Of all the jargon and buzzwords beloved of IT professionals - "the cloud", "SaaS", "web 2.0" and an infinity of others - "Big Data" is the most alluringly easy to misunderstand. Whilst big data systems do entail a large volume of data, the real benefits come from the speed (or 'velocity') of accumulation, and the array of different types of data (or 'variety') that are collected and analysed. Sources might be traditional databases, GPS logs, social media feeds, photos, video and other mixed media inputs.
HR is one of the most commonly outsourced functions, as it involves both complex and time-consuming tasks. Outsourcing HR services can have a positive impact on an organisation, effectively saving money whilst simultaneously increasing the quality and efficiency of the company’s HR and payroll. Outsourcing results in more final output but requires lower input costs than in-house HR. Maintaining an in-house HR team and payroll function incurs a number of financial costs.
The basis upon which European businesses are able to send personal data outside of Europe - and, especially, to the United States - has recently been the subject of intense scrutiny and negotiation between the EU Justice Commissioner and the US Department of Commerce. The outcome seems to be that EU businesses are allowed to send data to the US, but it's useful to understand the background and what has been agreed. Two very different things set the backdrop to last week's EU/US agreement.
Automation is unquestionably the flavour of the month in business chatter today. Robotic process automation (RPA), and a storm of other smart automation approaches like Artificial Intelligence, are being pitched and perceived as the NEXT BIG THING, akin to the emergence of outsourcing some 30 years ago, and offshoring 15 years ago.
Anyone with even a passing interest in technology will be well used to the claim that a particular IT system – some combination of hardware and software – is "clever technology". Similarly, synonyms for intelligence have been appended as a prefix or suffix by every IT vendor’s marketing department to add an extra sparkle to their latest technology. As consumers we are living in a world of smartphones, smartwatches, smartTVs and smart kitchen appliances, and the enterprise customer is no less able to buy any number of “intelligent”, “smart” or “cognitive” systems.
Across all sectors of the UK economy, consumer-facing businesses are finding themselves caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, consumer expectations are inexorably rising; driven ever higher by rapidly evolving technologies and an ‘at your fingertips’ service culture. At the same time, however, the hangover of the recession together with competitive markets means businesses continue to squeeze more out of fixed (or more likely, reduced) budgets. The transport sector is no different.
Pulling into the snowy parking lot and contemplating today's meeting, my mind wandered to a line from Michael Margolis, the CEO of Get Storied, "If you want to understand the culture, listen to the stories; if you want to change the culture, change the stories." Carl, the site manager of Excel, the inside-outsourcing service provider at this motorcycle plant, had called a few weeks back and enticed me to visit by stating, "I have a great story for you." It was 5 a.m. as I stepped out of my car and headed to the employee entrance.
We’ve just published the latest Outsourcing Index from Information Services Group (ISG) (which measures commercial outsourcing contracts with an annual contract value (ACV) of €4 million or more), and found that the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region posted a strong finish to the year, with annual contract value (ACV) rising 17 per cent in the fourth quarter, to $3.1 billion, fuelled by the signing of five mega-relationships. It was only the third time ever that the region surpassed €3 billion in ACV in a quarter, and the first time since the third quarter of 2012.
There is a significant shift in customer experience management in Europe as more brands shun traditional offshoring destinations in favour of customer contact centres closer to their customers. In an increasingly competitive global market, organisations are seeking to boost revenue and profits by strengthening customer relationships and using customer service to gain competitive advantage.
The traditional view of outsourcing has tended to see cost reduction as one of the primary drivers for any customer. The idea that the 'total cost of ownership' of a particular business function over the term of the outsourcing contract should be lower is very often part of the business case. Similarly, seeing outsourcing as a means of transforming a collection of assets on the balance sheet into a recurring service charge, and reducing (or at least apparently reducing) capital costs is another common refrain at the outset of deals.