White Water Outsourcing: How Outsourcing Helped to Save Williams

Part of the IDC Outsourcing Forum Midwest Report

IDC-main-grfx2The Williams Companies is a Fortune 200 energy company that currently distributes 12% of all the natural gas consumed in the United States and is a major employer in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Marcia MacLeod, Vice President of Business Process Outsourcing, and Karen Caldwell, Director for Energy & Utilities at IBM, explained how the company pulled a Houdini in the early 2000s, using outsourcing to survive a near-death experience in which its stock dropped from $48 to less than one dollar. This case reflected outsourcing’s potential in dramatic turnaround situations while confronting some outmoded stereotypes about its impact on local employment.


The Future of Outsourcing Unveiled by ITO and BPO Analysis

Part of the IDC Outsourcing Forum Midwest Report

IDC-main-grfx2IDC analysts Brian Bingham and Barry Rubenstein cited extensive IDC research to describe how outsourcing is developing as a business practice. Although they didn’t explicitly delve into adoption itself, their treatment of ITO (IT outsourcing) and BPO (business process outsourcing) provided significant insight into how outsourcing is being adopted by global enterprises. ITO is several years ahead of BPO for several reasons, namely that IT has traditionally been managed as a support function and cost center in most enterprises and, as such, it has been a textbook candidate for outsourcing. BPO is often more intertwined with the business’s core competencies; in addition, it almost always requires sophisticated IT support. Clearly, ITO had well publicized failures in the early 2000s, but this proved to be part of the normal learning curve, and ITO successes have emboldened buyers and providers to push further into the business. This contrast between ITO and BPO patterns is particularly instructive.


Executive Summary: Strategic Corporate Transformation Trends Unveiled at IDC Outsourcing Forum Midwest

Clear Outsourcing Adoption Curve Emerges

IDC-main-grfx2The IDC Outsourcing Forum Midwest convened sourcing thought leaders from global enterprises, world-class outsourcing providers and IDC’s leading analysts in Chicago September 11-12, 2006. They shared pioneering experiences that are pushing the transformational boundaries of outsourcing, one of the most important management practices to emerge in the 21st century. Case studies from the Williams Companies, AOL, Lucent, Barry-Wehmiller and Procter & Gamble explained how to use outsourcing to satisfy multifaceted business objectives, and a clear adoption curve is emerging that describes how outsourcing is reshaping the world’s largest organizations.


Sneak Preview2: Surprising Manufacturing Case Study to Be Presented at IDC's Outsourcing Forum

Surprising Manufacturing Case Study Featured at IDC Outsourcing Forum shows how outsourcing is creating more onshore manufacturing jobs.

Surprising Manufacturing Case Study Featured at IDC Outsourcing ForumReaders of U.S. and European press are too familiar with the plight of manufacturers—and how outsourcing is increasing cost pressures and sending even more jobs overseas. What is less known is that leading edge manufacturers are beginning to use outsourcing to increase local employment by making local companies more competitive.

Forum attendees will hear how Midwest U.S. manufacturer Barry-Wehmiller, which was featured in BusinessWeek’s The Future of Outsourcing, is creating a new business that turns around manufacturers by improving their business processes, which makes them more competitive and ends up increasing local employment in many cases. Forum presenter Vasant Bennett is President of Barry-Wehmiller International Resources (BMIS) and a chief architect of BWIS’s emerging service offerings. He spoke to the Global Human Capital Journal last week.


Sneak Preview: IDC's Outsourcing Forum Will Debut in Chicago September 11-12

Part of the IDC Outsourcing Forum Midwest Report

IDC-main-grfx2Midwest executives will have an excellent opportunity to learn how to take their outsourcing strategy to the next level next week, when IDC will bring their Outsourcing Forum to Chicago. Themed “Reinventing your business through BPO and ITO,” the Forum will feature speakers from Proctor & Gamble, Lucent, The Williams Companies, NiSource, Goodyear, Barry-Wehmiller and Hydro One Networks. In addition, world-class outsourcing providers such as Capgemini, IBM, Hewlett-Packard will offer practical advice, and several of IDC’s lead analysts will offer their insights.

