Information Technology (IT)
The rise of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is nothing short of spectacular. It has captivated the attention of digital operations executives with the promise of cost-savings beyond labor arbitrage, cost avoidance by extending the life of legacy IT, quicker implementation than traditional IT projects, business-user friendliness, auditability and compliance, straight through processing, and let’s be honest – terrific marketing.
This time last year I wrote in these pages about the year ahead for outsourcing. The key trend I focused on was an increase in partnership with clients and suppliers getting much closer—and that seems to have taken place throughout 2017. One major driver for this has been the change in how consumers become aware of a product and then convert into customers...what marketing professionals call the ‘customer journey.’ Think for a moment about the classic customer journey.
Measuring the value of an outsourcing company for your own service requirements can be a surprisingly disorienting task to complete. But beyond its complexity, it also involves a lot of responsibility. Your decision is likely to affect your organisation’s strength and efficiency for the upcoming months, if not years. Making a good choice will mean the right level of support that will help your organisation grow. But selecting a wrong partner can be highly detrimental to the health of your business.
Last week, Delta Air Lines faced a technical hitch. On the surface it wasn’t an enormous problem - a power outage at their Atlanta data centre caused a switchgear to fail (like a circuit breaker in your home). However, the backup systems didn’t come online correctly and the failure of this one piece of equipment then caused a complete shutdown of the Delta IT systems globally.
Budgeting for IT has always been an uphill battle, with the boardroom tending to try and cut back on spending whenever possible, despite a driving desire for the competitive advantage strong tech investment brings. This is especially true for cybersecurity, which has always been hobbled by the difficulty in proving its day-to-day value. It’s only when an attempted attack occurs that the value of security investment overtakes the “it won’t happen to us” mentality.
Data and analytics are fundamentally redefining applications today. In our daily lives, we use technology to help us make virtually every decision. And when you look at consumer applications—the Amazons, Netflixes, and Facebooks of the world—they’re all centred on data. You might not think of them as analytics applications that serve up a wealth of data to inform decisions, because the information is wrapped up in really slick user experiences. But in fact, they provide analytics information to you where you need it most.
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?