Partner, Head of Commercial & Technology
"He adds gravitas to any negotiation and he's got a huge amount of market knowledge." Chambers & Partners 2015
- Head of both the firm-wide Outsourcing Sector Group and the Commercial & Technology group in which the majority of the firm’s IT and outsourcing practitioners sit.
- Advised on outsourcing deals worth over US$15bn in total.
- One of the recognised leaders of the field. Also the non-executive chairman and a non-executive director of Morgan Chambers plc, one of Europe’s leading sourcing consultancies (now part of KPMG). Currently one of two external non-executive members of the University of London’s External Services Board.
- Was involved in the first major outsourcing projects in the UK when senior counsel in the UK Government in the 1980s.
- Legal pioneer of offshore outsourcing.
- Regularly represents major corporates and service providers in IT, outsourcing and related services transactions. Representing both customers and providers enables Mark to understand the positions taken by customers and providers in any IT or outsourcing project, to take a balanced view of those positions, and to achieve “win-win” deals for clients on either side.
- Has advised governments, NGOs, pan-governmental bodies and development banks on the use of IT and outsourcing as accelerators of economic development in Africa, CARICOM countries, GCC and other Islamic countries, India, Bangladesh and Palestine.
Areas in which I advise clients
IT OutsourcingMuch of IT infrastructure outsourcing and applications development and maintenance (ADM) is becoming commoditised, standardised and, in the case of infrastructure operations, automated. I advise customers and providers on both IT infrastructure and ADM outsourcing in their newest forms, allowing for the flexibility, change and innovation that are now expected of providers in contractual relationships.
Cloud ComputingPublic cloud computing has become more acceptable to customers, and is set to become even more popular with them, increasingly with regulated institutions like banks and insurance companies. There remain several legal, regulatory and operational challenges for customers adopting public cloud computing. With the experience my team and I have had working with both customers and providers in cloud computing, I advise customers at the start of such projects of the likely pressure and sticking points in utility cloud projects. The sooner these are addressed and resolved, the better, otherwise organisations can spend months on the technical, operational, integration, financial and commercial aspects of cloud computing without addressing the operational and regulatory risks.
IT Remediation in Financial ServicesThe story of IT in the UK financial services sector is in two parts, remediating legacy IT estates and applications, and digitisation. It is well-known that the established banks and other financial institutions rely on aged IT infrastructure, some of which periodically falls over. The PRA and FCA are clearly concerned about increased operational risk and are intervening more frequently. Reported IT system failures and regulatory intervention are now the norm. This situation continues to drive substantial and complex infrastructure outsourcing to remediate IT risks. My team and I have extensive experience of representing financial institutions in IT remediation projects.
DigitisationThe other part of the story for the UK financial services sector, driven by the need to reduce the cost of interacting with customers through large branch networks, greater efficiency in customer transactions, reaching and transacting with younger customers and potential customers through digital channels of their choice, customer analytics and increasing the range of services that can be offered to older and younger customers. FinTech and the rise of challenger banks in the UK are also part of the story. But digitisation adds legal and regulatory risk to financial services operations. The FCA monitors closely how financial institutions are using social media and other digital services. I help banks and insurers in leading-edge digitisation projects and we are beginning to engage with some of the challenger banks starting up in the UK, for whom technology is the game changer.
Business Process Outsourcing and the Rise of Software Robotics“Generic” BPO, typically finance and accounting (F&A) outsourcing, but also CRM is, like IT infrastructure outsourcing, being challenged by automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and software robotics processes. Other forms of specialist BPO, like policy and claims administration in the insurance markets, are also becoming more commoditised and automated. We have seen the development of several specialist platforms in these markets. I represent both customers and providers in these markets, and we are beginning to work with some of the leading automation and robotics providers, along with integrators, to keep track of and learn from developments in the software robotics market.
Offshore, Nearshore and “No Shore” OutsourcingWhile there are political, economic, social, technological, social and even legal pressures against offshoring and the need to “re-shore”, outsourcing from lower cost countries, whether half way round the world or closer to home, is still important for customers and providers. Lower cost processing remains the main driver for outsourcing. But as the global delivery model has been extended from a handful of global providers to a wider range of providers, including those based in India, the choice of which shore, and multi-shore delivery centres has grown. And cloud computing and automation have seemed to create the “no shore” option. This is now illusory, however, as data residency, and therefore which “shore” houses a customer or provider’s servers is a big point since the Snowden disclosures.