I was able to catch up with event chairman Bob Welch, who previewed some of the Summit’s key themes. I also have information on a special registration deal.


The Silver Lining in India's Infrastructure Gap

The Silver Lining in India’s Infrastructure Gap posits that India’s poor infrastructure face force it to develop more lucrative Knowledge Economy assets.

India is often described as a mixed proposition with respect to its future promise. Although few would question its brilliance as a “burgeoning technology economy,” most people temper this with somber remarks about its lack of “infrastructure.” However, I will argue that India’s limitations with physical infrastructure will actually help India get further ahead than if it didn’t have such problems.

In the popular view (see Indian Raj and its quote of The Houston Chronicle), India’s technology expertise, language skills and legal sensibilities are its trump cards, but this is compromised by its lack of roads, transportation of all kinds, network infrastructure, electricity, and so on. High tech companies have to build their own generators and network infrastructure, and leading providers have created islands of world class capability to assure their global clients that they don’t depend on the country’s infrastructure. China, on the other hand, is generally seen as a paragon of world-class infrastructure, especially physical infrastructure. Woe is India.


Agility on Tap: Demystifying the Virtues of Virtualization

Bryan Doerr, CTO of IT services powerhouse SAVVIS, pulled off quite a feat at the Technology Executives Club Outsourcing Update in Chicago last week: in 30 minutes, he explained how visionary CIOs were increasing the value of “IT” by making it vanish. “IT” is not merely being commoditized but must entertain an even more ignoble fate—being virtualized—and this is an exceedingly good thing.


Transformational Promise for Outsourcing

Accelerating Forces Buffet the Enterprise

Volatility of customer wants and diversity of markets around the world will increasingly demand that enterprises innovate if they want to remain relevant because their current product introduction and innovation processes are woefully insufficient. In addition, several “structural enablers” are driving down the cost of collaboration—globalization, enterprise software maturation, e-collaboration tools and BPM solutions. I think it’s beyond dispute that “emerging” markets around the world look at India as a model, and there will be a cascading wave of new outsourcing providers entering the market in the years ahead, keeping downward pressure on supplier prices and forcing increased innovation across the supplier value chain. For example, many educated young people in these markets are native with e-collaboration tools, which should lead to new models of collaboration. SOA and Web services are increasingly ingrained in enterprise software, opening up legacy and new solutions to web-based, granular sharing of information. BPM, because it digitizes an increasing spectrum of the business process, is an enabler of outsourcing.

Reposition Outsourcing as Iterative Transformation

Outsourcing in 2006 is where e-business was in 1998, when the Internet was a tech playground in the mid-late 90s. The mission of “e-business strategy” was […]

Rare Legal and Business Insight into Offshore Countries and Regions

Rare Legal and Business Insight into Offshore Countries and Regions describes Baker & McKenzie’s excellent webcasts focused on offshore business.

Depending on your business strategy, it may make sense to explore offshoring to several regions of the world to mitigate the risk that your partner might be affected by natural disasters or political upheaval. In fact, many offshore experts recommend a portfolio strategy for risk mitigation or operational effectiveness (follow the sun operations can reduce time to market) while meeting cost objectives.


Outsourcing, the IT of 2015

The current revolution in enterprise software is only a preview of a much larger, more pervasive shift that will transform the global economy within the next decade. Service-oriented architecture and Web services are two of the more well-known elements of the maturation of distributed computing, which is changing the rules of the vaunted software development life cycle.

In short, we are on the way to becoming a real-time market for global human capital whose ascendancy will increase with the growth of the knowledge economy and global standards for work processes. If we classify economic value according to knowledge/information, manufacturing and agricultural products and services, the knowledge portion has been steadily increasing its share of the value chain, and this trend is accelerating. Of course, information technology facilitates the creation, distribution and sharing of knowledge.

What does this mean for outsourcing and offshoring? By understanding how standards-based technologies have combined to transform enterprise software, we can learn how the coming standardization of work processes will drive explosive demand for an always-on market for knowledge workers and real-time value chains.

Read a longer version of the article published in the Technology Executives Club Journal. Forthcoming next month, my point of view […]