This is 2.0 – Views from IAOP Leadership Hall of Fame Inductees
IAOP Leadership Hall of Fame inductees Peter Bendor-Samuel of Everest Group and Suzanne Leopoldi-Nichols of UPS have witnessed plenty of change in outsourcing over their respective careers that span over three decades.
For their many contributions to both the practice of outsourcing and society at large, they will be the latest C-level executives to join the prestigious honorary body at OWS2.0.
Entrepreneur Through Change
Bendor-Samuel has seen the global services industry morph from one based on IT operational excellence starting in the early 1980s and accelerating into the 1990s to the era dominated by labor arbitrage and low-cost offshore locations that continued into the 2000s.
During that time when outsourcing was still at its early stages, Bendor-Samuel founded Everest Group in 1991 to help the young industry create and capture value using more powerful and effective mechanisms. His firm was one of the first to create the service agreement structure and apply it to billion-plus dollar deals.
Driven by digital transformation, the industry is now pivoting out of labor arbitrage and entering a new platform-based model, he says.
Founder and CEO, Everest Group
President, Global Business Services, UPS
“We are now at the inflection of a new model driven by digital transformation based on platforms such as cloud, AWS (Amazon Web Services) and Microsoft Azure that are hyper-automated and self-served that create a different type of value,” Bendor-Samuel says.
While labor arbitrage and building offshore centers can typically reduce costs 25 percent over doing the work in the U.S., a fully mature platform model based on cloud can deliver 60-80 percent savings in addition to the labor benefits and an improved customer experience, he says.
Beyond that, a hyper-productivity model that is deploying agile teams can result in productivity gains of 300 to 500 percent, according to Bendor-Samuel.
“These shifts that we are working through are very deep and powerful and they are transforming the industry,” he says.
An entrepreneur who is passionate about his life’s work, his firm’s focus has changed along with the evolution in the industry. After previously starting E&Y’s outsourcing advisory practice, Bendor-Samuel first founded a software company to provide tools to help customers manage their outsourcing service providers.
The market, he says, wasn’t mature enough at the time for the service and he moved into the consulting space with Everest Group to help the industry understand how to define, measure and price services.
His company pivoted once again in 2003 to launch itself as a research firm, seeing that customers needed insights and tools to purchase and manage service relationships on their own. “The underlying theme is helping the industry understand how to deliver, purchase or consume services,” he says.
Over nearly 30 years, Bendor-Samuel has led Everest Group to be constantly at the forefront of the sourcing and services industry, ensuring that the firm is constantly at the intersection of how leading firms take advantage of disruptive technologies, innovative service vehicles, and game-changing talent models.
Being recognized in this way means a lot to Bendor-Samuel. “I have a great deal of respect for the leadership of IAOP and its vision and the people in it,” he says. “It’s very humbling and gratifying that the people who really are the backbone of the industry would recognize me and our firm.”
Leopoldi-Nichols entered the field in the early 1990s working for a payroll benefits and compensation company giving her a unique perspective on understanding the inner workings of an outsourcing provider before moving to the buy-side.
During her career, Leopoldi-Nichols has worked with companies that have used outsourcing providers for their forward and future visions of processes and have looked to them for innovation and excellence in transactions. She’s awarded tens of millions of dollars of contracts to providers that have returned significant savings, improving metrics, that, in some cases, would never have been able to be accomplished internally.
“Over the past 20-plus years, I’ve seen shared services and Global Business Services (GBS) organizations go from being viewed as an organization which churns out transactional processes to much more of a business solutions organization,” says Leopoldi-Nichols, who has been President of Global Business Services at UPS for about two years.
The UPS GBS organization helps support Finance, HR, IT, Sales and Marketing in the back, middle and front office through a network of 17,000 FTEs, half of which are outsourced in 80 global locations.
Leopoldi-Nichols views the company’s services providers as strategic partners. “They are forward-thinkers in the space and help us provide best-in-class services in their respective areas,” she says. “They don’t just process transactions but consult with our teams on the best opportunities, locations and solutions to deliver excellence. They continuously improve the processes they deliver which ultimately helps our end customers.”
Looking ahead, Leopoldi-Nichols sees more cohesion in GBS between artificial intelligence, machine learning and people. Continuous improvement and predictive modeling will be at the forefront of what GBS does. She sees her team at UPS using automation for basic transactions so they can focus on solving far bigger issues with help from new technologies like quantum computing.
Leopoldi-Nichols says she is excited to see more women leaders in roles like her own over the years but companies need to continue to enable women to advance as far as their desires and abilities will take them.
“It’s about finding a balance in equality and embracing differences,” she says. “The more diverse teams you can build, and the more inclusive your organization is of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints, the more success your organization can realize.” (For more, see our story on Women Empowerment, Leadership & Diversity (WELD) Chapter.)
Receiving this honor left Leopoldi-Nichols at a loss for words.
“To be the first woman GBS leader to receive this award is the greatest honor of my professional life,” she says. “To be listed alongside so many brilliant and gifted leaders, I’m filled with gratitude and excitement. But I wouldn’t be here without all of the people who helped me throughout my career, including my own teams over the years. This honor really goes out to all of them.”
HALL OF FAME LEADERS AT OWS2.0
- Fireside Chat: The Future of GBS, panelist Suzanne Leopoldi-Nichols, President of GBS, UPS, Feb. 17, 1:30 -2 PM
- Leadership Hall of Fame induction, gala awards luncheon, Feb. 18, 12:45 -2 PM
At a Glance: Peter Bendor-Samuel
Founder and CEO of Everest Group
Notables: Founded Everest Group in 1991 and prior to that started E&Y’s outsourcing advisory practice; authored, Turning Lead Into Gold: the Demystification of Outsourcing
Awards: E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Outsourcing Leadership, honorary advisor to the outsourcing council of Japan
Role models: Peter Altabef, CEO of Unisys, Rishad Premji of Wipro, Steve Jobs
Best advice: “Hire people who are smarter and better than you.”
Close to the Heart: Created a feeding program for children with extraordinary needs in Kenya to provide health equal to community standards and a primary school education. Provided the firm leadership that supported work with The Rockefeller Foundation focused on impact sourcing and contributions to Liberty Source PC, the first U.S. onshore business process services company that combines automation and the talents of military spouses to compete with offshore business process delivery.
At a Glance: Suzanne Leopoldi-Nichols
President, Global Business Services at UPS
Notables: Prior Global Head of Shared Services at Archer Daniels Midland Company and Shared Services Director at American Greetings
Role models: Cheryl Sandburg, Michelle Obama, Nelson Mandela, Bill Gates and Indra Nooyi
Best advice: “Do what you love, everything else will follow.”
Close to the Heart: Supports the Boys and Girls Club, GoodWill, Habitat for Humanity and the American Red Cross. Leads UPS employee volunteer efforts through the Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) program.