Insights|An Invitation to Innovate

An Invitation to Innovate

To unlock innovation an organization should begin by transforming its mindset and changing its perception of its vendors and service providers. Learn more from Peter Bendor-Samuel, founder & CEO of Everest Group, in his EmpowerCX keynote.

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by Sitel staff November 12, 2020 - 3 MIN READ

Businesses want to be innovative. They want new technologies, tools and processes that are going to enable them to achieve more and grow their revenues. And this is particularly true when one considers the traditional relationship organizations have with vendors and service providers. 

“When we talk to organizations and say, ‘What do you want from innovation?,’ typically they want to lower costs associated with a service provider,” says Bendor-Samuel “But the other thing they want is that the value the service providers deliver also goes up every year.” 

In theory, having such expectations shouldn’t be a problem. Leading service providers are in their positions of competitive power because they consistently invest in innovation and as such have the means of meeting their customers’ objectives.

Traditional Thinking Gets in the Way of Innovation

Unfortunately, thanks to traditional ways of thinking and perceptions around the role that vendors or service providers play, organizations fail to truly realize any genuine innovation that could make a long-term positive impact on their operations or lines of business.   

“This, of course, raises the question, ‘what’s going on here?,’ a fundamental misconception and miscommunication between service providers and their clients,” explains Bendor-Samuel. “From a client’s perspective this misconception is that rather than getting innovation, they’re being sold to.”

Meanwhile vendors and service providers know that there are opportunities to add value for clients but it’s also logical that in delivering innovation and improved solutions, they can quite rightly expect to increase their own revenues.

As the CEO and Founder of Everest Group, Bendor-Samuel has been working with organizations for almost 30 years in order to help them develop innovative business cultures and to forge the strongest possible relationships with vendors and suppliers in order to ensure future growth and sustainability.

And, this communication breakdown that he has constantly come across is why Bendor-Samuel chose to call his keynote at this year’s EmpowerCX, I Can’t Get No Innovation! as it’s usually the end result and this situation will continue until there is a change in how service providers and clients communicate and a change in how each perceives the other.

A Revolutionary Way of Thinking

When Adam Smith published An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations in 1776 he revolutionized the concept of doing business and laid out the model that would come to be recognized as capitalism. Central to his view of economics was the win-win situation. Until that point, business was perceived as a win-lose situation. The seller won and the buyer, through parting with money, lost and, as a result of this confined way of viewing the world and economics, real trade and wealth generation was impossible. 

And 244 years later, a similar revolution is required for businesses to recognize that a win-win situation is not only possible but preferable when it comes to building and maintaining relationships with their vendors and service providers – especially as we move further into the digital age. There have never been more opportunities for organizations to embrace innovation, but with technology in particular there is the further misconception that it’s simply an off-the-shelf solution.

Putting Service Providers in a Straightjacket 

Organizations adopting this stance, in Bendor-Samuel’s words, are putting service providers “in a straightjacket.” 

“Organizations give service providers an impossible task – focus on cost reduction and unit cost reduction,” explains Bendor-Samuel. “By constricting them like that service providers can only focus on exactly what they’re doing.” 

And yet, there are a number of organizations that do innovate year in, year out. Regardless of their industry or business model, what these leading firms all have in common is they treat their service providers and vendors as an asset that can be mined for value. 

“These companies succeed because they are focused on business results not incremental cost savings,” says Bendor-Samuel. “They work with service providers, in partnership. They are transparent and they look beyond unit costs and towards total cost to serve and total cost of ownership.” 

But that’s just the start. The way in which these organizations engage with providers and their approach to sponsoring the relationship and data sharing is what sets them apart and is the reason why they receive the lion’s share of investment dollars that leading vendors and service providers earmark each year for developing and implementing client-facing innovation. 

So, to discover how to build a relationship with your service provider that results in long-term innovation and to find out how Sitel Group in particular partners with clients to develop proofs of concepts that go on to deliver reductions in total cost to serve, watch the keynote in full.  

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