Where Will Outsourcing Head To in 2018?

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. A potential customer would see some advertising or some type of marketing campaign, search for additional information, compare products, eventually make a purchase and possibly follow up with a call or email to the customer service team if they have a problem.

Now this experience is much more complex—the way that customers learn about products and access information has completely changed. A consumer might learn about your products by seeing information on a social network, reading a review site, viewing an online recommendation by a previous customer, receiving an email or any number of other ways. This has also dramatically changed the way that customers purchase products too, with many brands offering online or in-app purchase options.

This dramatic change in consumer behavior has affected outsourcing relationships because it has quickly changed many aspects of business, including how:

  • Brands need to promote their products
  • Brands need to offer an omni-channel experience, so customers can locate information and make purchases in many different ways on different channels
  • All these dramatic supply chain changes affect CRM systems, ERP, stock control and how internal corporate departments like customer service and marketing can function

The rapidly changing nature of how companies are structured has led to a need for deep expertise. Brands that are trying to blend their marketing and customer service function have found that it’s a much easier proposition to do this with a partner that has very deep knowledge of how an omni-channel sales, marketing and service environment can work. This leads to a much closer sense of partnership between the client brand and the suppliers delivering IT, customer service or marketing services. These suppliers have started behaving much more like partners because that’s truly what they are in this modern environment.

I think this trend will continue. We are still in the early days of truly exploiting an omni-channel business environment and most companies are still figuring out the implications for their IT systems, public messaging and customer service processes.

When I think forward to 2018, my natural first step is to see what the suppliers and bloggers are saying, but to be frank, I was a little disappointed in my most recent scan of the 2018 outsourcing trend articles. I identified three trends that are predicted frequently:

  • A renewed skills shortage driving more outsourcing
  • Suppliers focusing more on specific expertise rather than offering an all-around service
  • The price vs. quality debate strongly supporting quality as more important than price

I believe these trends could have been published in any end of year prediction list for the past decade so it’s a surprise to see many business journals just focusing on the same old topics. I believe that in addition to the continuation of the partnership trend I predicted last year, there will be a couple of strong trends—especially in Europe.

1. GDPR: The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be enforced beginning May 25, 2018. This completely changes how companies across Europe can store and work with data. It is the biggest shake-up in how companies can use data since the 1990s and essentially puts power in the hands of the customer. If you cannot tell your customer in clear and simple terms why you want to capture and use their data then you are no longer allowed to capture it – and fines in the millions will hit those who ignore the new rules. Many companies that are scared of the legislation will turn to their partners for assurance that their systems are compliant.

2. Data Analysis and Security: Yet even with the GDPR rules and compliance, there will be a renewed focus on capturing more data on customers, analysing it in much more detail, and creating personal experiences or generating business decisions from this information. This leads to a need for increased security, which, from the perspective of data capture, is covered by a new GDPR-compliant approach. But it more generally needs an entirely new approach to security because this information will sit at the heart of your future business. Once again, this is such a dramatic change in practice and procedures that many will focus on working with trusted partners to get this right.

To some extent, these trends are self-reinforcing. There is a great desire for companies to understand their customers better, which requires more data, more insight and better data analysis. However, this also requires GDPR compliance, and by working with expert suppliers in a close partnership all these business benefits can be safely delivered.

I believe that 2018 will be an exciting year for those in the outsourcing community. Partnerships will be deeper and the expertise that the supplier community has in data analysis, and the management and security of data will be sought out more than ever before.

Source: outsourcemag.com-Where Will Outsourcing Head To in 2018?

CIO: Adaptability essential to modernize IT structure

When Darin Morrow took over as CIO at Cricket Wireless in early 2017, he sought to revolutionize the company’s internal operations by revamping its IT vision.

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Morrow made changes to the technology the company used and how employees collaborated with each other. Communication between business and IT was also essential to Morrow’s tech strategy, especially because aligning departmental goals optimizes customers’ experience, he says.

Morrow said the business benefits were twofold: Streamlining communication about how to improve IT processes ultimately saved the company money, while updated user interfaces enhanced customer satisfaction.

