Monday, November 26, 2012

Taking the Pulse; latest issue fast & furious – no medication required.

What do politics, elections, trends, forecasts, emerging destinations, jobs, taxes and the global economy have to do with each other? Pulse magazine, of course. Our team takes the Pulse on all these topics in our new issue which came out last week. Here is what you can expect:
  • Find out how outsourcing is expected to play out around the world; hint – the forecast is looking explosive.
  • Before and After: We predicted the trends and forecasts before the election. Read everything here. Now that it’s over, comment below and tell us your thoughts on the future of outsourcing in the coming year.
  • Find out why Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) should be at the forefront of every outsourcing contract.
  • Businesses will consider outsourcing “locally” or will consider bringing offshore work back onshore.
  • We’re giving you the top 10 outsourcing predictions; risk, energy, analytics…
  • Buyers and providers will work together more closely to co-create value, transformation and innovation.
  • Destination Africa – is it the “lost” continent or the “last” continent as far as outsourcing is concerned…or is it both? The infrastructure is available to connect nations & cities with the rest of the world. We think Africa is a hot spot!
  • Avoiding IT service contract pitfalls; three common mistakes.
  • Beyond cost; achieving business stability and strategic flexibility through outsourcing.
  • View from the C-Suite – fresh face, Bill Concannon – real time with the CEO of Global Corporate Services for CBRE Group. 
We asked. You answered. We listened. This 2nd issue of Pulse delves deep into the future of outsourcing as shown throughout the magazine with contributions by our many members and thought leaders. 

We might be a new magazine, but with IAOP’s 120,000 members and affiliates worldwide, we’ve got legions of followers. Haven’t read it yet? Check it out here.

Friday, November 09, 2012

How to Take Advantage of Asia by guest blogger, Tom Browne

Asia booming
China now has a larger auto market than the US(1). Nearly half of US companies surveyed
saw their China-based businesses outperform the overall company(2). Southeast Asia, including Japan and China, holds almost 30% of the world’s population (and that doesn't count India). So you understand all that, not to mention the GDP growth figures and “consumerization” happening as well. The question is “how to take advantage of it?”

Asia is a tough market for US companies to enter
If you’re going into China, first thing is you’ll need someone who speaks Mandarin, right? Well, it’s a good start, but then you’ll need to address the 600 million people who don’t speak Mandarin. Greater Asia is home to 150 languages. And in addition to the language proliferation there is the cultural diversity within Asian lands and (the big one) the East-West “chasm.”

About that chasm: Western business culture is generally contract-driven. Asian business culture is generally relationship-driven. As you can imagine these worlds often collide: the Western businessman, red-faced and bursting at the seams, waving a contract in front of his Asian counterpart.  The Asian: stoic and disinterested. This cultural divide is the major hurdle to Western companies doing business in Asia and many, many companies have crashed and burned failing to fully grasp this.

Furthermore, the concept of guanxi. You may want to look this one up(3) as it is both vitally important to success in Asia and quite interesting to a Westerner. In brief, it’s an extension of the relationship-driven culture; “it’s not what you know it’s who you know" — a giant quid-pro-quo system, and Westerners enter it with no “quid." The Chinese prefer to know you before they transact with you. But what if you don’t know anybody?

Finally, a big problem facing many Western companies is self-induced: failure to commit. CEOs of thriving companies are torn between missing out on the Asia Opportunity and messing with the status quo. So rather than tell the board "we'll take a pass on China," he'll stick a toe in the Chinese water, playing not-to-lose rather than grabbing the market by its throat. No surprise then when results are very modest and attention is turned elsewhere.

Local partners can help
So operating in Asia is a different deal than we're used to. What to do about it? The first step is to acknowledge that you have a problem (just like that famous 12-step program) and that you are best served getting help; and that help should be from someone local to the market you're interested in.

Local partners can't force you to commit - that's up to you - but once you have committed the benefits are many. With a properly constructed, i.e. win-win agreement in place, local partners can provide a wealth of assistance: speeding up bureaucratic hassles; making connections; navigating the court system; providing dual-language speakers; extending some of their "guanxi"...the list goes on.

1. JD Power
2. US-China Business Council
Tom Browne is Management Consultant at hiSoft.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Election 2012...Before and After

Before the U.S Presidential elections were known, Pulse asked: How will political changes affect the global outsourcing industry in 2013? Read the answers here.

Let us that the U.S. Presidential election is over, how do you think the results will affect outsourcing?