Outsource Magazine Issue 25 - (Page 106)

This issue: Business PlaTforms Business PlaTforms As the cloud model evolves, how businesses use cloud technologies, and what offerings are developed by service providers desperate to stay in the game, become increasingly prominent questions. In the latest piece from our research partners, HfS Research VP Robert McNeill investigates the emergence of Business Platforms – and looks at how their adoption will have a dramatic impact on both sides of the buyer-vendor divide… C loud computing is refashioning the cost, quality, speed and flexibility by which businesses can access – and suppliers can deliver – services to support business needs. As cloud-based services mature, many business functions can reduce their reliance on on-premises software, hardware and internal administration to access cloud-based business services. “Business Platforms” enabled by cloud computing, SaaS and BPO innovations are emerging as the latest service delivery engine for providers and a new source of value for customers. This article focuses on explaining what Business Platforms are, why providers will be making big bets in this space, and provides recommendations for organisations on how to assess Business Platform opportunities. What are “Business Platforms”? Business Platforms comprise the evolution of packaged and configurable service offerings that address specific functional needs. The industry has struggled to coin a term for this new generation of offerings, with confusing descriptions such as Cloud BPO, BPaaS, and Business Process Utilities being frequently used. HfS believes Business Platforms better describes what the services providers are offering. Business Platforms enable customers to consume business services through subscription-oriented, consumption-based methods via enabling cloud computing technologies, SaaS and Business Process Outsourcing services. Well-executed Business Platforms can make sense for many organisations, because they are flexible and scalable in the face of demand fluctuations, provide high-quality process workflows and can provide rapid productivity improvements for clients. HfS believes that the industry must look at the convergence of BPO, SaaS and Cloud in a broader outsourcing context to start to visualise how the three pillars of business delivery can – and are – coming together in a blended outsourcing model. BPO provides labour arbitrage and the ability to personalise “standardised” solutions. SaaS provides the one-to-many process templates that underpin the business process and outsourcing relationship, and Cloud provides the infrastructure delivery engine. Moreover, the virtualisation that cloud provides adds a whole new layer of cost-arbitrage for clients – the arbitrage of unwanted, inefficient hardware. From our ongoing work with outsourcing buyers and providers, a number of Business Platform characteristics have emerged: Business Platforms focus on the provision of enterprise business services offerings, which cater for the entire business process or discrete slithers of business process through a subscription model; Business Platforms are underpinned by SaaS-based applications delivered over the internet via either public or private Cloud Computing architectures; Business Platform owners (services providers) manage the underlying software, platform or infrastructure including networking, operating systems, database management systems, storage, processing, networking and security; Business Platform customers typically pay for the service via measureable business outputs. Typical Business Platform candidates include traditional horizontal functions such as payroll, order-to-cash, procureto-pay, and hire-to-retire. Vertical specific processes include industryspecific functions such as insurance claims processing, trade settlements transmissions, airline passenger reservations, and clininal data management. In addition, compliancebased functions, such as carbonmanagement and environmental health and safety, are being developed by some providers as Business Platform offerings. For more information on HfS Research visit http://hfsresearch.com 106 www.outsourcemagazine.co.uk ●● ● ● http://www.hfsresearch.com http://www.hfsresearch.com http://www.outsourcemagazine.co.uk

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outsource Magazine Issue 25

News & Commentary
Making Contact
Taking the Chair
Clinical Outsourcing Strategies
New Worlds
To Share Or Not To Share?
Trends in Outsourcing Governance
The Next Big Idea
Smart Intelligence
Taking the ChairCracking the Wip
NOA Round-Up
Predicting Success
It’s Not The Contract.
Get Productive
Rigorously Agile
Good Relations
Knowledge Sustainability
Racking Up The Wins
Trust Me... I’m an Outsourcer
Top Ten
The Legal view
HfS Round-Up
Online Round-Up
Inside Source
The Last Word

Outsource Magazine Issue 25