Tag Archives: Alsbridge

EU Network Strategy: Don’t Delay Mobile Consolidation

Margot Wall Blog2

Margot Wall, Managing Consultant – 

Recent moves by the European Community (EC) have opened up the competitive landscape and created opportunities for global enterprises to consolidate network operations in EC countries.  Mobile operations are especially promising, and we’re seeing a number of client organizations move forward with plans to consolidate and rationalize plans from multiple carriers.

At the same time, other enterprises appear to be content to wait until their existing mobile contracts expire before taking advantage of these emerging market opportunities. That would be a mistake. The time to start a consolidation initiative is now, even for organizations with a number of contracts still in force.

Consider: With multiple countries and multiple in-country teams, and with at least one provider in each country, getting a consolidation deal to market – and then getting to contract – both take longer than you might expect.  If you wait between 6 and 18 months to go to market, by the time you’re done with the project another 8 to 18 months has gone by – and now your rates are more than three years old.

However, by going to market now, by the time you’ve signed new contracts the old agreements you were waiting on to expire are ready to migrate to the new deal, instead of sitting at the old rates. Bottom line – you save money sooner.

We’ll be discussing network and telecom issues, contracting strategies and the European marketplace at the 2015 Alsbridge European Vendor Summit, to be held May 19th in London.

Feeding the Microsoft Money Machine

Louis Pellegrino Blog

Louis Pellegrino, Director – 

If you’re a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement customer these days, you might be feeling like a walking ATM. It seems that the more products and licenses you purchase, the harder the sell becomes to buy even more.

The reality is that Microsoft Enterprise sale teams are assigned aggressive growth targets for increasing account spend year over year. And the bigger the account, the greater the pressure to grow revenue from that customer.

The problem is that the opportunity for organic growth simply isn’t there.  Many large customers – those with 5000 devices or licenses – are already well-stocked with core Microsoft products.  Ironically, however, it’s the customers with a lot of products – who would seem to have the least need for more – are the ones most aggressively targeted to drive additional revenue.

One common tactic employed by Microsoft sales teams is pushing new online services that customers either don’t need, aren’t ready for or already have from other providers.

Another ploy is to use a dizzying mix of licensing metrics, shifting pricing models and executive relationships to fragment and confuse the buyer and convince them they’re getting a great value-proposition – but only if they Act Now.

Customers who push back can expect to be played the compliance card and threatened with software audits or with significant price increases.

In addition to finding themselves under constant siege, many customers ultimately come to realize that they don’t have the time, resources or know-how to leverage any of what was sold to them as a great value proposition.

Bottom line: If you’re a large Microsoft customer, be aware that your wallet is at risk.

I’ll be hosting a webinar on Thursday, April 30th at 11 a.m. to discuss how customers can effectively respond to Microsoft compliance audits and sales strategies, specifically focusing on volume licensing agreements.

What Makes Healthcare Different? (Part Two of Two)

Bill Huber Blog

Bill Huber, Managing Director – 

What Makes Healthcare Different? (Part Two of Two)

The dramatic changes transforming the Healthcare industry are having a dramatic impact on outsourcing service providers, as payers and providers increasingly focus on new delivery models and the integration of disruptive technologies. I recently spoke with HCL’s Healthcare head, Gurmeet Chahal on the concept of “Patient Centricity” in today’s environment.  Our conversation continues below, as Gurmeet discusses what makes Healthcare different.

BH For you as a service provider, what is different about healthcare from other areas?

GC: We have a very strong domain-led technology which is consistent across all of our verticals. In healthcare, we believe that we are unique in the degree to which we work across the entire healthcare ecosystem. This gives us the capability to be front and center. An example is how we are leveraging our strong medical device expertise to create next generation solutions that benefit patient, payer, provider & the device manufacturer.

BH: How are regulatory changes driving increased use of service providers?

GC: The Healthcare industry is among the most regulated. New regulations do have impact on IT services consumption. As an example ICD10 had driven growth in IT services, and is expected to have an ongoing impact in areas like RCM going forward based on the complexity of codes. All of the quality, compliance and regulatory mandates require payers/providers to upgrade their existing IT infrastructure and in some cases to build entirely new capabilities.

BH: As applicable to your services, what are common priorities for both payers and providers?

GC: We believe that new business models are emerging that encourage the payers and providers to improve collaboration. The first is based on the need to drive distinctive customer experience management. This is what will differentiate both in the long run and drive patient retention levels
Secondly, to run effective care management, claims information is insufficient. The payers need to integrate clinical data, lab data, etc. This means that they need a flexible, agile and external focused operating model.
Lastly, both payers and providers have a string need to reduce cost while improving care quality, and to accomplish this while investing in new capabilities such as analytics, social, mobility and so on.

