ISO Standards for Outsourcing and the ISS-Cognizant BPO Deal

November 14, 2014

The IAOP Nordic Chapter held its quarterly meeting this past Wednesday, November 12, at ISS’ global headquarters in Søborg. Peter Ankerstjerne, Head of Group Marketing, ISS, kicked off the event with a warm welcome and the news that he needed to rush off to study up on his COP (Certified Outsourcing Professional) certification exam which was taking place at ISS the next day. Our network wished him the best while we made sure that his examiner, Jag Dalal, was comfortable and had several of ISS’ flødeboller (a fantastic Danish delicacy that is kind of like a Malomar or a cream puff). Still no word on whether this helped to smooth the way however….

While Peter crammed for his exam, our network heard from Adrian Quayle, Managing Partner, Avasant. Adrian is part of the team that has developed the new ISO standard for outsourcing. This standard, ISO 37500, has just been announced (November 1). Adrian explained the intent behind the standard; the critical focus being to ensure a solid connection between business activities and outsourcing. ISO standard 37500 describes the lifecycle, best practices, and processes integral to creating mutually beneficial relationships in outsourcing. The five major focus areas are: Governance, strategy analysis, initiation & selection, transition, and delivering value. The standard is designed to be used by providers and customers alike.

Also on the program on the 12th was a joint presentation by ISS and Cognizant on their recent BPO deal, the biggest to date in the Nordics. Lars Nordestgaard Nielsen, Nordic BPO Director, ISS, and Lars Holmgren Engel, Client Partner, Cognizant, shared the rationale behind the agreement and the plans for moving forward. Lars Nordestgaard Nielsen noted that for ISS, there were three distinct decisions they needed to make prior to making the agreement: Shared services center or outsourcing; Near shore or offshore; and Fix n’ Ship or Ship n’ Fix. ISS decided to go for outsourcing, off shore, and Ship n’ Fix. The business case focused on the transition and not standardizing up-front.

We ended our program with an open panel discussion including Adrian Quayle, Lars Nordestgaard Nielsen, and Ole Horsfeldt, Partner, Gorrissen Federspiel. The discussion centered around how to best secure successful outcomes in BPO outsourcing. Noted by our panelists were: Risk management skills; Setting up and supporting good governance; and That the vendor continues to deliver at market price. Ole noted that Robotic Process Automation is a substantial disruptive force that is only beginning to make itself heard and that we should all listen up.

Our IAOP Nordic Chapter meetings are an open forum for learning and networking. We meet four times a year. Please save the dates for our 2015 programs to be held on: February 24, May 19, September 15, and November 17. To register, please sign up on the IAOP’s web site by following this link. Alternatively, you can send an email to Gitte Arnedal at: