One of the most famous figures in the global outsourcing arena, Kate Vitasek is also – not coincidentally – one of Outsource’s most popular contributors, having graced our pages with both her regular column (examining lessons to be learnt by the sourcing and outsourcing community from renowned academics and thought leaders from elsewhere in business) and standalone articles for over five years.
Levels of concern in business appear to be rising, as the date for the roll out of the new EU Data Protection regulations, known as GDPR, was announced (May 25, 2018, by the way). Social media were alight with comment and speculation and many people were questioning if a potential Brexit could impact the uptake of the regulations in the UK. The bottom line is, we have our own Data Protection Act, which will remain and it is not possible to rule out the adoption of best practice guidelines, regardless of any potential Brexit outcome.
The data and cyber regulatory regime in the EU – which includes, for the time being at least, the UK – is undergoing a very significant shake-up. The new General Data Protection Regulation which will come into force on 25 May 2018 will bring a number of new measures into play such as much increased fines (up to the higher of 4% of annual worldwide turnover or 20 million euros, in some cases) and mandatory reporting of most data security breaches.
It seems like there isn’t a day which goes by at the moment without a new robotic invention in the news, with promises around how these inventions will not only revolutionise our lives, but threaten our jobs.
In the outsourcing sector robots are most definitely on the way, or in some cases, already here. And it is, therefore, vital that businesses operating in this sector seriously consider how some robotic processes can enhance their operations – there’s no doubt competitors are also considering the same issue.
Almost twenty years ago, my son responded to the ubiquitous inquiry “What do you want to be when you grow up?” His interlocutor was his Italian godfather (the Milanese not the Sopranos variety). There were certain implicit cultural expectations about the response, the godfather being both a lawyer, an aristocrat and an exceptionally cultured Renaissance-man: doctor, lawyer at one end of the spectrum, bookended by painter, composer at the other with the (yes, stereotypical) accommodation to age and gender of train driver somewhere in-between.
Another rainy trip up north, I thought to myself, turning on the windshield wipers. A recent phone call from Anne, the head of global purchasing, requesting my participation in reviewing some ideas to build stronger partnerships with their inside-outsourcing service providers (IOSPs), was the reason for the trip. Over my forty years as an IOSP, I’d become very cynical and prejudicial towards purchasing departments. As an IOSP to the auto industry, I’d witnessed countless purchasing initiatives resulting in bankrupting IOSPs due to a complete lack of foresight.
Robotic process automation is based on a new type of software. But will it result in a new type of outsourcer? James Hall, Founder and CEO of Genfour, thinks so. Welcome to the world of the virtual outsourcer.
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We’re all familiar with the original Seven Wonders of the World, those marvels including the Great Pyramid and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon brought together as a kind of travelers’ bucket list for the ancients; probably far fewer readers, however, may be aware that there exists a parallel list of splendours enticing tourists from the global outsourcing community – and that in the spirit of adding value which permeates this space, this list numbers not a measly seven but a princely ten jaw-dropping wonders to visit, look upon and contemplate with awe.
Offshore outsourcing is controversial. No news there. For over 15 years customers have been moving services offshore as part of their global souring strategy. In the early ’00s businesses couldn’t offshore quick enough. Opponents of offshoring frequently quote the loss of domestic jobs, damage to economies, poor communication and quality, while proponents insist it facilitates competition and actually makes economies more efficient. But amid the furore, there is a rise in organisations returning from offshore.
The third Wednesday of every month – specifically, at 3pm UK time – is rapidly becoming a regular high point on my personal schedule – “Why?”, I hear you ask (the NSA have lent me some really cool eavesdropping kit…).
In so many ways the business world is smaller and more accessible in the modern era – a place where even tiny online companies can trade globally, where people travel for work as a matter of routine and where businesses become international by outsourcing tasks across all seven continents.
In April we celebrated Earth Day, “a movement that continues to inspire, challenge ideas, ignite passion and motivate people to action.” With the environment in mind, it seems fitting to address the realities of a paperless office, and how we can utilise automated technology to reduce waste paper.
“Eat or be eaten” – for centuries, this “law of the jungle” was the law of the business world, too. Beating the competition delivered power, money and influence. From the Square Mile to Wall Street, survival of the fittest meant there was only room for one victor at the top. The digital revolution changed this. Measuring success in today’s business world is no longer by the job or task performed for money. We value successful leaders for their contributions to the world as a whole and the manner of its making. What we do and how we do it matters.