As a result of the changes, Morrow says Cricket’s IT structure defines and continuously improves internal and external business processes. In this CIO Voices Q&A, Morrow explains how bringing a startup mentality to large organizations benefits both business and IT outcomes.

From a CIO strategy standpoint, what are the biggest takeaways from your experiences with implementing changes to Cricket’s IT structure?

Darin Morrow: The biggest changes are preparing the IT structure for the future competition. Building a highly scalable, yet nimble IT structure that can adapt to the ever-changing competition is always the largest challenge. Balancing strategic and tactical goals within the IT environment is key.

Small teams tend to become cohesive much easier than organizations. You constantly have to create small teams that can go fast, but the end-to-end organization must be nimble. To overcome that hurdle, we ‘trade players’ by taking a seasoned member of one team and trading [them for] another team member. This helps each team gain perspective from their decisions on the other team. Understanding the end-to-end architecture is key as well — training and teaching the critical aspects of the business and technology, as well as the reasonable-risk tolerance for each piece.

An additional obstacle is making the correct decision when taking calculated risks. Being nimble does not mean ‘go fast at all costs.’ Customer experience and system stability are key as well. Knowing which reasonable risks to take and how fast we can go is critical.

Anyone at any level can, and is encouraged to, communicate with anyone else across the organization.

Darin MorrowCIO, Cricket Wireless

How do you think implementing a startup mentality can help large organizations continue to be successful businesses in the digital age?

Morrow: Our ability to collaborate and make decisions quickly is critical. This is how we implement the ‘startup’ mentality. We simply get the facts on the table along with our homework and make decisions together. A give and take and partnership between business and technology makes it happen fast.

Why is it important to align departmental goals to optimize customer experience, and what is the CIO’s role in pushing that alignment along?

Morrow: Our goals are not technical; they are business goals. As we improve customers’ experience, simplifying the customer and user interfaces to make it simpler to interact with us, it becomes pure math: The customers are happier and the business saves money. It’s important for my team to know how all our departmental goals have to relate to the business goals and strategy.

Our leadership team here at Cricket shows commitment to transparency and open communications on a regular basis. Anyone at any level can, and is encouraged to, communicate with anyone else across the organization. Hallway meetings are an everyday sight. We purposely avoid communication barriers and constantly work to remove any of them that have been built inadvertently.

What new technologies will be most disruptive to companies’ IT structure and processes in the next few years, and why? How can CIOs tap into these technologies to improve business processes and customer experiences?

Morrow: I believe the most disruptive technology today is the move to open systems, cloud technologies and microservices, along with their continuous integration and continuous deployment. The products will continue to evolve with the internet of things. Consumers have an insatiable appetite to be connected, but even more they want to constantly evolve the way that they are connected and the way that they interface with that connectivity. Making our systems more nimble and adapting to change is key. We must adopt the new technology stack. Gone are the days of buying systems and standing up data centers to house them.

The CIO sets the strategy and the vision for the organization. There is a need to clearly understand our business [and] the business goals, align our IT strategy to achieve those business goals and strategies, as well anticipate the changes in the future. With that vision, we can lay the foundation — whether it be microservices or data driven technologies — that allows us to continue to adapt and be nimble.

How has the increased digitization of business changed the CIO’s role in the typical business? Have they become more involved in business strategy development?

Morrow: At Cricket, technology has always been a partner. In my role, I seek to know the business, not just technology. For me to provide advice about good solutions to meet the business goals, I better know how the business runs and know how my team can achieve or enable that. A CIO in the age of digitization has to understand our customers, the balance sheets, supply chain, marketing, sales operations and everything in between.

