may be left to their own devices.
For additional information on Supplier Risk Management, please visit GBS Deloitte.

This publication contains general information only, and none of the member firms of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, its member firms, or their related entities (collective, the “Deloitte Network”) is, by means of this publication, rendering professional advice or services. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional adviser. No entity in the Deloitte Network shall be responsible for any loss whatsoever sustained by any person who relies on this publication.

For more, please visit the website here

About Deloitte
Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) does not provide services to clients. Please see www.deloitte.com/about for a detailed description of DTTL and its member firms. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

Dan Kinsella is a Partner at Deloitte & Touche LLP

Copyright © 2015 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.
Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited

[1] Deloitte’s 2014 Global Outsourcing and Insourcing Survey: 2014 and Beyond, December 2014

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Customer Service At The Heart of Your Business by guest blogger, Amit Shankardass

You spend a lot of money building and promoting your brand because a respected brand helps to keep existing customers loyal and attract new ones. But who is it that really defines your brand? I’m sure you might be thinking of the marketing team, but is this really how most customers form an opinion about your business? In many cases it is very likely to be the way that your customer service teams operate and interact with your customers.  Interestingly, this the same customer service team that used to be considered a ‘non-core’ part of the business?

I have been talking to a lot of people over the past year about the way that customer service is taking on a new strategic importance across companies in all industries. Of course, most executives have repeated the mantra the ‘customer comes first’, but I believe that many companies are now genuinely looking to their customer facing team for ideas, leadership and a competitive advantage.

Take a look at this recent blog featuring the CEO of Mercedes Benz USA, Steve Cannon, in which he suggests that the experience customers have when they interact with your company is now a part of the marketing process:

“Now with social media and the connected environment we live in, a good experience can lead to thousands of connections and a negative experience can lead to potentially more than that,” he explained. “When I started three years ago, Customer Experience was our No. 1 priority. We put a team together under a General Manager who reports to me and we empower them to take a more holistic look at Customer Experience and map the customer journey. This has to be the heart beat within our group.”

I believe we are now on a journey where companies and entire industries are about to be reshaped. The way customers interact with brands has fundamentally changed.  From a world where most communication was post-sale - and only if there was a problem - to the present, where customers expect an ongoing relationship with the brand, regardless of whether they are buying or not. And they expect to have a consistent experience and relationship with the brand across their journey with the the brand.

What this really means is that every customer-facing function within the organization needs to be synchronized with others. Previous silos such as customer service, marketing, advertising, sales, PR, and product management, need to be working together – because the customer is not interested in your internal politics. To the customer all these internal departments just represent your brand.

Customer service is now seen as the heart of a business. It’s where your team interacts with customers every day. It’s where prospective customers ask questions, people who are about to be customers clear up last minute doubts, and existing customers get support. All these other internal departments stand to benefit from a tight integration with the team that speaks to customers day after day.

And the customer service team gains too. Far from being a dead-end job, those who excel in managing customers now have their pick of where to progress within the business. After all, is there a better apprenticeship than talking to real customers about real problems with your products?

Mercedes has shown that they are one step ahead of the crowd in aligning their customer experience team with marketing, operations and sales. I believe that the next few years will see customer service teams take on a key corporate strategy role for companies in all industries.
Amit Shankardass, EVP Marketing, Teleperformance

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Size & Growth as Defined by the New Global Outsourcing 100 (Final Blog in a 4-Part Series)

Tah dah! We have arrived – our Global Outsourcing 100® blog series is coming to a close. Hopefully, it’s been as fun for you as it has been for us here at IAOP. So far in the series we’ve discussed Delivery Excellence, Programs for Innovation and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in filling out the Global Outsourcing 100 application. If you missed either of these blogs, we’ve got you covered…you can check them out here (Delivery Excellence//Programs for Innovation//CSR).

In concluding the series, today’s blog will focus on “Size & Growth.”

This is the 4th and final of four judging categories (Delivery; Programs for Innovation; Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); and Size & Growth) in the Global Outsourcing 100. We’d like to also give a final shout out to those companies that have distinguished themselves by receiving half or full stars in one or more specific categories.

This judging area combines three questions on the application, which include:
  • Size being given the highest of their score for revenue or employees for the current fiscal year.
  • Growth being given the highest score for revenue growth or employee growth over the three-year period.
  • Global presence, scored based on the number of countries in which the company has multi-client service centers (or offices with full-time employees (FTEs) in the case of advisors). 

Preset bands for revenue, FTEs and number of countries determine the score values; these tables are found in the publicly provided Process & Methodology document downloadable from IAOP’s website. Unlike the other judging categories, which may be influenced by the independent judging panel input, the Size & Growth score is determined purely on information provided by the applicant. 
 Companies are sorted by Size or Revenue into two judging groups:  Leaders or Rising Stars.   Leaders are above either a $50M revenue or 5,000 FTE threshold; Rising Stars are below.  The top 100 provider list is made up of 75 Leaders and 25 Rising Stars.  Most Size & Growth scores for Leaders falls into the 3.5 to 5.5 range, and Rising Stars are in the 2.5 to 3.5 range.  Advisors are in one group, and mostly came in between 3.5 and 6.5.

IAOP and its judging panel, led by Mike Corbett, IAOP Chairman, invite you to use this space to explain how and why your company is one of the highest rated in this judging category by sharing your examples of company Size & Growth with our members.

For more information on the Global Outsourcing 100 Process & Methodology, please visit IAOP’s website, here

Monday, April 20, 2015

Corporate Social Responsibility as Defined by the New Global Outsourcing 100 (Part 3 of a 4-Part Series)

Another day – another Global Outsourcing 100 Blog! So far in the series we’ve discussed Delivery Excellence and Innovation in filling out the Global Outsourcing 100® application. If you missed either of these blogs, don’t fret…you can check them out here (Delivery Excellence//Programs for Innovation).

Today we are going to focus on “Corporate Social Responsibility.”

This is the 3rd of four judging categories (Delivery; Innovation; Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); and Size & Growth). To those companies that have distinguished themselves by receiving half or full stars in one or more specific categories, you can’t hear it, but there is applause in the background.

With rising global awareness surrounding social responsibility, including Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), it is of utmost importance to recognize service providers who have demonstrated exemplary leadership in, and ongoing commitment to, activities that foster community involvement, fair operating and labor practices, respect for human rights, attention to environmental impacts, consumer issues and good governance.

An increased number of organizations considering provider CSR capability when making an outsourcing decision has led to a maturing of the outsourcing industry’s acceptance of CSR.

This section of the application allows providers to share their company CSR programs as shown through outcomes that address such topics as:
  • Community involvement and development
  • Labor practices
  • Human rights
  • Fair operating practices
  • Environmental impacts
  • Consumer issues
  • Organizational governance
These above-named areas are based on the ISO 26000 in Social Responsibility that provides guidance on how businesses and organizations can operate in a socially responsible way. Each must provide reasonable evidence of company compliance in each area, through independent third party reference sources, and/or a published and audited CSR report.

IAOP and its judging panel, led by Mike Corbett, IAOP Chairman, invite you to use this space to explain how and why your company is one of the highest rated in this judging category by sharing your examples of company CSR with our members.

For more information on the Global Outsourcing 100 Process & Methodology, please visit IAOP’s website, here.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Programs for Innovation in Outsourcing as Demonstrated Through the New Global Outsourcing 100 (Part 2 of a 4-Part Series)

Yesterday, we started this series discussing Delivery Excellence in filling out the Global Outsourcing 100® application. If you missed all of the excitement, check out the blog here.

Today we are going to focus on “Innovation.”

This is the 2nd of four judging categories (Delivery; Programs for Innovation; Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); and Size & Growth). An extra pat on the back to those companies that have distinguished themselves by receiving half or full stars in one or more specific categories. 

The Programs for Innovation category of IAOP’s Global Outsourcing 100 program gives service providers and advisors the opportunity to showcase how they go about delivering innovation for their customers. It focuses not just on specific examples but on the programs that service providers and advisors have in place to identify and implement innovative solutions.

Some examples frequently cited by industry experts Mary Lacity and Leslie Willcocks are:

  • A better forecasting tool that improves a retailer’s stocking, inventory levels and reduces errors
  • Adding a predictive tool to a claims submission process that significantly reduces rework costs
  • An improvement to an existing manufacturer ordering process that reduces both stocking costs and delivery delays
  • A governance tool that results in more efficient and effective customer management in a multi-vendor environment

Selection process details and company strengths are featured in a special advertising feature, produced by IAOP, in the June 8, 2015, Fortune 500 issue of FORTUNE® magazine.

