Today's CXO & The Labours of Hercules | ScrumStart

Today’s CXO & The Labours of Hercules

Being a CXO is today’s times in often likened as alike to taking on “The Labours of Hercules”, presenting challenges of the depth, scope and ferociousness that the eponymous legendary warrior faced.

A recent Deloitte Survey based on responses from over 500 C-Level executives says “Most survey respondents have accepted that they should change their outsourcing strategy. They are now thinking about how to change solutions, which partners can elevate them, how to construct an incentives regime that motivates them to continually innovate, and how to implement and manage this new outsourcing paradigm.”

As an IT Industry veteran, having experienced the situation over the last decade it has never been an easy task. But with the revolution that has occurred in the digital transformation, it has become a highly complex, unnecessarily confusing and often desperate one.

The CTO/CIO/CXO of today goes into a daily battle on various fronts.

And unlike Hercules, who took 12 years to complete his set of challenges, they are expected to be solved within a few months, if not days! As shared with me over the course of my career during discussions with hundreds of C-Suite executives these issues stem from the seemingly mundane to the fearsomely cutting-edge.

  1. A Growth Engine, not just a cost: At the most basic level, there are still a significantly large number of companies who see IT primarily as a necessary and unavoidable cost to the business rather than a prime revenue driver. How does one convey to all departments within a company that IT does not just support, but generates business?
  1. Slogans and bandwagons: Today’s scenario sees jargon being thrown around with sometimes amazingly flippant agility. The same agility does not always combine with the depth of understanding required -or a thorough analysis of very basic, root cause problems that need to be addressed before attempting to transition an enterprise into the “next big what” when it is clearly not ready. The problem is compounded by canny Third-Party Outsourcing providers who will gladly lead companies into paths undiscovered (and largely misunderstood) to boost their own revenues.
  1. ”Tech me” to Abilene: Many Third-Party Outsourcing Providers will urge your organization to be “IoT/Big Data Management/Cloud Services/#FillintheJargon enabled”-regardless of really understanding and analyzing your business stage, landscape and evolutionary path. Just do it! Faster than ordering takeout dinner from a roadside driveway restaurant. And on a jocular note, sometimes with the same unintentionally “disruptive” results the next morning.

Internal IT departments are no less prone to the same syndrome, and blamelessly so-because after all, if everybody (and your competitors) are doing #FillintheJargon, shouldn’t you? Much like the family in the Abilene paradox.

The answer is, well… yes but while your business may be categorized under a convenient label, your Enterprise is unique. And so should be its’ technological evolution.

  1. Enter Insourcing: So, if your company is so unique, why not take matters completely into your own hands?

Many large MNC’s have set up GIC’s (Global Inhouse Centres) a practice also known as Insourcing. GICs are especially built, self-owned & managed offshore centres that perform designated functions with the aim of delivering cost savings with a higher degree of control and operational visibility. They obviate the need to cede power to a Third-Party Outsourcer. A recent report from Bain & Company ( says that GICs in India now number about 1,100, employing more than 800,000 individuals and generating approximately $23 billion in revenue.

However, the same report states that “As a group, the global CXOs we surveyed gave their Indian GICs a Net Promoter Score(a typical benchmark companies measure to evaluate and improve customer loyalty) of -23% for their Indian GICs, highlighting leadership quality, domain expertise and automation (including machine learning and artificial intelligence) as areas for improvement. “

In addition, to set up a GIC/Captive Centre/InSourcing Unit requires a huge expenditure in Capital Investment. The process is lengthy and tedious with a swathe of issues including location evaluation, infrastructure set up, talent acquisition & management and legal / compliance issues to be addressed.

  1. It’s all about the moneyRegardless of which model of operation the Enterprise chooses, one challenge that never goes away revolves around Talent.

Today’s CXO is confronted with a vast pool of job seekers, the “worker bees”, but with only a small proportion who have the right talent. The very word “Talent” is derived from ancient Latin and literally means “a unit of currency”. It is therefore ironic, but unsurprising that the best talent typically comes at a high price. In addition, for the best talent, both globalization and new forms of employment, such as remote working, increase employee choice.  

  1. Swords & Silver Bullets: Hercules had little access to bullets, let alone a Silver one. Nor is there a “Silver Bullet” solution to the complex challenges of the Corporate world. But he still dealt with his challenges head-on, innovatively and efficiently enough to have the “Herculean” named after him. What are the solutions available to his modern Corporate Counterparts?

One approach that I have personally been closely involved in driving is the “Virtual Captive” approach.

It requires Zero Capital Investment. Enables you to set up your own custom-designed Offshore Centre with zero hassle within 6 to 12 weeks. All operations including infrastructure and talent management taken care of 24*7. It is empirically proven to deliver a minimum of 50 % more savings than GICs & ROI of over 30 %. And Transformative Outcomes that add value beyond just cost. 

This has enabled us to lend an optimal balance of the advantages of Global In-house Centre (GIC)/Insourcing with the conventional Third-Party Outsourcing Model to not just many Fortune 1000 partners but also smaller, rapidly growing and dynamic companies.

Read more about it here:

I would like to believe that it redefines “The Labours of Hercules”. Complex and Challenging, but not laborious! Effective without being “Expense Intensive”.


About the Author:

Santosh Panicker1

Mr. Santosh Panicker

Mr. Santosh Panicker, CEO ScrumStart, is a specialist in setting up business processes and has established himself as an inspirational leader in the corporate world. Mr. Panicker has demonstrated his capabilities in setting up end- to -end HR, legal, and business process operations for 9 start-ups through his career years. He has over 22 years of experience working across diverse industries including IT, FMCG, Retail, Automobile and consumer durables with blue chip companies

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