Source: searchcio.techtarget.com-CIO: Adaptability essential to modernize IT structure

Robotic Process Automation changing the spectrum of business processing, to witness a CAGR of 33.3%

The global robotic process automation market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 33.3%during this year up to 2023 to reach 2,821.0 USD by 2023. Factors propelling the growth of robotic process automation market include increasing adoption of RPA technology for enterprise scale deployments, implementation at broader scale enabling easy implementation and high return on investment. The report segments the robotic process automation market by solution (interaction solution, automated solution (business process, industry specific, infrastructure automation, others), decision support and management solution) by Process (rule based and knowledge based), by Type (software tools and services), by Application Services (BFSI, healthcare and life sciences, IT & telecom, transaction intelligence, consumer services, others), and by region (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Rest of the world (ROW)). The report studies the global robotic process automation market over the forecast period (2017-2023).

Robotic process automation technology involves application of smart software to perform high-volume, repeatable tasks such as data processing, entry and integration by reducing humans intervention offering quality, reduced time thus, increasing profit margin. Unlike traditional application processing software, robotic automation offers a platform easing the business processes.

Browse full research report with TOC on “Global Robotic Process Automation Market Outlook, Trend and Opportunity Analysis, Competitive Insights, Actionable Segmentation & Forecast 2023”

Key findings from global robotic process automation market

  • The automated solution is accounted to hold for largest share of robotic process automation market in 2016. Further, the infrastructure automation is expected to register high growth rate on account of increasing implementation of RPA technology in shared service organizations such as BPOs
  • Banking financial services and insurance (BFSI) application services is expected to grow at highest rate. The BFSI sector is in continuous effort to reduce the operation cost and increasing profit margins increasing the adoption rate of RPA technology
  • Geographically, North America is the largest market adopting RPA technology in the small and large scale businesses. The growth in the region is primarily due to presence of large players and continuous development of the RPA technology over the past few years
  • The adoption of RPA technology in Asia-Pacific region is set to register high CAGR over the forecast period. The increasing adoption and spending in healthcare, automotive and retail services drives the demand for the implementation of RPA in the region
  • Key players in robotic process automation Market are Peg systems Inc., Blue Prism PLC, Verint System Inc., Xerox Corporation, IBM, Arago Us, Inc., Accenture, Thoughtonomy Ltd., Ipsoft, Inc., Soft motive Ltd. among others.

Robotic Process automation – Alternate to outsourcing

RPA being an emerging technology is being adopted across various business processes across the globe. Robotics process automation (RPA) is a further step to the evolution of business process outsourcing. The technology enables to reduce the cost of operations by reducing requirement of employees to perform high volume rule based task. RPA technology offers companies an alternative to outsourcing and has high impact on reduced cost, making organizations to adopt the technology at high rate and broader scale across the globe.

Robotic Process automation Market – Regional Insight

North America region held the major market share in robotics process automation market. The growth in the region is attributed to adoption of RPA technology at broader scale. Further, the presence of major players in the region propels the growth for the robotics process automation implementation. The implementation of RPA software by small and medium enterprises at higher rate led to an increasing market share in the region. The implementation of RPA software and tools in BFSI sector is increasing rapidly in U.S. increasing the market size in the region. The greater adoption by financial, healthcare, human resource and banking sector drives the growth of RPA market in Asia-Pacific region. Further, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software continues to grow significantly in the Asia-Pacific region, driven by trend opted by enterprises to create more of digital workforce in order to reduce the cost.

About Energias Market Research

Energias Market Research launched with the objective to provide in-depth market analysis, business research solutions, and consultation that is tailored to our client’s specific needs based on our impeccable research methodology.

With a wide range of expertise from various industrial sectors and more than 50 industries that include energy, chemical and materials, information communication technology, semiconductor industries, healthcare and daily consumer goods, etc. We strive to provide our clients with a one-stop solution for all research and consulting needs.

Our comprehensive industry-specific knowledge enables us in creating high quality global research outputs. This wide-range capability differentiates us from our competitors.

Source: globenewswire.com – Robotic Process Automation changing the spectrum of business processing, to witness a CAGR of 33.3%

IT isn’t the holy grail of GDPR – it’s an enabler

The GDPR saga rumbles on, with a degree of GDPR fatigue becoming apparent. IT departments were thrown the challenge of working out what was needed to meet GDPR guidelines as it was thought to be a security issue. It swiftly became apparent it was a people and process issue and not a technology one. So the IT departments passed the buck on to the legal, HR and finance departments. But as companies gain a handle on the policies and procedures they need in place to meet GDPR guidelines, they are now throwing it back over the fence to IT asking how they can help.

