It is about the right work in the right place people!

We occasionally harp on a borrowed phrase of “matching competency with geography”.

Would you build a bright new shiny steel mill in mid-town Manhattan? Well, you could but the cost would be a bit too high, both in human and physical capital. So you ask yourself, what kind of load of crap is that example?

In this expanding and global economy it may be a bit extreme for the point, but not only would NewCo Steel not build in the Big Apple, they would outsource a lot of non value-add stuff to people who know how to do it better, faster & cheaper. Outsourcing is the first step, then deciding where to put it is the next.

If you want to be a world-class HR services organization in your mature and high cost backyard you will have to consider a collaborative relationship with a unique vendor who not only knows your business, but can deliver in a lower cost environment with greater efficiency.

That allows you to actually talk to your clients, rather than pumping out reports until you gasp for air or pay $60k for rudimentary spreadsheets that could be converted to a web application.

We at Cognet know your pain and how to help because we have been you. No, not some crazy reincarnation angle, but we are from your world and have the unique perspective of doing this more than once and offshore. Been there, still there and loving it.

You can hop a plane to Hyderabad, India and see the gazillion “ADP Now Hiring” signs and hope they quit and start raising price. Let us know how that works out for ya!

Instead of waiting for the sound of inevitability Mr. Anderson give us a try. No 28 hour flights in coach, unless you dig that, just solutions to your problems and a level to the playing field.


90 days to Nirvana – No kidding!

Who would want a smart, innovative and willing resource at no charge for 90 days? Well, um, YOU!

We recently added a client by investing in their internal planning and decision making process. During the sales process we simply let them know they can have a resource from Cognet to perform market research, cross reference lead and client lists, put together a five-year strategic financial budget and Power Point presentation at no charge. It worked!

We only want clients who “get it” and use our relationship as a means of growing their company in search of operational excellence, and that isn’t for everyone. If you are truly interested in outsourcing on a global scale, let us help you by providing the resource to do the leg work and get you to a decision, either way.

We are so confident of our Cognitive and Collaborative models to manage your processes that we are offering a 90-Day Free Trial to access our global team. We want you to experience how an offshore operation can make you more efficient and allow you to focus more on sales and customers, not spreadsheets. Instead of taking that flash drive home with you send us an email and voila, it will be in your Inbox by morning and you can focus on your future.

Click here to complete our process assessment of your problem du jour, along with what you want to accomplish. Remember, we provide the HR Services industry with solutions to BPO, F&A and IT problems, so please avoid asking us to answer customer service calls or anything like that.

We will review your input and one of our ISO team will provide you the path to freedom. If chosen, we will show you how we Inspire, Innovate and Implement during those 90 days for free and hope we have the opportunity to show you what we can do for your business to be more competitive.

If you are attending the IPPA conference in August and are interested in this offer, please visit our Web site for more details. There will be a way to win an extension of this offer, but you will have to bring your “A” game. Stay tuned!

What is a Collaborative Model?

A collaborative approach literally involves two parties “laboring together” to achieve an outcome. Cognet attempts to not only be collaborative once a transition is complete and in production, but also in the beginning during the sales and discovery phase to ensure that the relationship will work for both parties.

What kind of relationship works in an offshore and/or outsourced model?

Is it a Vendor? In most vendor relationships, a product or service is provided to the customer who may have several choices. The customer is “king” and can usually procure the product or service with price being the driving factor for vendor selection. This is not Cognet.

Is it a Partnership? Traditionally, partnerships share both a common equity interest and joint decision making. Many companies abuse the word “partner” to have that more kind and paternal spin on relationships, but the reality is that there is no strong ties of common cause and outcome. This is also not Cognet.

So what makes it a collaborative relationship?

The first step is admitting a couple of key things to yourself before you embark on a global journey, part of a twelve step program to get you past yourself. The first two are:

  • My current processes are imperfect, and even possibly not documented or measured.
  • My people make mistakes, even if they hide them from me and probably because they aren’t measured enough.
  • We all have these issues, hidden or in plain sight, and the common goal is to ensure that they don’t impact a customer and therefore our bottom line. This is exactly why you outsource, but you do it in the right manner. You will more than likely get documentation and measurement you didn’t have before, along with accountability and responsibility for delivery of that work. You let the ISO expert in the building not to point our faults that are already there, but to help improve them in the future through collaboration.

    Once you accept both the imperfections and desire to improve them, collaboration may enter the equation. Your vendor isn’t a vendor, or even a partner, but a part of the organization. They are an extension of your team who works in an integrated fashion with your employees as part of a process. Processes cross departments today in your organization, and in the collaborative model they cross organizations, but the members remain a team with a common purpose.

