Most people I speak to can't wait for 2009 to be put to bed. People suddenly awoke to the realization that everything they have grafted so hard to achieve in their lives could be seized from them, because their economy had failed them.
Like everything else in this world, we always wait until its too late before taking drastic action, and 2009 epitomized this reactionary mindset that dominates so much of our society.
However, I did want to sign off from 2009 with a dose of realism... fancy phrases such as "New Normal", or "Preparing for the Recovery" only wash when they attempt to address the question: "How the blimming heck can we radically change our attitudes and actions to save our children from economic and environmental disaster".
Have you ever had such an irresistible request? Well... here's your chance to tour the exquisite delights of the picturesque tree-lined New York suburb, with its manicured lawns, fine eateries and state-of-the-art museums, where you can enjoy the famous hospitality of the jovial, friendly local folk who'll make you feel right at home, shrouded in luxury and fine local culture.
However, sight-seeing in paradise, drenched in lovely winter sunshine, isn't all you can look forward to during this visit of a lifetime... you can also make a sneaky detour to the Global Services Conference, where you can mingle with the hoi-polloi of the services and outsourcing industry, at Jersey City's sumptuous Hyatt Regency hotel on 28-29 January.
If there was a Nobel Prize for industry analysts, this guy walks away with it - he's super cool, talks a good game, and has done very little beyond, well, be super-cool and super-smart... and with a French accent to boot. So today, I thought we'd give IDC's Sebastien Ruest the chance to prove there's a bit more substance behind the snowboarding, hockey-stick-wielding playboy façade :)
Sebastien's proving IDC's nearshore model by leading it's global services research from Canada, and developing a solid reputation in the industry as one of the industry analysts who "gets it". So I thought it time to grab a few minutes with the dude himself...
Remember our mystery blogger who evangelizes on best practices for vendor management? Well that mysterious individual has challenged me to a predictions dual this morning (gasp), where he /she said "I'd be willing to wager a drink on who gets a higher percentage right. After all, I didn't bet on England in the World Cup, so I'm pretty optimistic :)" We'll see about that sunshine...
So here's the eagerly-awaited second part of the Lowell Williams experience, where we decided to give him 30 minutes of fame. Over to Equattera's HRO mega-star with the handbrake firmly in the off position...
Phil Fersht: Lowell, we’ve had a lot of talk on here about “Platform BPO”, where clients essentially take on a standard SaaS-delivered platform, supported by business processing services delivered by a BPO provider. How do you view these “on-demand” business services? Isn’t this just a win-win for the software providers, with limited value for the BPO provider? How can service providers differentiate their offerings in this type of model?
Lowell Williams: As mentioned above, many HR and IT executives
Firstly: my apologies to everyone for hopping on the perennial "Predictions Bandwagon". One may as well say "Stop press everyone, I'm just such an important smarty-pants you should listen to ME ME ME!" As Newt Gingrich told us earlier this year: "There is not one living being that can accurately predict the outcome of this crisis, all we can do is continue the dialog and the answers will slowly unravel".
Secondly: we've conducted two major studies with outsourcing buyers globally this year (and am currently sifting through 800 responses - and counting - from our current industry study). While we can evangelize, prophecize, pontificate and sermonize, nothing can substitute for real data on what everyone is currently doing and planning to do. We have the platform here to do that, and I personally thank all of you who took a little time out to share their views, actions and intentions.
And Thirdly: I'm just such an important smarty-pants you should listen to ME ME ME!" So maybe I can help with the unraveling?
i) CIOs and CFOs will be uniquely challenged to avoid becoming "Cartoons of the Recession".
Simply put, when there's a serious recession in the works, the job of the CIO is relatively simple - cut costs and squeeze your suppliers using whatever means are at your disposal. CIOs rarely get fired in this scenario, unless they somehow messed up the cost-cutting.
One of the advisors which has really made a strong move in the sourcing business this year is Alsbridge. Much of that has been down to its strong track record with clients, but its also made some canny investments to augment its advisory services. One of these I've had some exposure to is ProBenchmark, which has been running some excellent webcasts looking into how pricing trends and dynamics in IT services.
I caught up with CEO Ben Trowbridge the other day, and he wanted to let us know about a webcast ProBenchmark is running next week - you can register here. Plus - for all you cheapskates... its FREE (Wednesday 10th December at 2.00pm EST).
Anyhow, I managed to drag Ben away from a hunting outing for a few minutes to pose the following questions:
PF: Which IT services have fluctuated in price the most?
For once I am stumped for a title. The one man who had successfully escaped my previous attempts to feature him has finally been caught. Either his career has nose-dived and he's now desperate for some publicity, or the "Horses" now gives that 15-minutes of fame people so badly crave. I hope it's the latter -:)
Lowell, quite simply, is the most respected practitioner in HR Outsourcing. Not only has he spent many years as an actual HR leader, he also worked for the "original" HRO provider Exult, moved into the sourcing world with TPI, before joining Equaterra in 2004 to head their HRO advisory practice. He has been responsible for many HRO engagements - and he has somehow survived to tell the tale. He also became the HROA's "Person of the Year" in 2008... an honor only bestowed to the most lovable scoundrels in the outsourcing world. So without further ado...