There are many IT vendors making many claims as to what IT can do to help with GDPR, but really it’s quite simple. It isn’t a security play; this should be being done already. It’s an enabler to get your processes right. IT departments have some excellent tools that they can deploy to help ensure business processes meet the GDPR guidelines, but the IT department can’t meet GDPR guidelines by itself. Here is a list of IT tools that can help, and indeed will make life simpler in the new GDPR world.

1. Data Discovery Tools

There are data discovery tools that help you understand what data is flowing through your organisation and where it is. These tools can help identify unstructured personal data, but also offer the analytics, tracking and reporting necessary to deliver accountability for file use and security.

2. Mapping Tools

Data mapping may not be an essential requirement of the GDPR, but meeting the requirements of the regulation would be very hard without a clear picture of the lifecycle of personal data in your organisation. Mapping tools allow companies to identify areas where there is a risk to the rights and freedoms of data subjects in order to specify and implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to mitigate the risk. They also allow for ongoing maintenance of data which is important.

3. Encryption Tools

These can be used in a variety of ways to support the guidelines, including protecting data in transit or at rest, providing verification of data integrity and authenticity, and even offering a means of secure destruction. It’s important to keep in mind though, that the encryption may need to be reversible and those responsible for your data must ensure that the technologies selected are appropriate for the formats needed.

4. Protection of Data in Transmission

The guidelines require that organisations implement adequate technical measures to protect personal data during transmission, over and between networks. This is to further protect confidentiality and integrity. You can do this through a combination of network protection (ensuring attackers are unable to intercept data) and encryption (to render the data unintelligible). Controls could include the use of virtual private network (VPN) solutions, disabling insecure protocols, supporting strong protocols and even private point-to-point connections between data centres.

5. Hosted Solutions

For smaller organisations the use of hosted solutions give access to high level security tools, thereby supporting their efforts to comply with the secure processing requirements of the GDPR. These could include robust firewalls, enterprise quality antivirus and web filtering, encryption of emails and management of all endpoints. By outsourcing the storage, backups, security, and processing of data, and provided they meet the requirements for appointing a data processor, organisations are able to significantly reduce their compliance burden.

6. Data Visualisation Tools

With companies generating more and more data, year on year, effective data management i.e. the use of architectures, policies and procedures to manage the information lifecycle needs of organisations, is becoming increasingly challenging. Data visualisation tools that are simple to use can help organisations uncover what personal data is hidden, identify risks, and accurately classify all personal data, providing the intelligence to demonstrate many obligations for GDPR compliance.

7. Monitoring Tools

No later than 72 hours after having become aware of a data breach your company must notify the supervisory authority (ICO). With the time involved in detecting a breach currently being measured in months, this requirement presents a significant challenge to companies. But there are IT tools that monitor and log activity, and create alerts when anomalous events are detected, and support reporting both for the purpose of breach notification and continuous improvement.

8. Retrieval of Data Tools

Under the new guidelines, organisations should be able to locate and retrieve personal data at the request of the data subject. Tools that support the effective retrieval of data from systems in common machine-readable formats should be used, in order to minimise the overheads that might be incurred as individuals exercise their rights.

9. Disposal of data and IT equipment

Your organisation needs to be able to clean and dispose of data and IT equipment previously used for the processing of personal data to ensure permanent erasure, for example, through the use of electronic file shredding programmes.

10. Robotic Process Automation

Finally, companies might also like to consider using robotic process automation if they aren’t already, as this is an effective way of helping to maintain compliance. RPA ensures greater accuracy of processing, and thereby compliance by removing human error. It also ensures greater security of data and information. RPA can be used to improve compliance and security in many areas including, HR, legal, finance and IT.

Technology is a great enabler for the correct use of information within a company’s business processes. IT will help find the information, sort it, store it correctly and put security around it, and then ensure it is deleted correctly when a business no longer requires it, helping you meet your GDPR requirements.

Source: itproportal.com-IT isn’t the holy grail of GDPR – it’s an enabler

Disrupt, transform or die. It’s time to enjoy the digital ride

The digital future is here. People used to watch movies like Minority Report or Tron and wonder when the day would come. Unfortunately society is not yet able to prevent crime before it happens, but society is not far away from the billboards in a shopping centre stalking us with their adverts. Someone only needs to look at my phone or a watch, and the world of targeted advertising is right there in front of you, and the goods can arrive at a person’s door within hours.

Technology comes of age

Virtual reality flopped in the nineties because it failed to live up to our expectations. Like many technologies at the time, the things we wanted technology to do for us were still quite a few steps behind what was really possible. Fast-forward twenty years and the tables have turned. For perhaps the first time since the industrial revolution, the rate of technological change is outpacing our ability to keep up.

Virtual reality now possesses the functionality to match the hype, and yet we’re only just scratching the surface of its potential. Meanwhile the rise of technologies like mobile, AI, machine learning and robot process automation is posing fundamental questions about technology’s role in both society and in the workplace.

Disruptors race ahead, but road-bumps are slowing them down

Leading the digital race at the moment are the disruptors. As an entrepreneur armed with great ideas, some investment, an innovative culture and an army of millennial talent, you’re well-positioned to ride the digital wave and make hay while the sun shines. However, traditional companies and the powers that be are not quite ready to roll over and give up their control just yet, so expect road bumps ahead.

A case in point is the decision by TfL to suspend Uber’s licence in London. Uber’s problems are many and well-document, but chief among them is that it burst onto the scene at such speed and with such an immediate challenge to the status quo that the regulatory framework to accommodate it just didn’t exist.

Banning Uber from operating in the Capital has been framed as a public safety issue. But it is also designed to give the powers that be time to get their heads around how to integrate this young upstart into an established regulatory framework. In these situations, a few grey hairs may be required to navigate and influence the regulatory and political landscape.

Enterprises ride two-speed, given their shaky foundations

Challenges are also evident at the enterprise level, but theirs are somewhat different. They also see the potential and technologies including AI and robotic process automation are high on the agenda. Organisations are looking at ways to connect with their customers or engage their employees in new ways, while reducing operational costs and increasing efficiency.

But these technologies can only go as fast the capabilities that underpin them. A major part of the challenge is integrating the vast accumulated legacy landscape of applications and systems that must also be maintained, nursed, and supported, before innovation can even be considered.

Organisations are not blind to this issue. According to a recent report we commissioned, 88% of senior IT decision makers agree that modernised IT systems are critical to addressing the emerging requirements of the digital business. And yet according to the same study, just 33% of technology in large enterprises is optimised. Until that situation changes, the art of the possible will remain beyond the grasp of what is practical and doable.

Addressing the skills gap isn’t just about new talent

Even among those businesses who have modernised their IT infrastructure, there are a whole new set of challenges to overcome, notably a lack of available skills in key areas such as DevOps delivery and agile development.

Demand for IT skills is currently outpacing the worldwide growth in this talent pool. That imbalance will change over time as the greater focus on STEM subjects in schools begins to pay off, and younger, more digitally minded employees enter the workforce. In the meantime, a majority of organisations are looking to specialist services providers.

According to our report, just over half (51%) of all large organisations will look for help to implement robotic process automation, while even more still will rely upon third parties for the added complexities of intelligent (63%) and cognitive (64%) automation.

For organisations to ride the current wave of digital disruption, building the right mix of technology and skills is vital. But if they are truly to make their investments in digital technology count, they need to bring all their employees with them on the journey, new and old.

Augmenting, not replacing the workforce

Open any newspaper today and you will read stories about the rise of the robots and the growing threat to jobs posed by automation. I’m not going to sugar coat this; automation is already starting to replace thousands of low-skilled jobs, and it will eventually replace millions more.

But focusing on short-term job losses alone, is largely to miss a far more important point. Forrester predicts that by 2019, a quarter of all job tasks will be offloaded to software or robots. But according to the same report, these technologies will create a further 14 million jobs in the same period.

The problem is not that robots will steal our jobs in the future: it is that humans have been wasting their faculties on tedious tasks that are much better performed by artificial intelligence or software, such as rekeying data or answering routine queries.

Digitalisation offers organisations the opportunity to re-evaluate, re-skill and re-deploy the workforce to tasks that are more fulfilling, more sustainable and ultimately of more value in the long-term. Indeed, our own research found that more than half of global business leaders are confident that IA will augment the human workforce rather than replace existing roles.

Whatever you do, don’t get caught standing still

The pace at which traditional structures are being challenged has some people spooked. A standard response in this type of situation is either to try and slow things down or stop entirely. But organisations that understand the importance of digital transformation to their future relevance know that stasis is the kiss of death.

While others are scratching their heads and wondering what to do, the smartest organisations are putting the infrastructures in place to help manage change so that they can begin to explore the more fundamental questions of how to remain relevant in a digital world. ]They are putting one foot in front of the other, setting out a vision for the future and planning the journey ahead. For those that have made this transition, digitalisation is opening up endless possibilities for organisations in every sector. It’s time to jump onboard and enjoy the ride.

Source: information-age.com-Disrupt, transform or die. It’s time to enjoy the digital ride

Outsourcing DevOps? Here’s What to Look For – DevOps.com

DevOps synthesizes methods, processes and tools with the goal of improving your company’s velocity at which you deploy applications, which serves your customers better. Teams using DevOps best practices and tools to create production software are much faster than organizations using traditional infrastructure management and software development methods. In 2016, RightScale’s “State of the Cloud Report” estimated that 70 percent of SMBs were adopting DevOps methods. Every indication is that percentage has increased.

For companies that already understand the value of software development outsourcing, partnering with a capable outsourcing vendor for DevOps is a natural next step. For companies who want to embrace the benefits of DevOps but haven’t yet, aligning with a qualified DevOps outsourcing company is really worth considering.

Consideration No. 1: Pick the Right Project

If DevOps is new to your company, or the DevOps partner is new to your company—or both—it’s very important to pick the right project to begin work together. Also, it’s possible that the project you target will influence the selection of your DevOps outsourcing partner.

Here are some questions you may want to use in selecting the right project:

This question…. is important because… Which software, if successful, will show the clearest benefit (i.e.: ROI) to the company? Software with clear business benefit will generally get better buy-in from the user community, and higher quality participation. Which software has the clearest goals and scope of work? It’s always easier to achieve the goal, when the goal is clear. Do any projects require the use of new, unproven technology? Unfamiliar technology can be a dangerous variable in your work and risk estimates. How many other systems will the newly completed software need to integrate with? Integration testing is time-consuming and requires a high levels of coordination. Which projects are expected to have the longest duration? Unforeseen variables naturally occur in long running projects — personnel changes, other business distractions, loss of momentum, etc. Which projects are expected to require the largest number of participants? More people involved equals more complexity. What employees (IT and business stakeholders) will be part of the projects? DevOps requires good collaboration and speed. IT and business area participants must be able to fulfill their roles accordingly.

Consideration No. 2: Vendor Communication

In selecting the right outsourcing DevOps partner, the ability to communicate well is one of the most important considerations. A partner who communicates poorly can derail a relationship that has all the right methods and tools in place for success. design iterations and project sprints simply cannot happen if your outsourcing partner lacks the proper communication skills. Conversely, an outsourcing vendor who is truly acting like a partner in the relationship, communicating well and often, can help you overcome any number of unforeseen issues along the way.

Evaluate how well prospective vendors respond to your due diligence questions. Their responses could tell you a lot about how they’ll interact with you during the project. Are they clear? Do they interact in professional ways, or does it seem a bit random and disorganized? Are they prompt and timely in their interactions, or are there “black holes of silence”?

