Thursday, February 28, 2013

Love Thy Sourcing Provider by guest blogger Ben Trowbridge

More often than not, when a client engages a provider to outsource IT and F&A functions, communication does not occur between the two parties during the budgeting period. To the customer, there is a contract in place with set annual charges and a number of minor and major projects to which monies are allocated. The company's budget is based on the contractual agreement. On the other end of the spectrum, the provider has revenue goals tied to growing the account through additional project work and taking on more of the client's functions.

The annual goals for the two parties are very diverse and can be conflicting at times. The client seeks to decrease costs and the provider is attempting to establish a greater foothold to increase revenue. Partnership is often discussed as the protocol, though the intent is not realistic. For a successful outsourcing relationship, a company may need to reconsider its relationship approach and start viewing the provider as more than just a vendor.

Collaborative Client Provider Forecasting

In each client/provider relationship, the two parties have one major goal in common supported by several diverse goals and strategies. The common goal is to provide excellent service to their respective beneficial users; the diverse goals are always about money, budget management, and targets. The challenge is synergizing the diverse goals from a financial perspective. Innovation councils address a small portion of this challenge by identifying opportunities for change but the true answer is found by setting realistic expectations.

Treat the Provider with ‘Love’

Consider treating the provider as a part of your organization. Hold them to the same operational and fiscal responsibility as your direct reports and departments and involve the provider in your budgeting process as an insider. Treating your provider as an arm of your organization can be mutually beneficial:
• It allows the provider to continue to envision growing their business while offering solutions designed to meet your current goals
• It sets realistic expectations for the provider
• Allows clearer visibility as to the value the provider brings to the organization and their everyday contributions
• Allows the provider to better plan its budget for services provided and set expectations for internal management
• Facilitates additional financial performance measurement tracking in the outsourcing agreement
• Helps determine if the provider is interested in meeting your business needs in addition to its own
• Challenges the rest of your team to be more creative, efficient and cost effective


Collaboration during the budget process allows visibility into the needs of both organizations creating a paradigm shift in the client/provider relationship moving the intent of a partnership closer to reality.

By treating your provider as an organizational associate, causes them to focuses on the partner relationship, accepting the same operational and fiscal responsibility expected as the rest of your team.

'If the provider continually misses its targets with your financial needs, it becomes obvious that part of the outsourcing relationship is not working and must be addressed.'

The provider benefits by understanding its expectations as an internal team member and assists them in identifying opportunities where they may provide additional value while challenging your team to be more creative. The approach is a positive for every participant in the relationship. So go on and spread the love!
Ben Trowbridge, Founder & CEO, Alsbridge, Inc.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Welcome to The 2013 Outsourcing World Summit in beautiful Phoenix, Arizona!

It's Saturday – pre-summit and the staff at IAOP has been super busy preparing for the event. The JW Marriott Desert Ridge Phoenix is fantastic – couldn't have asked for a better location. We're looking forward to having everyone here soon, so get ready...we have lots in store for you!

The Summit program includes one hundred speakers and more than 50 educational sessions, including the new Wednesday “Fun, Fast and Focused” programming; 15-minute mini-sessions that are informative, inspiring, profound and provocative.

We have some great special events planned for this year's summit:
Are you here all day on Sunday? Well, keep on reading...
New for Sunday the IAOP Publishers Cup – you'll be mixing it up on the green with colleagues, clients and fellow outsourcing professionals for a round. Not a golfer? Check out our “Getting to Know You” Networking Event – join us by the pool on Sunday for an informal meet and greet. Later Sunday evening, our Champagne Welcome is sure to entice – come down to the registration desk, pick up your materials and raise a glass to another year! New this year we have the Global Services Mall Sneak Peak – in addition to fun and informative networking receptions on Monday and Tuesday evenings, you’ll have an additional chance to check out the exhibit hall on Sunday evening following the champagne welcome.

