Wow! Isn’t it amazing how quickly things change? In the early 2000s, the very pinnacle of outsourcing was Walmart. Walmart didn’t outsource its own operations. Instead, it made history by working with offshore suppliers, introducing American consumers to low-cost Chinese goods. Consumers fell in love with the low prices, and Walmart grew to 14,000 stores, becoming the biggest corporation in America.
There always seems to be plenty of commentary around what’s driving innovation and growth in both large enterprises and startups. By comparison, the mid-market seems slightly neglected; this seems an oversight given the crucial role it plays in the UK economy. Although this market segment represents just 1% of UK firms, medium-sized businesses are increasing revenues by an average of 6.7% each year and the mid-market is expected to boost the economy by 18% over the next five years.
Little more than a week into his presidency, and Donald Trump has already taken plenty of steps to ensure that anyone hoping or fearing that his more aggressively populist pre-election promises were merely vote-summoning rallying cries that would be forgotten were he to be elected will have their doubts dispelled.
Kit Cox is the founder and CEO of UK-based BPO software company Enate, and a long-time observer of and commentator upon the international outsourcing space. He's also, now, the latest professional to come under the microscope of our Life Lessons series: we're in your hands, Kit...
What has been the single most significant development to impact your profession or area of business during your career, and why?
Peter Dickinson is a partner at international law firm Mayer Brown and co-leads their global Technology Transactions practice; he's also a hugely respected thought leader and a regular contributor to Outsource, offering insight on a broad range of legal and technological issues. A perfect fit, in other words, for our Life Lessons series: take it away, Peter...
Alejandro - Alex - Camino is the CMO of Mexico-based IT provider Softtek, and a prominent and increasingly influential thought leader in the Western Hemisphere's nearshore sector (including playing a key role in the development and growth of theLatAm Alliance).
Thus far our quest for robotic process automation (RPA) enlightenment has focused on some of the personalities building this emerging industry – from software providers, outsourcers and implementers. Alex Nield is Head of Solution Design for Business Services at Direct Line Group (DLG), and he represents the most important constituency in RPA-land: the small but growing cadre of ‘RPA buyers’. These are the organisations that have actually turned to RPA to transform the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. It is time for Live Wires to get real.
Outsourcing the accounts payable (AP) function has many benefits, in particular enabling organisations to streamline essential operational processes and be more efficient. As with many outsourced functions, AP often requires expertise and technology that necessitate significant capital expenditure if they are to be made available in-house, whereas a third-party specialist will have up-to-date systems and a team of experts experienced in using them.
Risks versus benefits of outsourcing
There is no doubt that cloud, big data and artificial intelligence will be trending in 2017, just as they were in 2016, and will likely be in 2018. These are multi-year endeavours because the true implementation of technologies under these umbrellas have just begun, and challenges - like finding quality resources and better understanding of the technologies to fit into the business use cases - remain.
Ed Hansen is a Partner at Morgan Lewis, and one of the best-known lawyers in the international sourcing and outsourcing space (as well as an occasional contributor to Outsource).