It’s easy to hear a buzz word in the industry and make assumptions. However, what happens when those assumptions prove incorrect? And what happens when those assumptions are the bedrock under which a sourcing contract is being shaped, priced and a customer/service provider relationship is developed?
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.
This week’s column focuses on big thinker Ronald Coase. Coase, a giant of modern economic science and 1991 Nobel laureate helps us understand a key fundamental of business: that business (and outsourcing decisions) are a math problem.
While outsourcing has been in the limelight for some 20 years, various threads of economic thought and research stretching for more than 80 years planted the seeds of modern outsourcing, centering on growth theory, transaction costs, game theory, property rights, deregulation and the nature of the firm.
In ‘The Fog’ ("Mad Men" Season 5, Episode 3), SCDP’s creative director, Don Draper, delivers a memorable line for today’s procurement managers and professionals. After being endlessly nagged over the waste of office supplies, alcohol and time by the company's CFO, Lane Price, Draper levels this profound declaration:
"You came here because we do this better than you. And part of that is letting our creatives be unproductive until they are."
Next up in my series of columns about the great academic thought leaders who were seminal in the development and success of modern outsourcing are two of my favorite game theorists: the mathematician and Nobel laureate John F. Nash, who took economists a step or two beyond Adam Smith with his ideas on game theory and the art of collaborating, or playing together nice, for the win-win; and Robert Axelrod, who verified the beauty of cooperation through his early work with computers to solve a classic game theory behavioral experiment.
Avery W. Katz, professor of law at Columbia Law School, tackles the conundrum of “incomplete” contracts. The challenge? How organizations can fashion a contract that is both economically flexible enough for a business relationship to move forward efficiently and legally secure enough to satisfy the parties’ legal departments.
Outsourcing agreements come to an end, just as do some political treaties.
What can those steering the perils of partition learn from each other? There are few experiences as visceral as the turmoil of politics. As a British citizen, I have taken my part and cast my vote on 23rd June, 2016. The comparison of events since with recently managed outsourcing exits is the source of inspiration for this article.
Know The Rules
Most businesses like to blame failed or protracted negotiations on an inability to reach agreement on the financials, contract terms, legal issues or some other business measure - but after 30 + years of contract negotiations experience, I’ve rarely seen a deal lost on these items. Negotiations are far more likely to falter due to lack of trust, or due to a weak relationship amongst the parties.
The first driverless cars in the UK are now being tested on the streets. “Cognitive robot” Amelia is proving to be a more popular service interface with residents of the London Borough of Enfield than her human predecessors. Technology that was once the preserve of science fiction is now becoming a daily reality. The future is here, ahead of time.