This month’s Academic of Outsourcing tribute goes to Douglass C. North for his work on “new institutional economics.” North – a professor, economist, philosopher and economic historian – was the co-recipient (with Robert Fogel) of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences “for having renewed research in economic history by applying economic theory and quantitative methods in order to explain economic and institutional change.”
We’ve come a long way since the 1955 issue of Fortune which described the ‘successful American executive’ as someone who spent almost no time on politics, drank moderately, and only attended cultural events ‘because they must’. With a businessman in the White House and heads of Fortune 500 companies regularly appearing in the media as trendsetters, opinion formers and pundits, discretion is no longer the better part of valour.
When a business is choosing which company to outsource with, location can often be overlooked in favour of the most appropriate specialist for the project. However, location – and especially proximity - should be a critical part of the decision process. For example, if your company is based in Europe, it will be more difficult to outsource from a provider based in Asia, due to a mixture of time, travel, language, and perhaps cultural differences.
By now everyone knows about outsourcing, the big issue of the 20th century that revolutionized the 21st century. But outsourcing didn’t start in the 20th century. In the 18th and 19th century Europe developed Imperialism, setting up colonies around the world. These colonies provided the language skills and education systems that made offshoring possible.
Technology is meant to make our lives easier, and there are countless options in the world geared towards decreasing the time and effort spent on boring tasks. You might have heard about RPA recently and are wondering why you might want to implement RPA for your company. Even so, you might also be wondering what makes RPA a unique choice for companies looking for ways to increase their efficiency and decrease costs?
Centers of Excellence (CoE) within Robotic Process Automation (RPA) are similar in many ways to other centers of excellence you may be running across your business. Essentially, a CoE is a centralized capability that enables you to perform all functions necessary for implementation and the ongoing operation of an RPA set of initiatives.
With the rapid advancement of automation technology, some are worried that new solutions might supersede the process automation that RPA offers. However, it is not a case of new technology superseding, but rather, complementing and working together with existing RPA capabilities.
This time last year I wrote in these pages about the year ahead for outsourcing. The key trend I focused on was an increase in partnership with clients and suppliers getting much closer—and that seems to have taken place throughout 2017. One major driver for this has been the change in how consumers become aware of a product and then convert into customers...what marketing professionals call the ‘customer journey.’ Think for a moment about the classic customer journey.
This month’s column features big thinker Ronald Dworkin. I like Dworkin because he tackles and integrates major ideas in ethics, morality, equality, justice and the “unity of value.” One of his most famous of many books is entitled Justice for Hedgehogs.
Don’t let the humorous book title fool you; there’s no question that Dworkin is a heavyweight. Dworkin is a Professor of Philosophy and the Frank Henry Sommer Professor of Law at New York University and Emeritus Professor of Jurisprudence at University College London.
In 2017, organisations started to get serious about automation. Research from the wider automation industry has revealed a lot about how businesses are developing and controlling their automation programmes. I was recently at the RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) in BFSI (Banking, Financial Services and Insurance) show in London; here’s a snapshot of the top automation concerns amongst the event attendees I spoke to: