Whenever I chat with US-based firms offering procurement outsourcing services, I always find them quick to dismiss the threat from Indian providers. I've heard it all. "Procurement is not like a call center" and "they bungled up the IT help desk, now you're going to trust them with your spend" are but two quotes I've jotted down over the years. But those who've said such remarks may soon be eating crow. And that's because Infosys recently scored a serious procurement outsourcing win at Phillips. How big, you ask? Try $250 million big. According to European Leaders, "1,400 Phillips staff [will] transfer to Infosys in three business process outsourcing (BPO) centres in India, Poland and Thailand as the Indian company looks to extend its presence worldwide."
What's all the more remarkable in this win was the competition Infosys overcame to claim victory (close to a dozen firms vied for the deal in the early phases). From what I've heard through the grapevine, in the end, Infosys beat out the outsourcing arm of a Big 5 firm -- or least a former Big 5 firm -- to claim victory. I also know that Infosys has positioned its BPO capability recently as also focusing on the strategy development side of procurement outsourcing as well -- not just outsourcing transactional buying and A/P. Fascinating stuff. At the least, Infosys should be a major player to watch as they battle with Accenture, IBM, CGE&Y and others in the big leagues of procurement outsourcing.