One of the most famous figures in the global outsourcing arena, Kate Vitasek is also – not coincidentally – one of Outsource’s most popular contributors, having graced our pages with both her regular column (examining lessons to be learnt by the sourcing and outsourcing community from renowned academics and thought leaders from elsewhere in business) and standalone articles for over five years.
Levels of concern in business appear to be rising, as the date for the roll out of the new EU Data Protection regulations, known as GDPR, was announced (May 25, 2018, by the way). Social media were alight with comment and speculation and many people were questioning if a potential Brexit could impact the uptake of the regulations in the UK. The bottom line is, we have our own Data Protection Act, which will remain and it is not possible to rule out the adoption of best practice guidelines, regardless of any potential Brexit outcome.
It was a rainy day in Goa, India and I had just got back to the hotel in the evening after meeting customers. As I walked through the corridor of the hotel I saw a lot of people from the Middle East sitting at the lounge and enjoying a drink as they chatted and gazed out over the Arabian Sea and the rains. I asked the lobby manager as to why so many people came in from the Middle East during monsoon times. He smiled and told me that his hotel marketed what they called “Monsoon Tourism”.
The data and cyber regulatory regime in the EU – which includes, for the time being at least, the UK – is undergoing a very significant shake-up. The new General Data Protection Regulation which will come into force on 25 May 2018 will bring a number of new measures into play such as much increased fines (up to the higher of 4% of annual worldwide turnover or 20 million euros, in some cases) and mandatory reporting of most data security breaches.
It seems like there isn’t a day which goes by at the moment without a new robotic invention in the news, with promises around how these inventions will not only revolutionise our lives, but threaten our jobs.
In the outsourcing sector robots are most definitely on the way, or in some cases, already here. And it is, therefore, vital that businesses operating in this sector seriously consider how some robotic processes can enhance their operations – there’s no doubt competitors are also considering the same issue.
Almost twenty years ago, my son responded to the ubiquitous inquiry “What do you want to be when you grow up?” His interlocutor was his Italian godfather (the Milanese not the Sopranos variety). There were certain implicit cultural expectations about the response, the godfather being both a lawyer, an aristocrat and an exceptionally cultured Renaissance-man: doctor, lawyer at one end of the spectrum, bookended by painter, composer at the other with the (yes, stereotypical) accommodation to age and gender of train driver somewhere in-between.
At the end of a contract term, buyers of outsourced services have several options. They can renew the agreement and sign on for more of the same, renegotiate terms, seek a new partner through a re-bid or take services back in-house.
Given the pace of technology change and the ferocity of market competition, these choices are becoming increasing complex. Standing pat and signing on for more of the same ensures falling behind market leaders. An aggressive all-in move to a new technology, meanwhile, could prove to be a disastrously wrong choice.
Another rainy trip up north, I thought to myself, turning on the windshield wipers. A recent phone call from Anne, the head of global purchasing, requesting my participation in reviewing some ideas to build stronger partnerships with their inside-outsourcing service providers (IOSPs), was the reason for the trip. Over my forty years as an IOSP, I’d become very cynical and prejudicial towards purchasing departments. As an IOSP to the auto industry, I’d witnessed countless purchasing initiatives resulting in bankrupting IOSPs due to a complete lack of foresight.
Robotic process automation is based on a new type of software. But will it result in a new type of outsourcer? James Hall, Founder and CEO of Genfour, thinks so. Welcome to the world of the virtual outsourcer.