What Dictates Australia’s Sourcing Choices?

G6 Visionaries in Australia 2012

Voters Select Six Sell-Side Industry Leaders to Speak at the 2012 Event; Panel Moderated by Coretta Bessi from BlueScope Steel and Charles Gray from Macquerie Group

At the15th Annual Australasian Shared Services and Outsourcing conference (held 16 – 19th April, 2012 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Center) our Australian G6 took the stage to discuss the state of play of BPO in the Australasian region.

The panel, moderated by recognised shared services and outsourcing buy-side practitioners Coretta Bessi, BlueScope Steel and Charles Gray, Macquerie Group, featured the viewpoints of several of the industry’s top sell-side authorities in an amusing "game show" format not to be missed. Some real belly-laugh moments emerged, not to be missed, and they include a reference to Donal’s laundry being outsourced! But among the laughs, some read discussions emerged around quick wins, innovation, and the buy vs sell (captive vs outsource) model.

SSON’s Global Head of Events, Emma Beaumont comments "Most practitioner organisations are telling us 2012 is all about being reactive to today’s volatile market-place – which often means adapting to shorter forecasting cycles and delivering extraordinary insights that will increase shareholder value. Business transformation efforts need to stay in line with today’s unpredictable economic landscape, as it’s becoming harder and harder to calculate market activity from each quarter to the next, let alone YOY. What’s required from SSO strategies is a sharp focus on business outcomes and value-added activity to sustain competitive advantage and win new markets. The opportunity global business services plays on smarter data analytics, payback on large ERP, tighter working capital visibility and business continuity planning, continues to keep Shared Services and Outsourcing mechanisms right at the heart of the C-Suite agenda."


Donal Graham

Donal Graham, Partner, Deloitte

The sourcing market today has more momentum than it did 12 months ago, says Donal. But one of the barriers to change is still scale – apart from Australia’s innate conservatism. Shared services and sourcing is about productivity, talent retention, and innovation. Those are the areas we need to focus on. Looking at options beyond the current status quo will be important.

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Asheesh Mehra

Asheesh Mehra, Head of BPO – Asia Pacific, Japan and the Middle East

Australian organizations are traditionally conservative, but the blinders are now coming off, says Asheesh. The one clear objective is how to be best in class and save costs, and the question companies are asking themselves is: How to access global talent and how to get best-in-class technology to link with business processes. Asheesh has seen some fairly bold moves from Infosys’s client base, not just from the traditionally leading financial industry, but also from retail and mining industries.

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Steve Kranes

Steve Kranes, Partner – Consulting, PricewaterhouseCoopers

There is undeniable agreement on the sell-side that things are changing in the Australian marketplace – the question is: How. Historically, says Steve, Australia has been seen as an "onshore" opportunity. Now the "cost" concern is increasingly driving offshore thinking. Some organizations are also starting to set up own captives offshore – depending on scale.

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Arno Franz

Arno Franz, Partner and President – Asia Pacific, ISG

Voted into the Australian G6 panel of sell-side experts for the fourth time in a row, Arno concedes that the mindsets of captives is readjusting after the global financial crisis years, and is being challenged. Clients are increasingly looking for outsourced services – pursuing a strategy beyond "captive" to recover lost top line revenue growth.

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David Fincher

David Fincher, Partner – Finance & Performance Management, Ernst & Young

Until now, the Australian marketplace has displayed a lack of maturity in terms of how outsourcing can be leveraged – but it is now fast awakening to alternative sourcing options, says David. The more mature organizations are evaluating their operating models, thereby driving sourcing services. One of the problems is that Australian organizations have never had the scale required to take on outsourcing. But leaders are now starting to bundle services and capture scale, which makes them more attractive to outsourcers.

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Russell Ives

Russell Ives, Director – Growth Markets, Global Process Services, IBM Australia and New Zealand

Economic reality is biting and more of today’s conversations are around shared services and outsourcing, reports Russell. What’s needed is a proactive approach to address costs and productivity in anticipation of a growth stage 2-3 years down the track. Global expansion, especially regional growth in Asia, is driving much of the outsourcing discussion. Regional skills shortages also mean BPO can support HR acquisitions – which is a pressing point.

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