Shirley is a Vice President on the Business Process Services team with Everest Group. In this role, she advises senior stakeholders of global services including enterprises, service providers and investors in their strategic mandates and initiatives. She shares her take on the digital transformation – what companies need to do to stay relevant and the trends she’s seeing in the market and the industry. Shirley will share her expertise on this topic at the Midwestern Regional SIGnature Event in March and the Eastern Regional SIGnature Event in September.
Your presentation at the Midwestern Regional SIGnature Event is about buying digital services for your enterprise--why is this such an important topic?
Digital transformation is impacting entire business value chains. Companies that do not have a plan to migrate from traditional models to focus on digitally led solutions will become irrelevant and obsolete. How organizations approach the building of their digital capabilities can result in real market differentiation, and a large part of that strategy depends on how they partner with global service providers and vendors.
The swift evolution of the digital landscape means procurement and sourcing teams must understand the implications of buying digital services so they can support their business and functional customers in obtaining the best outcomes from their digital strategies.
Can you share a little more about your day-to-day role and responsibilities, particularly how you advise senior stakeholders?
I wear several hats within Everest Group’s research team. From a Business Process Services perspective, I lead dedicated teams of analysts who cover key market trends and developments in Customer Experience Management (CXM), Finance & Accounting Outsourcing (FAO), and Procurement and Supply Chain Management Outsourcing (PO and SCM). This work involves regular engagement with service providers, vendors, investors and enterprises across the globe. In addition, I work with procurement and sourcing professionals in large enterprises to provide research and information across Everest Group’s business process and IT services, market trends, locations and pricing expertise. Our clients leverage the depth of our research and insights through either subscription-based services or custom research projects to support senior stakeholders in executing their strategic mandates and initiatives.
What are some examples of how technology has changed or impacted the way you approach your job?
When I started my first job after graduating over 20 years ago, I remember how email was just then becoming common and people were still wary of new technologies such as ATMs. As a strategy consultant, I relied on the kinds of information and research that companies such as Everest Group produced and that usually came in print format and required quite of bit of lead time to obtain. Now, our clients can access reports electronically, in real-time, at the press of a button. Rather than needing to be constantly onsite, we can talk to clients and colleagues across the globe and hear and see them as clearly as if they were in the same room.
Technology advances have not only increased the pace of my work, but also the quality of that work. However, the downside of being able to easily tap into all that information is determining what is fake, what is real and what is truly value-adding. At Everest Group, we spend a lot of time filtering through that noise on behalf of our clients so that we can provide the deep analysis and insights for which we are proud to be known.
What is something that you wish more people understood about outsourcing?
When people talk about outsourcing, they often feel the need to apologize for being boring. However, I feel that outsourcing is truly dynamic and with the advent of digital, more people are realizing that outsourcing can not only be an operational lever but a strategic one as well. I am seeing service providers make large investments in new technologies and partnering with clients on pilots and projects that can significantly impact the top line as well as the bottom line. I am very excited to see how the global services industry responds to the digital revolution.
How did you get involved in this industry and how do you keep on top of current trends?
I got my bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from MIT and my master’s in Philosophy, Policy and Social Value from the London School of Economics. The consistent thread that connects my educational experiences to my professional ones is intellectual curiosity. I have always been fascinated by how things work and I am thrilled to have a hand in influencing things to work better through problem-solving and analysis.
Strong solutioning requires having solid information and data, which is what I valued from Everest Group as a client and even more so now as a team member since I can see how much rigor and brain power goes into our work. We keep on top of current trends through multiple sources, especially our continual and deep engagement with leading industry players, industry associations and academic institutions.
If you could talk to your “younger self,” what would you warn yourself about or tell yourself to do differently?
When I was younger, I had expectations that I should be finding the perfect career that required finding the perfect job and the perfect company that I can stay with forever. Obviously, I know now that is not realistic and, frankly, shouldn’t even be desirable. I would tell my younger self not to stress about finding perfect.
Instead, I think about my career as a collection of interesting and valuable experiences that promotes personal growth. Part of that is to be careful about making decisions that may limit future options, so if I don’t have a strong passion for a particular direction, I opt for the path that leads to the most open doors.
What advice do you have for professionals who are responsible for negotiating contracts to buy digital platforms?
The most successful sourcing professionals focus on helping their internal customers meet their strategic objectives. This holds true as well when negotiating for digital platforms. Understand the business need and partner with providers to deliver upon those needs. Oftentimes, procurement and sourcing professionals feel that the only tangible value they have to offer is in terms of price. However, as a customer of procurement in a large global company, I was often willing to give on price if I knew I could have better outcomes. I was often frustrated by our procurement and sourcing teams when they focused on following process at the expense of procurement cycle times. In the age of digital, everything is moving faster, and sourcing processes need to adapt accordingly.
At the Midwestern Regional SIGnature Event in March, Shirley will present on how to buy digital for your enterprise. Regional SIGnature Events are powerful one-day meetings in which buy-side practitioners benchmark with other organizations and network with colleagues facing similar issues. To learn more about attending and see who else is presenting, visit our website.
Stacy Mendoza is a Digital Marketing Specialist with Sourcing Industry Group (SIG). Stacy began her career in market research as an editor for Hart Research Associates in Washington, D.C. Since moving back to Florida in 2014, she has worked in marketing and public relations, specializing in content creation, media relations and crisis communications. Stacy is a passionate volunteer who donates her time to help nonprofits develop marketing strategies and awareness campaigns. Stacy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from The Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. Follow her on Twitter and tweet at @SIG_Stacy.