The sourcing world is changing fast, embracing new technology and ideas while transforming business models. 2017 will be another twelve months of evolution in the industry. Sourcingfocus.com has been asking what people predict for the industry in 2017.
“Organisations will be forced to think more radically about how they source services for their organisations. The blistering pace of technologically driven change means that the status quo that has been accepted for many years will now be challenged. The digital and automation revolution will continue to accelerate and impact more organisations in more significant ways.
In practice this means long standing outsourcing arrangements changing – outsource to in-house, in-house to outsource, changes in 3rd party supplier – with a view to transforming the capability of organisations. Decision makers who in the past often extended contracts as the most risk averse choice will now need to bite the bullet and change to alternative suppliers. The will expose poor Exit planning and inadequate knowledge management processes and systems.
For some organisations 2017 will be a year where that take off, for others it will be the year they start their terminal decline.” said Chris Halward, Global Standards Director of the Global Sourcing Association.
“2017 will continue to see an expansion of cloud and digital transformation initiatives. Many deals which might historically have been done as a form of outsourcing transaction will instead be recrafted as a cloud services arrangement” says Kit Burden of law firm DLA Piper.
Movement towards the cloud and digital services will continue to transform not just business life but home life as well. The introduction of technologies that utilise the cloud into all aspects of our lives is on the rise with devices such as Amazon’s Alexa a key example.
“Process standardisation through the cloud may be the single most important element for CFOs to put into action. The agility, dynamism and standardisation of cloud-based applications give companies the means to continually innovate, a competitive necessity in a business world that is constantly changing” says Andy Bottrill, Regional Vice President of BlackLine.
Benson Schliesser of Brocade says “Research into machine learning (ML) algorithms has been advancing for many years, but in 2016 we saw it storm onto the mainstream stage. ML algorithms can now be trained on all sorts of data, thanks to the availability of high-powered processors, “big data” collection architectures, and open source software implementations. And in 2017 we will continue to see ML expand in importance as a fundamental technology driving innovation in every industry.”
Robotics and AI also feature heavily in predictions for the industry in 2017. “AI has gradually been creeping into the business landscape for a couple of years now. In 2017 there will be a noticeable shift towards a broader incorporation of the technology. The latest robots have the ability to learn how to complete multiple jobs, so they can be plugged in practically anywhere along the supply chain” says Wendy Kent, COO at Matrix.
“The impact that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will have on sourcing in 2017 should not be underestimated. According to intelligence firm, Research and Markets, the global RPA market is expected to reach $8.75 billion by 2024 (up from $0.183 billion in 2013), as companies increasingly scramble to take advantage of the enhanced accuracy, cost savings and scalability that RPA promises to deliver” notes Laurie Padua, Director of Technology and Operations Consulting, Alexander Mann Solutions.
The GSA is running a ‘How to make RPA and AI work’ workshop in London on 22/02/2017. Click here to find out more.
“Customer service has become an integral part of creating a successful brand and, as a result, many companies are placing customer experience at the heart of their business. This means that we have seen a shift in the relationship between brands and third-party BPOs. Rather than acting as an external service provider, BPOs now work closely with their customers to becoming a truly collaborative partner – one that can transform business processes and introduce innovation to better serve the company and customers. It is likely that this close collaboration will continue in 2017 and beyond.” says David Potter, SVP – Business Development at Firstsource Solutions.
Tom Kemp, CEO of Centrify notes how cyber security will change over 2017. “In 2017, we’ll see a renewed effort by government regulators to accelerate the implementation of security technologies. Ignoring the regulations or inching toward adherence will no longer be acceptable. Extensive progress will be expected – and required.”
“Brexit has brought upon many uncertainties to European outsourcing, especially in relation to IT staff augmentation. Ultimately, it depends on what trade and immigration agreements are made between the UK and other EU countries. If they remain similar to the current EU agreements, then the level of skills provided by non-UK EU workers will remain broadly the same. However, if EU workers have to re-apply for visas or are limited in numbers, this is when we will see a massive skills gap develop” says Robert Barbus, Operations Director of Soitron Group on the future of Britain outside the EU.