Once the summit begins, we'll have many refreshment sure to stay hydrated here, it will keep you energized for 3 action-packed days:
-> Two Global Services Mall Receptions: Join the conversation - meet potential partners
-> Customer-Only or Provider/Advisor-Only Networking: Identify delegates like you and share how you turned challenges into successes.
-> A Taste of Nova Scotia: Your hosts, Nova Scotia Business Inc., invite you to share in some fine wine and savories from their neck of the woods.
-> Awards Luncheon: See who’s next to be inducted into The Outsourcing Hall of Fame, who will receive IAOP’s GEO Awards and celebrate IAOP’s Member of the Year.
-> By Popular Demand! New Advanced Track: Advanced sessions in every round led by IAOP’s Certified Outsourcing Professionals (COPs)!

Year after year, The Outsourcing World Summit brings the global community of outsourcing professionals together for an unparalleled knowledge sharing, networking and personal and business development experience you can count on. The 2013 Outsourcing World Summit will continue this tradition of excellence.

See you soon!!
Kate Tulloch-Hammond, IAOP Manager of Media & Communications

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Seeking Employment in Outsourcing? Here's 5 things to consider

As the economy continues to slowly improve, many are looking at opportunities outside their domestic markets and often with companies that are global players.  We particularly heard from jobseekers looking at the global players such as Softtek, Genpact, Neusoft, Luxoft, TCS, Infosys, Cognizant and others.  We also heard from employers and talked to them about how they attract employees.  What are the most important things you need to know about seeking employment with a global services provider?

To find out, I talked to our professional connections on looking for ideas applicable to evaluating global (or multinational) service providers, rather than strictly domestic employers. The ideas range from micro issues, such as knowing the leadership style of your direct supervisor, to macro issues about the company's financials and reputation of its senior leadership.
To help encourage discussion and debate about these ideas, I am going to rank them from 5th to 1st in importance to you, a global job candidate.  
5 – Company Culture

Does the company have a strong record of diversity? Does it employ leaders from outside of its home country? Does it promote women to key positions of authority? Is the company culture primarily top-down or a bit more collaborative and entrepreneurial? What are the stated and actual expectations for your work hours? Is work-life balance something embraced by this firm? Does the company donate money – or employee hours – to advance any social causes?

4 – Compensation & Benefits

Some global service providers provide stock options or warrants to employees, while others do not. Is the company public or privately held? What percentage of the compensation is tied to variables goals that are beyond your span of influence? Has the company met its group compensation targets despite the downturn?
 Executive education is also a factor for executives looking to assume more responsibility. Does the company provide continuous education for all of its employees? Does the company have a commitment to provide paid executive education? 

3 – Working Globally

Does the company have competitive and generous relocation policies? Does the company provide relocated executives with perks such as housing and transportation stipends?  Where are the company's main offices? How long has the company been in that location? (That demonstrates a commitment by the company to the location.) Does the location provide good quality housing, schools, infrastructure, and security? Could your spouse work in that location – and would he or she be happy there? 

2 – Management

Find out about the reputation of the firms and its leaders. Are executives rotated through different positions to give them a range of experience? Are executives in that organization cherry-picked or recruited by competing firms? What's the leadership style of your direct supervisor? Is he or she flexible and interested in advancing your career? 

1 – Know the company's financials

Find out if the company is profitable. How does the company's earnings compare to its peers? What's the target profit margin on a sale? Which lines of business drive its profits or losses? Will you be asked to work in a group that is under-resourced or in need of a transformation?
I am hoping that as many of you look at career options in this economy, you still take the time to make sure that you are looking at the above five keys to evaluate the employer.  Finally, I hope that employers look at this to build an inviting work environment.

Atul Vashistha is Founder & Chairman of Neo Group, a global firm focused on global supply monitoring, outsourced program management and sourcing advisory. His latest venture is, an online job portal focused on outsourcing careers. Atul is also a Founding Board Member of IAOP.