What do IT-BPO clients want?

Michael Alan Hamlin

Posted on September 2, 2011

The number one reason customers outsource initially is to reduce cost. But what if there is no more cost to cut?

Research shows that business innovation can help achieve the two things that customers want most–enhanced productivity levels and greater value for money. But what about new sources of revenue? Shouldn’t that be at least as important as wringing incremental value out of business processes? Many IT-BPO executives and clients alike think it is, and we’ll be asking some of them how they do that at the International Outsourcing Summit (IOS).

(Disclosure: My firm, TeamAsia, has been engaged by the Business Processing Association of the Philippines, which organizes the summit, to manage the event.)

The third annual IOS is just a little more than a month away. It takes place October 11-22, and features over 70 IT-BPO executives and clients representing many of the world’s most admired global brands. The timing couldn’t be better for a discussion on innovation in the IT-BPO industry. In the current IT-BPO and shared services environment, it seems awfully obvious that buyers want more than incremental innovation. They want something radical.

And while IT-BPO clients are interested in all the buzzwords–Web 2.0 communications channels like social media and blogs as well as emerging technologies like cloud computing, SaaS, virtual assistants, and the like–clients expect their services providers to lead and manage fundamental, meaningful, impactful service innovation for them that produces more than savings.

To discuss what clients really want, an executive panel of IT-BPO services providers and customer representatives has been recruited for “President’s Panel One: What Do Clients Want?” on the first day of the summit. The panel is—in a word—terrific.

They include Ralph Guggenheim, CEO of Alligator Planet; Jeff Russakow, EVP for customer advocacy at Yahoo!; Lynn De La Rea-Dominado, vice president for reservations and CRS at Philippine Airlines; John Wheeler, vice president for strategy and emergent technologies at SPi Global; Kush Kamra, vice president for global service delivery at MetLife; Partha Mishra, managing director at UnitedHealth Group Information Services; Jim Cross vice president for medical policy and operations at Aetna; and Precy Goldstein, director for group outsourcing and offshoring at UBS.

All of these accomplished individuals are leaders in their field, but let me elaborate on just two of them so that I don’t exceed my word limit. Ralph Guggenheim invented a revolutionary film editing system, EditDroid, and is a founding member of pioneering computer animation studio Pixar, which was purchased from LucasFilm by consumer technology visionary and Apple CEO Steve Jobs and renamed.

Pixar revolutionized animated film making, and after distributing its films through its larger competitor Disney—which created the industry—for years, agreed to be acquired by Disney for $7.4 billion.

Guggenheim was vice president of feature animation at Pixar, where he managed the growth and development of the company’s studio operations. He expanded the studio from seven people in 1986 to more than 350 in 1997. Guggenheim produced Pixar’s Oscar-winning short film, “Tin Toy” as well as numerous animated commercials. From 1991 to 1995, he produced “Toy Story” for Pixar and Disney, which grossed over US$350 million worldwide.

As CEO of Alligator Planet, Guggenheim supervises the production of projects and builds relationships with offshore production studios and creative contributors across the US and Europe. He produced two animated features for direct-to-DVD release: “Here Comes Peter Cottontail: The Movie” (2005) and “Casper’s Scare School” (2006), both for Classic Media, Inc. Guggenheim also produced “Bob Burgers,” currently being shown on Fox Network and “Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil,” aired by Cartoon Network/Adult Swim.

Jeff Russakow, Yahoo! Inc. EVP for Customer Advocacy, will also participate in the panel with Guggenheim and will also be among the panelists for the breakout session, “Grappling with the Social Marketing Explosion,” joining other high-level executives from ABS-CBN, Aegis Limited, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, and Multiply.

As an executive at Yahoo!, Russakow handles the company’s customer support functions including consumer care, small business, advertiser operations, and search network quality. He also drives the company’s initiatives to continually enhance the Yahoo! consumer, advertiser, and publisher experience. Russakow draws on his impressive educational background to build and maintain online communities, something Yahoo! excels at.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Princeton University, and master’s and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. Dr. Russakow will have compelling insights for delegates.

Moderated by Aegis PeopleSupport president Bong Borja, President’s Panel One will be a provocative discussion that will provide valuable insights into how vendors perceive what customers want, and what customers really want. Don’t miss it.

(Michael Alan Hamlin is the managing director of TeamAsia and a Manila-based author. His latest book is High Visibility: Transforming Your Personal and Professional Brand. Write him at mahamlin@teamasia.com and follow him on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.). Copyright © 2011 Michael Alan Hamlin. All Rights Reserved.)

No Comments

Leave a response