BH: What are the things that HCL is doing to address these priorities?

GC: HCL’s approach is twofold. First, we leverage our strong technology and process capabilities, and secondly, we are investing in frameworks and accelerators where we are leveraging domain experts. For example, we have come up with a solution that we call Member Experience Management. This allows our customers to build a multichannel engagement and communication strategy. It provides a framework the gives a single view of the customer and drives the customer experience. It includes a view of workflow, CRM, infrastructure, next generation CTI Similarly, we have a solution called population care management, which allows providers to engage and drive the medical protocols that they have designed for a population pool

BH: You offer services across infrastructure, applications and business services. Is there a natural evolution among these services when you are engaged with a healthcare client?

GC: It’s very rare that we see a customer take a big bang approach of bundling the whole thing. A lot of times, we get engaged in a business solution kind of discussion. For example, in a successful population health management program, you will need a specialized application, underlying infrastructure and analytical and business services. In these cases, it’s an integrated solution with all three layers. If you look at the conventional towers of ITO. There was a lot of application development work that was happening given the exchange readiness rush. Currently there is a surge in developing front end transformation and analytics capabilities. There is a recognition that a lot of cost can be saved by outsourcing basic infrastructure and in back office functions like claims processing. While there is need and desire to move on all tracks, depending on customers’ readiness there may be a phased approach.

BH: What are unique service levels for HCl associated with healthcare? Are any of these outcome-based? 

GC: We have a number of outcome-based examples. One of the solutions that we have is a combination of applications and BPO in fraud, waste and abuse. The contract is linked to recovery through the process. Another example is revenue cycle management where a focusing on improving customer satisfaction year over year.

BH: Final thoughts?

GC: There is so much change happening in health care, but I believe that this is a great opportunity for healthcare to transform itself. There is a lot of change, but this is the opportunity to gain from this change. It is very rare to see any industry witnessing so much change at one time. On a recent airplane ride, I sat next to a retired IT executive. When I explained what I was working on, he said, “I’m really jealous. Your industry is going through so much. Through technology, you can make such an impact on the lives of humans. I wish that I had that opportunity.” That has stuck with me. We should be grateful for this opportunity, and it’s time to make that impact and gain from this change.

Patient Centricity in Healthcare Outsourcing (Part One of Two)

Bill Huber Blog

Bill Huber, Managing Director – 

It’s no secret that the Healthcare industry is undergoing massive changes, and that these include the solutions that outsourcing service providers are bringing to the market.  Last week I caught up with HCL’s Healthcare head, Gurmeet Chahal to discuss these trends and current areas of focus for HCL.

Bill Huber: HCL has referred to something called “Patient Centricity” in describing its services approach in healthcare. Can you describe what that means in practical terms?

Gurmeet Chalal: As you know, right now, the healthcare industry is undergoing what are perhaps the most dramatic changes of any major sector. HCL looks at healthcare in light of this transformation and sees enormous potential for innovation, with a focal point for that innovation around the patient. We are achieving results by converting technology platforms, capturing and organizing data and providing services that are focused on transforming the insights from the data to outcomes for the patient with the goal of improving the patient’s experience. We believe that this ultimately needs to be done over the lifetime of care for the patient.

Our approach is based on connecting the insights obtained through HCL’s rich experience of working with both payers and providers, along with a heritage of working with the medical device industry, and of course, pharma. Utilizing technology, analytics and services, and leveraging our global scale and partner relationships, we are able to bring clinical insights together. At HCL, our culture is focused on “ideapreneurship”, involving individuals who take accountability on behalf of our customers. Part of this is how we use cross functional teams and have built the “4I” framework which enables us to stitch data into a unified fabric and build an intelligence layer on top through our understanding of business data and analytics. For example, think of a medication adherence strategy. If the patient is adhering to a prescribed medication regime, presumably the patient will benefit through improved health, the payer will benefit through reduced cost of care, the provider will benefit through improved patient outcomes and lower readmissions, and the pharma will benefit through improved market share. The combination of technology, analytics and services makes this possible through enablement of better monitoring, tracking and follow-up with patients and caregivers to improve regime adherence.
In addition to our aforementioned relationships, HCL has its own provider business in India. It comprises the country’s first nationwide networked multi-specialty clinics in affiliation with Johns Hopkins Medicine International. This provides us with our own unique insights that will fuel research that will become increasingly important for providers in the US as the Asian population increases here.

BH: You mentioned your “4I” framework. What is that?

