Tom Reuner rolls up to rev up our research

HfS new Managing Director, Tom Reuner with wife Ayesha

Meet Tom Reuner, HfS new Managing Director for IT Outsourcing Research, with wife Ayesha

As you all undoubtedly know by now, at HfS we are relentlessly dragging the world of IT and business operations kicking and screaming into the As-a-Service Economy.  So what better than to convince the only other analyst with real chops in autonomics and cognitive computing (who wasn’t at HfS) to come and become part of our bandwagon of belligerence?

Not only does the arrival of Tom Reuner corner the analyst market in autonomics and cognitive computing for us, he also brings real depth in IT services and adds to our growing European analyst presence.  He’s also a terrific bloke with great taste in premier league football teams.

So, without further ado, let’s hear a bit more about the latest excellent addition to the HfS analyst ranks…

Welcome to HfS, Tom.  What on earth went wrong in your life to have ended up doing this?  Tell us a bit about your background…

Cheers Phil, I am really excited to join HfS. And well, unlike my lovely wife I hadn’t learned anything proper. Back in the days I was expecting to become a lecturer in history and as part of that I planned to stay for half a year in London to do research for my PhD. But as so often in life things turned out quite different. For personal reasons I ended up staying in London and had to completely change direction. To cut a long story short my first job took me to a company I had never heard of before at that time: Gartner. I never looked back and the rest is “history”.

I just love being an analyst, meeting constantly new people and track technology evolutions through the course of time. I am getting a kick of being able to help client think in different directions and to help them to overcome their business challenges. After Gartner I had a stint at the buy side with KPMG Consulting. But my heart was always with being an analyst and I had the privilege to work for some outstanding organizations and with some inspirational people. My career took me to IDC to hone my consulting skills, I ran my own company for a while and learned lots from marketing to boring cold calling. Before joining HfS I worked with some great folks at Ovum, where I had the freedom to develop thought-leadership in sourcing and IT Services.

Why did you choose to join HfS… and why now?

The first time I heard suggestions that you guys were tracking me and supposedly considering making me an offer was late in the summer last year. I must admit that it must have been one of the most thorough due diligence jobs in the industry. But on a serious side, when you approached me about joining HfS, I sat up straight and it didn’t take me long to make up my mind up. Over the years and from out the outside I always highly appreciated what HfS had achieved: Being recognized thought leaders, leading the way in evolving the analyst model through the leverage of social media and to constantly push the boundaries to stay ahead of the game. And having been given the remit of expanding HfS’s research coverage across the “As-a-Service-Economy” was the icing on the cake.

What are the hot topics that you will focus on in your new analyst role…and what trends and developments are capturing your attention today? 

As suggested I will be responsible for driving the HfS research agenda for the “As-a-Service Economy” across SaaS applications, cloud eco-systems and IT. For the last two years parallel to the efforts by Phil and Charles, I spend most of my time developing a research agenda around process automation and cognitive computing in both IT and business processes (and on purpose I am avoiding the moniker RPA here). We will not only be combining our insights but broadening our focus to the emerging technologies around artificial intelligence and how all these technologies impact the transformation of knowledge work. For me the fundamental question is what comes after labor arbitrage?

With all this talk about disruptive solutions, will the world really look that different in five years’ time?

Some people call me a dinosaur (among other things) but largely I expect most innovations – be it cloud, digital or RPA – to end up in blended models leveraging both traditional as well as hugely disruptive models. Far too often the industry is looking for simplistic answers, the quest for the next panacea, but life is more complicated. The biggest challenge remains how to transition from legacy environments and how transform the clunky ERP backbones that appear to be like millstones around the neck of many clients. And it is exactly that journey that we focusing on at HfS when we are talking about the emergence of the “As-a-Service-Economy”. It is easy to point to beacon clients or to organizations that are born in the cloud, but how are plain vanilla organizations that are representing majority in the market dealing with all these issues? But as to be not shying away from your question, in five years’ time the industrialization will have accelerate strongly, on the buy side consolidation will fundamentally alter the landscape while a new breed of advisors will be finally aiming to tackle the business alignment of IT.

What are you working on first for our clients? 

Expanding the coverage on process automation will continue be both a strong focus as well as a means for differentiation. And artificial intelligence as bundled option in RPA or as disruptive innovation will be high on my agenda. But the first Blue Print is likely to be around cloud orchestration and brokerage underlining HfS’ holistic view as to how the “As-a—Service-Economy” might take shape. However, most importantly a significant part of my time will spend on discussions with clients and prospects as to how best to map out the journey into this new “Economy”.

And, what do you do with your spare time (if you have any…)?

Tom Reuner, HfS Research

Tom Reuner, HfS Research

I wish there would be more spare time as travelling continues to take up a big portion of my time. But on those precious occasions my wife and I love hang out with and entertain friends and family. I feel very privileged that I have married into lovely but huge family. We recently moved house just to be able to accommodate all those visitors. Thus my duties revolve around driving to the airport to pick up family and to be the cook in our house. But if I am honest this probably just a futile attempt to distract me from the sufferings of being a Spurs supporter used to times of despair and depression.

Welcome to HfS, Tom. Delighted to have you choose us as your analytical home and join our As-a-Service revolution =)

Tom Reuner is Managing Director, IT Outsourcing Research, at HfS – you can view his full bio here, email him here and follow his tweets here