Recently, supply chain professionals have recognized that better data collection and increased computing power can track sourcing, scheduling and routing better and faster than any human. Applying big data to thorny supply chain problems is still an emerging art as companies adapt their internal processes to rely on algorithms rather than rules of thumb. Here’s what you need to know to understand how big data is changing the supply chain and improving efficiency.
Outsource: Hi Rainer: great to have you here today. As usual, let's begin with some background on you personally: tell us about yourself and your role within the organisation.
Outsource: Marcos, thanks for joining us. Let's start with a big topic: why is the distinction between offshore, onshore and nearshore becoming less important?
Herbert Simon explored the intersection of philosophy, science, politics, economics and a range of other fields and called into question the traditional idea that “economic man” acts rationally. Simon, who was a long-time professor at Carnegie Mellon University, received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1978. Simon’s diverse research ranged across the fields of cognitive psychology, cognitive science, computer science, economics, management, philosophy of science, sociology, and political science; he helped lay the foundation for behavioral economists around the world.
Many US companies have turned to outsourcing their software development to get quality software that supports innovation, generates revenue, and grows their business while benefitting the US economy. However, current US political discussions raise concerns about offshored jobs.
For organisations that are looking to strengthen their position in established industry sectors, adopting new technologies may provide the opportunity to:
1. Demonstrate innovative thinking to customers
Proving to customers that your organisation is committed to continually improving the manner in which it conducts its business by adopting new technologies should lead to better customer awareness of your business and a stronger reputation for customer service.
Businesses have never faced such complex political, economic, social and digital forces as they do today. For example:
Over in Silicon Valley, the latest battle for technological dominance is on. On the one hand, you have apps. Apps have been with us for nearly ten years, but 2016 marked the first year that mobile internet use overtook desktop internet use. This trend, which shows no sign of slowing down, puts apps on the front page of the internet — so to speak.
Depending on your business sector, the department you work in or your job function, innovation means different things to different people. Procurement professionals may view innovation as a long-term strategy, given the tremendous potential for delivering efficiencies and cost savings over time, while other business functions may see it differently. Their interest might be focused on enhancing performance and processes, delivering slicker workflows or increased speed to market.
In a maturing market, buyers are becoming increasingly aware that the umbrella term “intelligent automation” comprises a broad spectrum of functionality, ranging from teachable bots that execute repeatable and scripted tasks, to more advanced cognitive tools that apply pattern recognition and language processing capabilities to analyse data, make decisions and learn from experience.
Over the past two decades, networking has been severely limited: it simply could not keep up with new demands from businesses in an increasingly digital world. However, that is all about to change thanks to the creation of software-defined networking, or SDN. Part of an ongoing wave of “virtualisation” in the IT industry, SDN allows people (particularly businesses with large IT systems) to control network behaviour through a handy piece of software, instead of having to go into the network infrastructure and alter things manually.
Rick Sturge is EVP Business Development at Firstsource Solutions, with over two decades' experience in outsourcing and business transformation. We turned to Rick for the latest in our Life Lessons series - and received lessons aplenty...
What has been the single most significant development to impact your profession or area of business during your career, and why?
Less than two per cent of the global outsourcing market is affected by robotic process automation (RPA). And yet, some estimates show that the growth of RPA use may approach 90 per cent year-over-year, according to an interview with Everest Group VP Sarah Burnett at a recent seminar organised by Accenture.
Statistics are a lot of fun, and contentious too. Yet they permit us to remain fairly grounded. Let’s start with the obvious. From self-driving vehicles and semi-autonomous robots to intelligent algorithms and predictive analytical tools, machines are increasingly capable of performing a wide range of jobs that have long been human domains. A 2013 study by researchers at Oxford University posited that as many as 47% of all jobs in the United States are at risk of “computerisation”.