GC: It’s about how you obtain and what you do with the right Information. The four “I”s refer to Intelligence, Interaction, Integration and Insight. So, we have a strong Intelligence layer, comprising patient segmentation, benchmarking, analysis and simulation and the like. Then we have an Interaction layer, which is multi-channel and includes social media, mobile, in person and web. Third, there is an Integration layer which collects and organizes information from multiple sources, including from Pharma, from labs, from providers and so on. For example, through a partner, we have built a platform that enables integration of data from over 160 medical devices in real time. Lastly, there is the Insight layer, which provides actionable care and business recommendations.

Oracle’s New Sales Strategy: Battleship in a Bathtub?

Battleship in a Bathtub

Jeff Seabloom, Managing Director –

Is Oracle serious about changing its sales culture to a more customer-focused approach? One that helps customers leverage the full suite of Oracle solutions? More specifically, will the software giant abandon what one customer recently described as a strategy of “constant attack” from multiple sales people pitching multiple products?

It’s a tall order. Commission-based revenue chasing is a longstanding problem for Oracle, one that has only gotten worse as the product portfolio has expanded. By its own admission, Oracle has on a regular basis shifted, changed, reorganized and retooled its sales strategy, teams and methods – to the point that the process has become something of an annual rite of spring.

Will things be different this time? Incentives based on a regional and vertical focus can go a long way toward improving the reward structure and reversing the practice of throwing lots of stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks. The Key Accounts Program can also help, but should become a catalyst for the norm, rather than special treatment proffered on a handful of strategic accounts.

On the other hand, the current executive structure and supporting organizations are non-traditional Oracle, and many top sales executives have a background in hardware and, arguably, commodity sales. In the scramble for revenue during the past few years, Oracle has lost many talented professionals who were experts at complex solution-oriented sales and who were true advocates for the company and its vision. The gap left by their departure remains difficult to fill, especially when a culture of commission chasing continues to prevail in many quarters.

Ultimately, while Oracle’s leadership may be well intentioned and committed to driving a more customer-oriented sales strategy, the reality is that this is a very large company with a deeply entrenched culture. Think battleship in a bathtub.

Will RPA Swing the Innovation Pendulum Back to Providers?

Perpetual Motion

Jeff Augustin, Managing Director –

My colleague Mike Slavin recently made some provocative statements to CIO magazine, saying, in effect, that outsourcers were, for a number of reasons, doing a poor job at delivering innovation to clients. Further, Mike opined that many client organizations are reacting to their disillusion by seizing the reins and taking functions related to innovation back in-house.

Pretty harsh words – but the fact is I agree that Mike’s comments accurately reflect today’s reality. That said, I believe a longer-term perspective puts things in a different light. While insourcing may indeed be a viable innovation strategy today, in my opinion that will change, and in the relatively near future. And the main driver for that change will be autonomics and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

Specifically, every transaction engagement I’m involved in today has an element of RPA, cognitive computing or autonomics. I’m also seeing all the major providers developing impressive – and certainly innovative – proprietary RPA solutions to compete with off-the-shelf offerings from Arago, BluePrism and IPsoft. As RPA continues to gain traction and as these solutions are implemented, disruption of existing service delivery models will intensify, as processes are decomposed and reconstructed to incorporate new digital capabilities, as well as new roles and skill-sets for human workers. Putting that puzzle together is going to require innovation that few enterprises are going to have in-house.

Consider too the business plans of many of the providers, which call for significant sustained growth, but supported by very limited growth in staffing. Clearly RPA has to drive that model, and clearly the commitment to invest and build the knowledge is there.

In this context, while we may be seeing a pause in innovative energy from the service provider community, I suspect it’s the pause that happens before a pendulum swings back full-speed the other way.

For more information on this and related topics, you can download a recording of last week’s “Sourcing Savants” webinar. Sponsored by Horses for Sources and moderated by CEO Phil Fersht, the panel discussion included experts from leading advisory firms who discussed a wide range of issues facing the industry.

What Keeps an Analytics Expert Up at Night (Part II of II)

Analytics2

In part one of this discussion, Alsbridge Managing Director Bill Huber spoke with Paul Burton, Senior VP and Head of Analytics and Research at Genpact, about how the growing use of analytics is redefining Business Process Management. Here’s a continuation of their conversation.

BH: What are examples of how analytics is changing BPM?

PB: BPO is outsourcing which grew up 15-20 years ago for arbitrage reasons.  The emphasis is shifting to process as a service, which has nothing to do with captives or rebadging.  It is more of a technology and analytics focus, to make it smarter to deliver the same service with less, but having the same group of people.  Customers are coming to ask for capabilities.  The cultural issue is that clients still expect to save money, even if the provider is delivering new capabilities.   In customers’ minds, taking people out of the process should mean freeing up resources to allow for the addition of capabilities.  They expect more for less, and not more for more.

