Outsource Magazine Issue 33 - (Page 40)

INTERVIEW RICK SIMMONDS INTERVIEW RICK’S PROGRESS As Managing Partner and Head of Financial Services for Alsbridge, Rick Simmonds has an outstanding view across the breadth of the outsourcing space – and of the advisory sector, which is undergoing particularly rapid evolution right now. We caught up with Rick to find out about some of the changes in the landscape – and in his own organisation – in recent years… outsource: Rick, how has the work Alsbridge has been doing changed over the past year to 18 months in terms of what clients are asking you to do? Rick Simmonds: There are two big ways I think. One is that now most of our work is around second-generation deals: renewal, renegotiation, new deals, reshaping – all that kind of thing. Less of it’s about a first-generation sourcing strategy and then stepping through a structured procurement – which used to be the bulk of the work. I think that’s just a sign of the maturity of the industry. There are more organisations around that have already gone through this process – so that’s the number one thing. The second thing is that outsourcing advice is being bought in a much more piecemeal way than it used to be – I think that's something to do with maturity; and something to do with the economic situation in that customers are only buying things that are really valuable and that they can't easily get internally. I think there are a lot of challenges internally around “why are you spending money on consultancy?” Particularly organisations like banks have often got excellent internal sourcing teams, so we're having to justify the work we do in terms of what really adds value internally – and that comes from the benchmark data and the market data that they can’t possibly have themselves, and then of course our wider market experience. o: Perhaps with first-generation market there was more of an “out-the-box” solution structure you could offer; has the more consultative type of work you’re now carrying out led to a change in the kind of people you’re hiring? IT’S NOT ENOUGH ANYMORE TO KNOW HOW TO GO THROUGH A DEAL PROCESS; IT’S GOT TO BE HOW TO ADD VALUE TO A DEAL PROCESS, AND APPLY IT TO SOMETHING THAT HASN’T REALLY BEEN THOUGHT OF BEFORE, OR HASN’T BEEN DONE VERY WELL BEFORE ❛ ❜ RS: Well we’ve shifted to a completely experience- and expertise-based model. We used to have a little bit more of a pyramid structure; there was more stuff just to chunk out in the process and we could turn the handle on the deal process quite well. I think what we found is that most clients don’t need that now, they feel they can turn the handle themselves; what they want is added value and insight that moves them forward – and that we get because we see a lot of different deals from a lot of different clients, and we can accumulate all that. Therefore we’ve changed the profile of our consultants. They’re a more senior, experienced person now and our teams actually tend to be a lot smaller: much more focussed, providing real advice – so we think we’re less and less competing against the Big Four who are providing more implementation than advice. But you know the difference is we’re providing expert-led advice now as opposed to handle-turning, crank-a-deal-through implementation advice and support. That’s the difference. So that’s been a big change. I’m not sure if that’s a change in the market or just us. But it’s so hard now to get clients to think, to take, to spend money externally in this environment. They’ve got to buy that they're getting value they couldn’t get internally, and we can’t demonstrate that by saying that we’ll get in a cost analyst or a process analyst – if they haven’t got that themselves they can get that from the contract market, at a reasonable price, and there’s no better value there. So that’s been a big change I think. “The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading.” – David Bailey 40 ● ● www.outsourcemagazine.co.uk http://www.outsourcemagazine.co.uk

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outsource Magazine Issue 33

Keeping in Touch
Shaji Farooq
Manoeuvre the Maze of Cloud Confusion
E-Invoicing: Where Now and Where Next?
Rick Simmonds
Only Strong Leadership and Governance Can Deliver High Performance
A Healthy Development
Getting to We: Time for a New Negotiating Paradigm
NOA Round-Up
To Outsource or Not to Outsource
Big Data Hits HR
John Willmott
Show Us The Money!
GBS: a Game-Changer for Finance
Neil Pratley
Go East
The Talent Challenge
Top Ten
NelsonHall Round-Up
Online Round-Up
The Deal Doctor
Inside Source
The Last Word

Outsource Magazine Issue 33