The Outsourcing Excellence Awards Process: Hints for Applicants | Article

Outsourcing Excellence Awards LogoNext month is our Awards issue where we highlight the 2008 winners of the Oscars of outsourcing–the Outsourcing Center Outsourcing Excellence Awards, sponsored in part by Forbes.

In addition to sharing each winning relationship’s story, the Outsourcing Journal will have some winners share the benefits of winning an Outsourcing Excellence Award. Winning an Outsourcing Excellence Award is a PR department’s dream.

In case you want to get a head start on your application for the 2009 awards, now in its 12th year, here are answers to our most frequently asked questions

What ARE the Outsourcing Excellence Awards?

The awards recognize the world’s best outsourcing relationships. The judges select relationships which:

  • Demonstrate best practices
  • Create, then sustain competitive advantage
  • Provide business transformation
  • Achieve value for both the buyer and supplier
  • Ensure flexibility to respond to evolving needs
  • Continually to create mutually beneficial outcomes over time for both parties

What is the application process?

  1. Go to http://www.outsourcing-awards.com Both the buyer and the service provider need to complete their appropriate sections of the questionnaire.
  2. E-mail the questionnaire to: [email protected].
  3. The Outsourcing Center staff only interviews the buyer. Once we receive your application, someone from the Center will call the buyer and schedule a 60-minute telephone interview. Please inform the buyer interviewee’s admin that the Outsourcing Center will be calling. Buyer interviews start on October 1 and run through Christmas Eve.
  4. Be sure to pick someone who has full knowledge about the relationship and is enthusiastic about the results achieved — including those beyond the requirements of the contract.
  5. Wait to hear you’ve won! We announce the finalists on March 1 and the winners on May 1.

If you nominated a relationship last year and it didn’t win, nominate it again. One former winner nominated its relationship three times before it beat out that year’s competitors. Sometimes extraordinary events change the dynamics. For example, we had many winners whose relationships were forever changed by Hurricane Katrina or 9/11. The amazing efforts of the suppliers in those times of horrific crisis made it difficult for other great relationships to win.

What are the Awards categories?

It depends. After the Outsourcing Center interviews all contestants, the Center determines the Awards categories. We have to have at least 10 applicants in each selected category. The types of relationships nominated determine the categories. The only category you can specifically apply for is Best First Steps. This category covers relationships where the parties are still in transition/migration or have been working together after transition/migration for less than 12 months.

Some of the categories we’ve had in recent years include:

  • Best ITO
  • Best BPO
  • Best EU/UK
  • Best Healthcare
  • Best HR
  • Best Financial Services
  • Most Strategic
  • Most Flexible
  • Best Partnership

Once the Center settles on categories, we prepare a Judge’s Form for each interviewee. This document, including information from the buyer telephone interview and from the application, is what the judges study to select the winners. Since only one person at the Center creates all of the judging forms and uses a template, the judges do an apples-to-apples comparison of the nominations. The Center assigns each applicant to every applicable category. So, for example, you might be considered for Best BPO and Best EU/UK and Best Partnership; the judges determine which category best reflects the winning relationships.

Who are the judges?

Every year we have a new panel of judges. Last year’s panel included:

Peter Bender-Samuel, CEO, Everest Group

Rod Bourgeois, Senior Research Analyst, Technology Services, Sanford Bernstein & Co.

Ed Davis, Oliver Wight Professor, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia

Dawn Evans, President & CEO, Sourcing Interests Group

John A. Funk, Partner, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

Russ Taruscio, FC&C Procurement Director, BP America

What are the judges looking for?

The awards are about relationships, so be sure you tell us everything about yours in both the nomination form and in the buyer’s phone interview. How do you handle conflict? Challenges? Changing business needs? What’s your recipe for success? What makes your relationship deserving?

Please quantify as much as possible. Numbers tell great stories.

What happens when you win?

First, we work with you on your Forbes blurb. Forbes includes a 75-word blurb about your award in its June issue. You can also purchase space in Forbes’s special Outsourcing Section to tell your story.

Then, we schedule telephone interviews with all the winning suppliers. We write a story for the Outsourcing Journal about your winning relationship from both the buyers’ and the suppliers’ point of view. The copy deadline for these stories is June 1.

Then we travel to New York City for the Awards festivities. They include:

  • A private tour of New York harbor aboard The Highlander, Malcolm Forbes’s private yacht. You will cruise under the Brooklyn Bridge and circle the Statue of Liberty while enjoying a gourmet meal.
  • A black tie Awards Dinner at the Forbes Galleries.
  • A public best practices educational seminar where each winning relationship shares its story.
  • A private luncheon where the winners exchange ideas.

Lessons from the Outsourcing Journal:


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