Wow! Isn’t it amazing how quickly things change? In the early 2000s, the very pinnacle of outsourcing was Walmart. Walmart didn’t outsource its own operations. Instead, it made history by working with offshore suppliers, introducing American consumers to low-cost Chinese goods. Consumers fell in love with the low prices, and Walmart grew to 14,000 stores, becoming the biggest corporation in America.
There always seems to be plenty of commentary around what’s driving innovation and growth in both large enterprises and startups. By comparison, the mid-market seems slightly neglected; this seems an oversight given the crucial role it plays in the UK economy. Although this market segment represents just 1% of UK firms, medium-sized businesses are increasing revenues by an average of 6.7% each year and the mid-market is expected to boost the economy by 18% over the next five years.
Little more than a week into his presidency, and Donald Trump has already taken plenty of steps to ensure that anyone hoping or fearing that his more aggressively populist pre-election promises were merely vote-summoning rallying cries that would be forgotten were he to be elected will have their doubts dispelled.
Kit Cox is the founder and CEO of UK-based BPO software company Enate, and a long-time observer of and commentator upon the international outsourcing space. He's also, now, the latest professional to come under the microscope of our Life Lessons series: we're in your hands, Kit...
What has been the single most significant development to impact your profession or area of business during your career, and why?
Peter Dickinson is a partner at international law firm Mayer Brown and co-leads their global Technology Transactions practice; he's also a hugely respected thought leader and a regular contributor to Outsource, offering insight on a broad range of legal and technological issues. A perfect fit, in other words, for our Life Lessons series: take it away, Peter...
Outsource got together with Alex at October's SIG Summit in California to hear his thoughts on how his organisation is reacting to current changes in the market landscape; the pros and cons of decentralisation; the importance of "China for China"; and why the automation revolution offers huge opportunities - and challenges...
Outsource: So, Alex, what are you guys up to at the moment?
Thus far our quest for robotic process automation (RPA) enlightenment has focused on some of the personalities building this emerging industry – from software providers, outsourcers and implementers. Alex Nield is Head of Solution Design for Business Services at Direct Line Group (DLG), and he represents the most important constituency in RPA-land: the small but growing cadre of ‘RPA buyers’. These are the organisations that have actually turned to RPA to transform the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. It is time for Live Wires to get real.
Outsourcing the accounts payable (AP) function has many benefits, in particular enabling organisations to streamline essential operational processes and be more efficient. As with many outsourced functions, AP often requires expertise and technology that necessitate significant capital expenditure if they are to be made available in-house, whereas a third-party specialist will have up-to-date systems and a team of experts experienced in using them.
Risks versus benefits of outsourcing
There is no doubt that cloud, big data and artificial intelligence will be trending in 2017, just as they were in 2016, and will likely be in 2018. These are multi-year endeavours because the true implementation of technologies under these umbrellas have just begun, and challenges - like finding quality resources and better understanding of the technologies to fit into the business use cases - remain.
We caught up with Ed earlier this month at the SIG Global Summit in Carlsbad, California (where he also participated in our most recent Outsource Talks webinar: see below for more) to get his take on current trends in the space, his critical input into SIG's Executive Immersion Program (EIP), and the evolution of the role of the lawyer in sourcing and outsourcing - and much, much more...
Hard to believe half a year has gone by so quickly, but Outsource finds itself once again at a SIG Summit – taking place this time round in delightful (though, today, surprisingly drizzly) Carlsbad, California.
Earlier today, I had the great pleasure of hosting the seventh episode of Outsource Talks, our webinar series – for those of you not yet familiar with this especially marvellous project - that brings the time-honoured talkshow model to the international sourcing, outsourcing and business transformation community.
Faced with a seemingly endless cycle of disruptive technology and increasingly inflexible budgets, IT executives have their work cut out when it comes to making decisions about how to improve operations and meet demanding business needs without driving costs up. Today's heavy-handed drive for cost savings necessitates that IT services are demonstrably aligned with business priorities.
From the invention of the wheel and steam engine to fax machines and desktop computers, technology has always shaped the way we work - but in the last few decades, the pace of innovation has sped up exponentially, forcing employees and those who lead them to constantly blaze new ground and determine new paradigms for the way things are done. The biggest recent change in work and workplace culture is the introduction of robots.
Dictation being forced in Afghanistan,
Revolution in South Africa taking a stand,
People in Eurasia on the brink of oppression,
I hope it’s gonna be alright.
‘It’s Alright’, Pet Shop Boys