Frank Casale invited me to co-moderate a workshop yesterday at his Outsourcing Institute NYC Roadshow on "Outsourcing's Bad Rap: Playing Politics." Throughout the day, although the outsourcing market has changed so much over the past ten years, I heard the recurring themes of trust, communications, and old-fashioned relationship management. Buyers and sellers all have their war stories.
The day was excellent. A comfortable and informative series of workshops and presentations. OI holds a series of these workshops. If you're interested in outsourcing, definitely worth attending.
So I went to my first outsourcing conference this week in New York after five years. If I hear one more reference to Mr. Friedman's book, I'm going to start to become disrespectful. Can we please move on to the next pop business fad? There was even an Indian offshore company raffling off the book as a giveaway at their exhibit table.
I have to admit the offshore phenomenon has thrown a wild curve into what used to be an apple pie, all-American business. When you got outsourced by EDS, CSC, or IBM, a Democrat might have lost their job to a Republican, but that was about the end of the political strife. It's a whole different ball game today. I'm exploring my conscience on this one. I haven't read Friedman's book, but I did break down and buy it this week. I hope I find some answers there; but my gut is telling me we're headed for a stormy season in rationalizing why this is a good development in our industry. Am I alone here? Am I missing the big picture?
I think I may be missing something because serendipitously, I sat at the conference (twice, in fact) next to this really well dressed, attractive guy. Now, please understand, really well dressed, attractive guys almost never go to outsourcing conferences (unless they work for a vendor like Oracle or IBM or something). The guy looked Ivy League or like he lived in Connecticut– you know the type. Glancing at his badge, I saw that he was from GAP (General Atlantic Partners), the venture capital firm. Of course, that made sense. When I saw him the second time, I had to ask him why he was at the conference. He told me he was there because one of his companies was presenting, Genpact. In fact, GAP has made investments in two large Indian offshore firms, the other being Patni. He told me he did work in Stamford and that he works with Jim Madden, who as you should remember, was CEO of Exult, another GAP company that was sold to Hewitt, which is a GAP company. Madden is now at GAP.
The bottom line is. I always take my clues from the smart money. If GAP is invested in India, then the offshore thing is not going away. I guess it's like I tell my 9-year old son when he doesn't like a particular outcome or development, "Deal." I feel like I'm reacting (albeit internally) the same way my 9-year old reacts.
You know, I live in Jersey, you'd think I'd be able to shake a story out of somebody… It's coming in dribs and drabs. I don't have anything totally confirmed yet, but I'm hearing the TPI/EquaTerra deal was undone over, what else? Finances.
So today is my birthday, and I'm out doing birthday fun things. I get a surprise call on my cell phone that the TPI-Equaterra (n'er to be Veritage) merger has been terminated today. I opted not to drop everything and scramble to make phone calls, but I did make a few. One source said it best, "Personalities clashing over every issue from future strategy to who drives the bus." Another source said it was valuation that was the final culprit.
I'll snoop around more on Monday. We'll try to do a follow up on the online version of GITS. I'll also print something more in-depth here.
The Veritage story is out. It went to the printer yesterday. You'll have to have a subscription to GITS if you want to read it.
I had a great chat yesterday with an old friend and source whom I suppose would like to remain anonymous. He suggested I elevate the discussion for this site to focus on what's truly innovative in the market, rather than covering the usual who's doing what in the market. It has some interesting possibilities.