But when HfS Research rustled up its invited audience (impressively close to 500 people, at the height of the holiday season) for its 'Live and Unfiltered' web debate, what stood out was the consensus around the table on the emerging challenges.
The Buy Family execs - from Northern Trust, Kimberly Clark, Ascension Health and PNM Resources - pretty much lined up with the Sell Family execs - from Genpact, CSC, Accenture and Cognizant - to endorse highlights from the HfS joint study with the LSE:
Hybrid service delivery is the new normal: outsourcing and shared services are set to increasingly dominate global services delivery - across all industries and regions.
It's not just back-office transformation any more. Shared services and outsourcing initiatives are growing into the middle office, and even into front office support (eg here).
It's way beyond cost reduction, which is taken for granted. It's a search for innovation and nimbleness in service delivery, the kind of flexibility needed to thrive in volatile and hyper-competitive markets.
The emerging challenge: How do you manage this intelligently?
In a world of hybrid service delivery models, where so much is delivered through a tapestry of providers that is continually changing, how can buyers protect themselves and ensure compliance while at the same time driving innovation and continuous improvement?
It's way beyond contracts and SLAs in Word documents. It demands a governance framework that is way beyond Excel-over-email. It's why leaders are zeroing in on a new operating system for the enterprise, written in the universal language: end-to-end business process.
This new OS for business sits on what is emerging as essential new infrastructure - an enterprise process management platform, which:
integrates business process with real-time analytics, risks and controls, systems and documents
provides everyone - process owner, stakeholder or user, whether in business or IT - with a personalized perspective of the one process reality
provides collaborative features within a governance framework that fosters innovation and continuous improvement.
It's interesting how the ability to collaborate effectively - in conditions where change is at an ever increasing pace and frequently turbulent - is emerging as a core capability on both sides of the fence. It's the common challenge for both Families, Buy and Sell.
20 Jun 2011 Building A Robust Global Services Organization
19 May 2011 Service Integration and Process - In Six Minutes