The biggest thing is data. Clients have disparate data systems, CRM, back office banking, GL, finance, and sales.  None of them are ever fully integrated.  The notion of the 90s was building an enterprise data warehouse, but they never really worked.  The reason was that nothing was ever static, and changes to the system were difficult to implement.  The idea now is to leave the source systems alone, as they are what they are.  The new thing which is important is to simply virtualize the data from multiple systems and look at it in a single view, which enables the analyst to query the data for whatever purpose needed to run a report or produce a visualization.  The analyst will pull the query as often as needed.  These days, compute power is cheap, and network is cheap.  Data virtualization technologies are allowing you to pull together the data which used to be hard wired into the data warehouse.  Now analytics can be done near real time.

BH: Can you speak to specific impacts of analytics in vertical processes?

PB: In banking, risk is the big issue, with the need for stress testing, and so forth to satisfy the regulators.  Doing the model isn’t good enough.  Banks need to produce the model and let a third party look at it and then refine the model.  In low margin businesses such as CPG and retail, customer centricity is king.  Margins are low, so analytics enables you to build scale.  In businesses such as high tech and manufacturing, asset optimization is critical.  Analytical insights help to predict, mitigate and optimize repair and warranty costs.  For technology companies, manufacturers, airlines, and oil fields, asset optimization is huge.  It enables these companies to reduces reserves for product liability issues and frees up cash reserves from balance sheets.

BH: How should clients think about the business case for analytics?

PB: Clients need to focus on how analytics will enable a culture change. It’s not sufficient to do some neat math tricks, and it can’t be based on a one-time result. Analytics need to be embedded into business process so results are continuous.  This kind of culture change requires top down support, with C-level executives driving the use of analytics.  The evidence is out there to support the importance of analytics.  The problem is that companies have been spending money and not seeing the expected returns. The only way to spend money smartly is to change the culture so that you are realizing the benefits that you are investing in.

There are some similarities to when companies implemented ERPs.  When companies simply automated ineffective processes, they spent a lot of money with limited rewards. Once they began changing the process, the software became easier to implement and companies started getting returns.  The same thing applies to analytics.

BH: How can advisors such as Alsbridge help to enable more value to buyers of analytics?

PB: Advisors need to develop a view of the world that emphasizes the criticality of culture change. When that is integrated into the advisory services, advisors can play a huge role.

BH: What keeps you up at night?

PB: Not having the right skills early on.  The math and analytics are easy.  It’s the domain skills and business savvy to understand the industry and define the problems that are critical. The other thing that keeps me up is missing a big shift in the industry. Change is constant, and you need to always be aware of new innovations occurring.

BH: Thank you very much!

Three Perspectives on Analytics and BPM (Part I of II)

Analytics1

The increasing use of analytics is redefining Business Process Management. Alsbridge Managing Director Bill Huber recently interviewed Paul Burton, Senior VP and Head of Analytics and Research at Genpact. Here’s a transcript of their conversation.

BH: Tell me about your background and current role at Genpact.

PB: I’ve now been with Genpact for seven months and am responsible for the analytics business worldwide. We have a global footprint with the majority of our customers located in Western Europe and the US. Our delivery capabilities are also global, with the largest population in India. It’s important to understand that the analytics business is not a traditional BPO business, and has more of the flavor of a consultancy with an industrialization/execution capability. A big part of our delivery is the onshore/on premise team, and we continue to invest in our onshore capabilities to drive analytical skills into the market. We currently have about 6,000 resources in our analytics business.

We have seen three primary views of the world in the analytics business, which shape the strategies that companies take to the market. The first is the pure technology view, taken by large legacy companies in the technology space. Their premise is that analytics is largely driven by better hardware and software. The problem with this view is that the track record of return on investment in terms of the business value of the analytics has been less than what C-level executives had expected. Looking across the market, we are seeing a lot of disappointment with this approach.

The second approach is one taken by pure analytics firms. For them, it’s all about putting more and brighter people in front of the customers, and solving math problems to deliver business insights. The challenge here is that the insights rarely become industrialized and part of the future state business processes utilized by the clients

The third view is where Genpact is. Technology is just an enabler. Clients don’t have math problems, they have business problems. The process component is critical.  Clients want to take insights and industrialize them, to make them repeatable at scale, so that the processes used to run the company become analytical processes. In this approach, self-learning and redesigned and reimagined processes provide a big bump in value realization

Genpact leads with process experts who focus the client on what they are trying to accomplish and how that delivers benefit to the company.  It’s about using the right lens and the right definition, which leads to specific solutions containing applied analytics and technology which are then embedded in business processes. These analytics enriched processes are not static, but rather are “self-aware”; learning evolving, growing, and never the same.

