Hat tip to Accenture for its article out yesterday – The Analytics Advantage. Perhaps I’m just out of the loop with the other folks, but Accenture does seem to have thought leadership in areas like this…

It makes a very compelling case for paradise: a productive, long-term partnership where the outsourcing service provider becomes a trusted business partner, the very best sort of management consultant – sharp, resourceful and one step ahead.

When it’s good, that kind of partnership can be very very good. But, as we all know, when it’s bad, it can be horrid.

Such relationships do exist, and actually benefit both parties [and good luck to Accenture for proposing more of it]. As the report points out, by being close and embedded, the outsourcer can take end-to-end perspectives that can deliver real value for the client:

” In a large, global organization, essential business processes such as finance and HR are increasingly complex. An outsourcing provider that is a part of such process execution is well placed to analyze the performance of a process end to end, discovering where inefficiencies and risks exist, then working to drive time and waste out of the process and standardize wherever possible.”

Sadly for Accenture, most organizations are committed to a more multisourced environment. They want to hedge their bets. They are wary of putting all their eggs in one outsourcing vendor’s basket.

I know I would say this, but it’s still true surely: what every organization needs – whatever its sourcing strategy and circumstances – is an enterprise platform that enables collaboration on process management and performance improvement.

And to be a fully equipped enterprise platform, it has to go beyond just analytics (the focus of this report) to incorporate:

Analytics – both real-time process performance KPIs to indicate what’s going well and what’s not, as well as design time analytics to support process re-engineering.

GRC – business controls and compliance.

Business and IT Perspectives – different but synchronized, and in one place.

Governance – a robust but easy to use framework; otherwise it’s not sustainable.

With a framework like this in place, an organization has security and flexibility. Whatever happens, it stays in control. It has visibility of its end-to-end processes, and a collaborative framework to enable continuous improvement. It can fall in love with a service provider and slowly yield to its tender embrace, or it can chop and change its service providers with the seasons. Or both if the service provider gets naughty.