If you see evidence of poor communication during the due diligence process, you’ll almost certainly have problems when you’re actually engaged in working together. As you check references, try to determine if other customers experienced problems in communication and interaction—those can pose as red flags when it comes to selecting your vendor.

Consideration No. 3: Vendor Location

Global software development outsourcing is a proven success for many companies. However, you must be attuned to the vendor’s geographic location compared to yours. Would time zone differences be an issue? This may affect the geographic location from which you’ll select your outsourced DevOps team. In a recent survey, one-third of U.S. companies that outsourced to India considered the 10-hour (or more) time difference to be a big challenge. DevOps activities cannot be artificially hampered because of time zone issues. The best DevOps outsourcing companies have a business model that allows U.S. time zone companies to interact easily with the vendor’s “A team” supporting your project. Be wary of companies that assume that all Skype and conference calls will be done off-hours to your normal business day—or plan to have secondary members of their team available during your normal work hours.

Consideration No. 4: Vendor Technical Skills

As you examine a prospective outsourcing DevOps partners technical capabilities, consider these questions:

  • Do they have the relevant skills and tools experience I need?
  • Is this a core competency of the company, or the expertise of a small select few inside the company?
  • How does this company go about attracting new talent with these same skills?
  • What certifications do they hold?

Automation of good process makes it possible to eliminate bottlenecks in the software development cycle, so you can truly “sprint through your Sprints.” Automation tools must be used with consistency by you and your outsourcing DevOps partner. Perform an inventory of the available tools:

  • Will you be able to seamlessly (and automatically) promote code?
  • Can you perform test-driven design?
  • Can you perform test-driven development?
  • Can you easily associate features and fixes with promoted code?
  • How will you perform regression testing?

DevOps teams will have programming language expertise that includes Python, Ruby, PHP and Java. Remember: DevOps means infrastructure as well as applications, so a true DevOps outsourcing company will have employees with expertise in infrastructure-oriented software and tools such as Windows PowerShell, Docker, Puppet, Ansible and SaltStack. You may also want to look for expertise and certifications for networks, databases, and operating systems.

DevOps outsourcing companies should be experienced with the continuous integration (CI) method—the CI tools which support the associated processes. CI tools help merge source code updates from all developers on a specific software build, notifying the team of any failures in the process. Popular CI Tools include CruiseControl, Jenkins, Travis CI, TeamCity and GitLab.

The best partners employ a programming staff that have achieved certifications that are important for your DevOps project needs. In addition to certifications around the tools and language mentioned earlier (such as Puppet Certification, for example), you will want to look for certifications in:

Consideration No. 5: Vendor Commitment to Training

As you evaluate a prospective DevOps outsourcing company, ask yourself: Is continuous training a part of their business model? A good partner invests in their programming staff’s training on a continual basis. We like to see evidence that their programming staff regularly renews their certifications—and the outsourcing company should be actively advocating this.

Consideration No. 6: Vendor Experience and Size

To succeed with DevOps outsourcing, you need a partner who has relevant experience and is a size that complements your company size.

Experience. The ideal DevOps outsourcing team will have experience in your business vertical (example: discrete manufacturing, banking, etc.). It also should have expertise in the system functional area of your target project (e.g. finance, e-business order processing, warehouse management, etc.). Of course, the demonstrable experiences should include work using Agile and DevOps techniques.

Size. The right partner should be neither too large nor too small. The outsourcing company needs a pool of programmers large enough to keep with the intended work pace of your project. Conversely, we caution IT managers to be wary of extremely large outsourcing companies. Your project and company must be “big enough to matter” to the partner you select. If you are seen as too small in terms of the revenue opportunity, the outsourcing company will defer attention and their top talent to larger customers who are more able to influence decision-making.

Source: DevOps.com-Outsourcing DevOps? Here’s What to Look For

Outsourcing: Do You Need to Hire Help, But Aren’t Sure How

Outsourcing can seem daunting. Research reveals that 80% of the companies state cost-cutting as their primary reason for outsourcing. It cites better customer experience, customer retention and scaling as other pressing reasons to outsource. No matter the reason, if you’ve never done it before, you might be at a loss for where to start.

