The rise of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is nothing short of spectacular. It has captivated the attention of digital operations executives with the promise of cost-savings beyond labor arbitrage, cost avoidance by extending the life of legacy IT, quicker implementation than traditional IT projects, business-user friendliness, auditability and compliance, straight through processing, and let’s be honest – terrific marketing.
Whether you crossed the automation chasm early, or are just starting your journey into digital service delivery, you’re not alone if you’ve got questions surrounding technical ecosystem choices. Generating ROI—and how exactly to go about proving the value of numerous small automation projects versus one giant re-platforming initiative—is a common challenge.
Open vs. Closed Ecosystems
When the Internet arrived, we said, “The world is no longer flat! This changes everything!” Then we went back to building centralized systems – something we still do today. Examples of centralized systems are our ERPs, enterprise payment systems and government platforms. Recent commercial examples include Google, Facebook and Uber.
When a function or even a full department is outsourced to a managed service provider (MSP), the scope of work, requirements and service needs can at times be hard to nail down, especially as the relationship with the MSP evolves over time and the needs of the business evolve. This is particularly true in the case of IT Managed Services – an area with frequent need for outsourcing due to resource constraints and/or technical expertise and an area where it is critical that services continue uninterrupted.
Nobel laureate Richard Thaler understands the “human” side of economics. He’s a founding member of behavioral economics and most recently won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics Sciences.
2018 is not the first time our industry has come under fire. It’s had a colourful history from tales of cost-cutting to ethical arguments around driving labour arbitrage. Outsourcing has often been misunderstood and the whole industry blamed when things go wrong. But with the recent, spectacular collapse of Carillion we are seeing a renewed attack from certain corners in relation to the “failure of outsourcing.” A grand, sweeping statement, but is there any truth in it?
Outsourcing decisions often come down to a relatively simple cost-driven Return on Investment (ROI) calculation: how much will the cost change in each scenario and how quickly can that investment be recovered?
On the surface, this purely economic approach seems appropriate enough. After all, economics are certainly important. But over-reliance on purely financial-driven outsourcing decisions is one of the biggest causes of the “strategy-to-execution gap,” namely the distance between a company’s business strategies and its ability to execute on them.
Customers embark on an RPA journey for a variety of reasons. For some it's about not being able to grow organically with the traditional models of adding new people into the mix. For others, it can be a desire to achieve greater cost certainty and overcome the challenges of moving work offshore and the uncertainty that it brings into today's political climate. Regardless of the reasons why companies embark on the journey, a common outcome is sought - a high-quality service with a reduced cost of operating.
In a recent 4C poll* of 227 UK retail procurement executives, 89% responded that they either had no plan in place or were unaware that their company had a plan in place. What should you consider now so that you’re prepared for the March 2019 Brexit deadline?
Mark Pollack (MP): Jamie, tell our readers about yourself and your role within the organization.
Jamie Ogilvie-Smals (JOS): GEP is the largest provider of unified procurement solutions in the world, combining strategic consulting, managed procurement services and cloud-based procurement software. We have a rapidly-expanding, blue-chip client base of Fortune 500 and Global 2000 companies in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
Avery W. Katz, professor of law at Columbia Law School, tackles the conundrum of “incomplete” contracts. The challenge? How organizations can fashion a contract that is both economically flexible enough for a business relationship to move forward efficiently and legally secure enough to satisfy the parties’ legal departments.
What has been the single most significant development to impact your profession or area of business during your career, and why?
To understand the future, it often helps to examine the past. The past may not have all our answers, but we often find useful models that can be repurposed in new ways. Turn back the clock one hundred years, and we will find just such a model for future outsourcing…the modern hospital.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a critical component of developing a digital operations strategy that can yield impressive results. If you’re early in your discovery journey, you may be wondering what the term actually means. This article will help you understand RPA and the ways it can add value to your enterprise.
A Definition of RPA
Innovation in most sectors has its roots in technology. What is curious though is that the outsourcing industry that plays such a big part in transforming other sectors has somehow ignored the need for innovating its own business models.
There is clear evidence of headwinds and industry players need to innovate to stay relevant and play their part in the IT supply chain of the future in a fast changing market place. And the time for them to do so is running out fast.
There are some notable trends that underline the need for change -