Defining and meeting service levels and costs is now a given. Today’s customers demand that— and innovation—from their top providers. The addition of this category to the Global Outsourcing 100 gives both providers and advisors an opportunity to showcase what they are doing and will help customers, providers and advisors better focus on this critical aspect of contemporary outsourcing.

Innovation in outsourcing can impact any outsourced process, in any business function and industry. While technology is often a key driver of innovation, innovation is certainly not limited to technology companies or technology services.

Outsourcing buyers understand there are multitudes of qualified service providers and advisors out there; what they really need to understand now is what makes each exceptional. As the outsourcing industry continues to mature, customers have come to expect excellent service that meets or exceeds agreed-to service levels at an agreed-to price. 

Today’s outsourcing environment demands more. It demands service providers and advisors who can work collaboratively with their customers to constantly break new ground, achieve unanticipated benefits and help their clients win both today and tomorrow in the markets they serve. In short, customers across all areas are looking to their providers and advisors to not only see, but to deliver these performance improvements as an integral part of their value proposition.

Finally, innovation in outsourcing is more than just an occasional breakthrough idea. Top outsourcing service providers actually set up company-wide, multi-client programs that encourage, facilitate and support the identification and implementation of improved customer performance through innovation.

Some companies establish productivity improvement targets with all of their customers and then work collaboratively to meet them. Others establish gain-sharing programs at the project-level, while others commit to ‘innovation days’ where customer and provider personnel come together to focus solely on ways to improve customer performance.

IAOP and its judging panel, led by Mike Corbett, IAOP Chairman, invite you to use this space to explain how and why your company is one of the highest rated in this judging category by sharing your programs for innovation with our members.

For more information on the Global Outsourcing 100 Process & Methodology, please visit IAOP’s website, here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Delivery Excellence as Defined by the New Global Outsourcing 100 (Part 1 of a 4-Part Series)

Hip hip hooray...it's not the New Year but it sure does feel like it around here with the buzz and excitement of IAOP's 10th edition of The Global Outsourcing 100®!

The companies on the list are all top companies and we want you to know what makes them so special and how they got here in the first place. Each organization completed a rigorous, opt-in application (and by the way, hats off to those who applied – not everyone does and it shows your commitment to our industry!) based on 4 distinct areas: Delivery; Programs for Innovation; Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); and Size & Growth.  Those companies that have distinguished themselves receive half or full stars in one or more specific judging category…kudos to you!   *Note - advisors only eligible for three stars.

In this blog, I'm going to focus on “Delivery Excellence."

Judging for the Global Outsourcing 100 is based on a rigorous scoring methodology that includes a review by an independent panel of IAOP customer members with extensive experience in selecting outsourcing service providers and advisors for their organizations. The Global Outsourcing 100 list is one factor that outsourcing customers need to use as a reference when selecting service providers and advisors. We encourage them to carefully consider all of the great companies out there in determining the right fit for them in making their own business decisions.

When filling out the application, outsourcing service providers and advisors practicing delivery excellence demonstrate it through:
  • the value they create with that company’s top customers
  • industry recognition
  • relevant organizational certifications
  • individual professional certifications 

This multi-part question asks applicants to provide information just as they might in a real-life request for proposal.

The question includes (and is in order of importance):
  • Citing their top customers that best demonstrate sustained excellence in the delivery of services, and to provide published third-party sources, direct customer quotes and/or letters of recommendation. Receiving full credit requires both a well-documented discussion of the relationship—what was done, how long, what problem was solved, services delivered and results achieved—and well documented third-party or client executive endorsements, specifically about services and results (as opposed to “well done, thank you” letters).
  • Providing the three most recent and relevant public recognitions the company has received that demonstrate business and outsourcing excellence, along with independent sources for validation.  These recognitions should be public and competitively judged by a third-party source; where there is an opportunity for a wide segment of businesses to qualify and be selected.
  • Providing the three most recent and relevant certifications the company has received—or its individual professionals in the case of advisors—in the skill and knowledge sets that demonstrate excellence in its outsourcing business, with independent references for validation.  Certifications should be public and competitively awarded by a third-party source.
  • Providing the number of IAOP Certified Outsourcing Professionals® they have on staff (aCOP or COP).

IAOP and its judging panel, led by Mike Corbett, IAOP chairman, invite you to use this space to explain how and why your company is one of the highest rated in this judging category by sharing your examples of company delivery excellence with our members.

For more information on the Global Outsourcing 100 Process & Methodology, please visit IAOP’s website, here

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.

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/
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.

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.
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.