    The result, which may take a while, is that the teams form relationships and ISO, Six Sigma and Continuous Process Improvement become a shared objective of the team. Sure, there may be initial finger pointing of “the vendor screwed up” or “those people don’t know what they are doing”, but when the unemotional focus on improving that process from mistakes catches on, the return on investment is high.

    There are certain skills that are required to manage in a collaborative model, as well as roles such as liaisons. The skills can be infectious and mainly include the acceptance of critical or process based thinking. Looking at the numbers and process and solving the problem becomes the common interest, not laying blame. This takes a combination of data and relationship building skills, as well as a willingness of your employees to upgrade their job skills now that they have help, or desire more customer contact. They may not, so you have to choose carefully.

    In the end, a collaborative provider is managing your stuff. The combined team of your employees and an outsourcer are simply trying to take what you already have to another level by applying skills and tool sets that you may not have in-house today. They collectively own the process and impact to clients as a team, and the objective is to put the right work in the right location and increase attention to client facing activities in your company. It may not work for everyone and people may leave because of it, but in the end your bottom line and customers will notice the difference, and increase your company’s chance of survival over the long-term.

    Local objections, global realities and things that go bump in the night!

    Cognitive Dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously. We understand the queasiness that occurs the night before a “go live” date all too well because Cognet was founded on our own adventures over the past six years. You have documented the process to look like the Human Genome project, ran parallel testing until your eyes bugged out and performed quality assurance until the cows came home. Yet, you still get that rumbling down in your gut even if it makes no sense. Yep, we get that.

    Remember Y2K? The pundits, press and pessimists bombarded us with warnings of doom and disorder over two pesky characters missing in most financial programs. The ironic part for us is that this event in part catapulted India from emerging to emerged market status. Respected leaders resisted using equally competent labor and expertise from other parts of the world, while at the same time they knew that they didn’t have the capacity or time to get the job done. Smart leaders led, and kept your debit card happy.

    The same cognitive belief systems exist in the HRO marketplace today, specifically amongst the peer group. We all wish that ADP really doesn’t want to grow their market share as a mature provider of an ever increasing product set in pursuit of shareholder value. Heck, I bet they will raise prices to offset those increased costs of doing business to free up some clients for the rest of us. Not! Take a drive around Hyderabad, India and see the million signs on the road that say “ADP Now Hiring” and you may become convinced that you have some dissonance in that big brain of yours. Well, it may not be a million but when you see the traffic there you will understand how it can seem like it.

    Let’s get ‘Cognet’ive for a moment and examine a few mythical objections that we are familiar with:

    “This job is just way too hard for anyone else to understand.” Been here, done that! Ask yourself a simple question in reply, but not out loud or the neighbors may begin to talk. “What happens when the person doing this incredibly difficult job today quits?” Your belief system as a manager tells you “other people can’t possibly be smart enough to do what Sally does all day”, but the reality is you lose employees all the time and magically find others that in fact do the work. The next reality is that you can find someone with a Master’s degree and Six Sigma training to do that same job.

    “I must have my employees on premise in this expensive office space for them to be effective!” That one may have worked before we all started working remotely ourselves and AOL was the best thing ever. The reality is that businesses are becoming geographically dispersed in our own right. Some of our employees can be more effective as remote employees, so does it really matter if they are 100 miles away or 10,000? Welcome to the Cloud and what it really has to offer!

    “We have more control over our processes “in-house” versus outsourced.” Do you know how many off-cycle payrolls were run by operator, shift, day of the week and tidal phase? Well, maybe not on the Spring Tide, but the difference between having a collaborative relationship with a provider and W-2 employees is measurement and accountability. The reality of on-premise work is that the process map may not exist, or measurements are not focused on cost per unit and error rates as they would be in a contractual arrangement. In an outsourced arrangement you gain more control over measurement, process and Service Level Agreements (SLA) than you have today.

    “I am sure this will hurt customer service and cost us clients.” Most service organizations spend very little time on the phone or in front of the client, and most of it researching the problem or finding the data required. You have two choices. You can leave it alone and not change, or find ways to answer client questions more quickly and at a lower cost. If your offshore team ran the report, dumped it to CSV, massaged it to client specifications and then emailed it same day to your CSR, would you lose clients? Service and ticket closure time will decrease if you focus CSRs on Customers, not BS work.

    We all developed a little Cognitive Dissonance at the start of the World Cup. I am sure there are some realists amongst us, but when Team USA got to the round of sixteen, we had delusions of grandeur for a moment or two. If you think about it, we actually outsourced and offshored our program to this improvement by sending most of our players to the European professional leagues, matching competency with geography.

    Checkout our white paper that discusses not only overcoming objections and choosing what works, but also the methods and governance models to ensure it succeeds via common language and agreed upon results.