Rainer Machek is Executive Vice President at SynerTrade, a Germany-based global provider of digital procurement solutions. We caught up with Rainer at a recent Sourcing Industry Group (SIG) Global Summit to find out a bit more about his organisation and the role it plays in the market, and to get his take on some of the key trends driving the evolution of the sourcing and procurement space - and why different parts of the world are seeing organisations take very different approaches to solving some of the challenges facing that space today...
Marcos Jimenez is the CEO of the North American division of Softtek, a global IT provider and a leading player in Western Hemisphere nearshoring. We got together with Marcos recently to get his thoughts on trends in the sourcing market, the shifting buyer-supplier relationship, and much more...
Outsource: Marcos, thanks for joining us. Let's start with a big topic: why is the distinction between offshore, onshore and nearshore becoming less important?
Herbert Simon explored the intersection of philosophy, science, politics, economics and a range of other fields and called into question the traditional idea that “economic man” acts rationally. Simon, who was a long-time professor at Carnegie Mellon University, received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1978. Simon’s diverse research ranged across the fields of cognitive psychology, cognitive science, computer science, economics, management, philosophy of science, sociology, and political science; he helped lay the foundation for behavioral economists around the world. He died in 2001.
Many US companies have turned to outsourcing their software development to get quality software that supports innovation, generates revenue, and grows their business while benefitting the US economy. However, current US political discussions raise concerns about offshored jobs.
From customer-facing artificial intelligence systems, to cloud-based applications that have created the digital gig economy, or mobile-based banking systems that facilitate fast payments, in recent years a number of industry sectors have been challenged by the development of digital and data-based technologies by start–ups. These technologies promise to transform every organisation's relationship with its customers and introduce unprecedented levels of efficiency within its business.
Businesses have never faced such complex political, economic, social and digital forces as they do today. For example:
Over in Silicon Valley, the latest battle for technological dominance is on. On the one hand, you have apps. Apps have been with us for nearly ten years, but 2016 marked the first year that mobile internet use overtook desktop internet use. This trend, which shows no sign of slowing down, puts apps on the front page of the internet — so to speak.
Depending on your business sector, the department you work in or your job function, innovation means different things to different people. Procurement professionals may view innovation as a long-term strategy, given the tremendous potential for delivering efficiencies and cost savings over time, while other business functions may see it differently. Their interest might be focused on enhancing performance and processes, delivering slicker workflows or increased speed to market.
In a maturing market, buyers are becoming increasingly aware that the umbrella term “intelligent automation” comprises a broad spectrum of functionality, ranging from teachable bots that execute repeatable and scripted tasks, to more advanced cognitive tools that apply pattern recognition and language processing capabilities to analyse data, make decisions and learn from experience.
Over the past two decades, networking has been severely limited: it simply could not keep up with new demands from businesses in an increasingly digital world. However, that is all about to change thanks to the creation of software-defined networking, or SDN. Part of an ongoing wave of “virtualisation” in the IT industry, SDN allows people (particularly businesses with large IT systems) to control network behaviour through a handy piece of software, instead of having to go into the network infrastructure and alter things manually.