Outsource: So, Eleanor, welcome on board – at last! You are of course already a well-known figure in the space – and more familiar now to the SIG audience following your appearance at last month’s SIG Summit in Florida – but for those few of our readers to whom you’re still an unknown quantity, could you give us a bit of background on who you are and your career thus far?
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 got off to a strong start in 2016, with double-digit growth in both contract value and volume, reaching €2.25 billion in the first quarter, an increase of 19 per cent over the same period in 2015.
As many of you know, in 2014 Outsource entered into a partnership with KPMG to produce the GBS Roadmap series of conferences focused on Global Business Services (GBS); these events (the first two of which took place last year in Stockholm and Amsterdam respectively) cater both to delegates looking to develop and implement a GBS strategy and to those already operating GBS who are now seeking ways to mature these established environments.
Last week I had the great and highly enjoyable privilege of hosting a webinar given by Jeff Seabloom, Alsbridge’s Chief Revenue Officer, entitled ‘A 360-Degree View of IT: Six Key Questions’.
Over the last month, British businesses have been bombarded with other people’s opinions. In the outsourcing industry, this is quite normal: everyone and their dog has a strong opinion on how outsourcing companies should and shouldn’t operate. But this time, we’re being told that our businesses are on the line because of a vote.
The Commercial Court ruling in BT Cornwall Limited v Cornwall Council and Others is a sharp reminder that if an outsourced service provider does not provide the service it has promised to provide, to the standard it has promised, it should not expect the customer to allow the contract, however large and multi-faceted, to continue. Put another way, the customer is almost always right.
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.
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.”
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.