BH: How important is “analytics” to the future of BPM?

PB: Most clients are overtaxed and want a quick solution to whatever problem they are facing.  The perception of a quick fix seems satisfying, but does not yield long term results.  It’s critical to focus on cultural change to embed analytics into core processes that clients use to run the company.

Our objective is to start with domain and process and reimagine them to take a discontinuous jump forward.  The context is that 1) there will continue to be pressure in back office because cost cutting is not going away, 2) there is an increasing need for customer centricity – knowing your customer and market better and in real time.  The business objective through analytics is having a one-to-one relationship with each client even if you have thousands of clients.

In part two of this discussion Paul Burton will discuss what keeps him up at night.

Translating Policies into Processes – the Compliance Challenge

David England Blog

David England, Director –

Complying with OCC regulations on third-party oversight clearly represents a clear and pressing priority for banks and financial services firms. So how are they doing?

The good news is that vendor management and sourcing organizations have made significant progress in navigating the tortuous regulatory maze and developing internal policies that align with regulatory guidelines and requirements.

The real challenge, however, is to convert those policies into rigorous and sustainable processes that operate seamlessly and consistently across a number of business units. Specifically, the compliance oversight of any given third party provider must involve sourcing, procurement, legal, finance, contracting, IT, vendor and risk management and often multiple business units – groups that don’t necessarily make a habit of playing nicely together. The gray areas that mark the boundaries between these different units only complicate matters. How, for example, do you determine where sourcing’s responsibility ends and vendor management’s begins? Or, what does corporate vendor management own, compared to what IT or a business unit’s vendor management own? These specific questions only underscores the scope of the broader goal – which is to define all the activities that need to get done, get the right people in place within each department and business unit and then establish and maintain the necessary flows between those disparate organizations.

Achieving that broader goal of alignment, communication and process discipline requires a reconsideration of the traditional role of vendor management. Typically, the vendor management function enters the sourcing lifecycle post-contract, which means that the function most directly involved with ensuring oversight and compliance has had no involvement in determining or understanding what is to be overseen, or in creating a contractual construct to support vendor management oversight and compliance. Put differently, vendor management is playing catch up before the game even starts – and in today’ regulatory climate, that game is becoming increasingly tough with increasingly high stakes.

The solution, of course, is to involve vendor management earlier in the sourcing lifecycle so that the frameworks and communication guidelines essential to effective third-party oversight can be clearly defined and baked into the relationship, rather than tacked on as an afterthought.

For more on Alsbridge’s perspective on third-party governance, download this white paper.

Profiting from Wellness – Pharma Focuses on Channel Strategies and Quantifying Outcomes

pills lying next to a piggy bank. symbolic photo for costs in me

Jennifer Stein, Managing Director –

As healthcare reform increasingly ties financial incentives to health outcomes, pharmaceutical firms face the daunting challenge of developing new channel strategies that address the imperatives of the Affordable Care Act.

For example, which constituent will take the lead to design and deliver programs to ensure patients take their cholesterol medication as directed, and encourage them to follow dietary guidelines to achieve optimal results? This leads to additional questions such as: Which programs are most effective? What’s the positive impact and how does in translate into revenue/savings? Who should administer these programs? The provider? The payer? The pharma company?

Today, all parties are turning to big data and analytics to crack the code of these complex questions, and are scrambling to adapt to the evolving healthcare delivery model.

For pharma executives designing a channel strategy, the question now becomes: how do I find the right mix of service providers that can offer insight into the changing marketplace as well as the relevant big data expertise?

From Alsbridge’s perspective, whatever the market sector, finding service providers with industry-specific expertise and proven capabilities is imperative.   In pharma, and in the case of measuring outcomes, enterprises require service providers who understand metrics and can provide insight into cause/effect correlations.

While looking to transform their channel strategies to adapt to new conditions, the reality is that pharma firms must find ways to service the old model as they create a platform for the new healthcare system.  Today, pharma companies are seeking to partner with Pharmaceutical Benefit Managers (PBMs) to drive the agenda toward patient outcomes. PBMs, meanwhile, want to drive prescription volume and compliance by offering basic training on the proper use of medications.  Strengthening and optimizing these and other partnerships is the next step.

Making the right service provider and channel strategy investments will be one of many deciding factors that make or break pharma companies.  With adherence and outcomes now increasingly entering the economic picture, pharmas have to ask which channel approach produces a better health result – because the answer has a direct impact on the bottom line.