1. Shadow yourself

If you don’t know where to begin when it comes to outsourcing, record what you do during a typical work week. Act as if you were explaining your job to someone brand new. Look at your calendar and think about what you do every day. Once your week begins, write down tasks as you do them, so you remember every step. You might even want to time how long it takes you too. It will help you realize what you do on a regular basis as if you were giving the tasks to an assistant. You’ll also become more aware of what’s on your plate in the first place. Decide what to outsource and what you believe you should be doing.

2. Make a wish list for outsourcing

Once you identify every little thing that you do, decide what to outsource. Use what you jotted down as a wish list. Sift through what you wrote and ask yourself:

  1. Does this task prevent me from making more money? If yes, it may qualify.
  2. Is this a task that I dislike doing? If yes, it’s something to consider.
  3. Does it just make mathematical sense to outsource? If yes, it’s another item to think about handing off.
  4. Can I afford to outsource this right now? The cost will be a significant factor when deciding.

While there might be other factors that come into play, use these questions to help jumpstart the decision-making process.

3. Get quotes

Use social media to ask around. A Facebook group can be a great resource for getting referrals. Whether you need website development, a graphic designer or someone to handle payments, invoicing or bookkeeping in general, Once you state what you are looking for and get recommendations, ask for quotes. You will have to schedule calls and take time out of your schedule to learn more about their services or review proposals that list deliverables and pricing. It also may take a little time to train them in the beginning.

4. Try it out

After taking quotes and choosing what best suits your needs and budget, hire someone and see how it goes. Just be sure to map out an agreement. If you want to try this out, be sure the contract states the duration of time you’d like to work together. Whether you’re hiring a podcast guest booker to promote your book or a financial writer to create content for your blog, you want to be clear about how you will work together. This way, you can see how it goes and later decide if you will continue. I think it’s easier to start small and then hand over more responsibility down the road if the working relationship is a fit.

The Bottom Line

Time and time again you might hear that you should outsource. Though it might seem overwhelming at first, follow the steps above to get started. If it helps you lower costs, scale your business or improves any other part of your business, then it’s well worth it.

Source: Medium-Outsourcing: Do You Need to Hire Help, But Aren’t Sure How

The Battle for Jobs: Staying Relevant in the Robotics Age

With robots potentially as not only your coworkers but also your competition, what capabilities and unique talents are essential to keep your job?

We asked the co-chairs of IAOP’s Global Human Capital Chapter: What skills do humans need to compete with robots?



A recent KPMG white paper titled Rise of the Humans states that automation and robotics will transform jobs according to two main dimensions – Cognitive Automation and Cognitive Processing & Robotic Automation.

The authors said Cognitive Automation changes fall into two main areas: the Leveraged Professional, which enables the people of lesser qualifications to perform at substantially higher levels, e.g., a paralegal giving attorney-level advice, or allowing a lower qualified professional deliver a world-class output. Second is the Connected Worker, which affords everyone in a specific role to access technologies and the best ideas and knowledge on a topic. An example would be surgeons learning the latest techniques from the world leader in a certain surgical procedure.

Cognitive Processing & Robotic Automation also has two areas: Working at the Speed of Thought says that augmented professionals can work faster, more efficiently with much greater throughput and effectiveness, such as delivering better company reporting and analytical judgment making. The Digital Worker describes the use of technologies to replace entire roles and job types. In particular, jobs in front-line and middle-ranking occupations are likely to see the biggest impact. Digital labor can fully replace or work alongside humans – in a call center, for example.

So it begs the question, what are the skills and talents one needs in the future to be a valued and irreplaceable resource? Like all technology, there are limitations. Jobs which require things like empathy, compassion, or those activities where Emotional Intelligence is needed are expected to remain relevant. There have been numerous discussions and research studies performed debating which is better to have, Intellectual Quotient (IQ) versus Emotional Quotient (EQ).

Robotics is not able to replace emotionally driven activities that are involved in some industries and jobs – such as strategists, performance managers, motivators, coaches, teachers, mentors, etc. As a CEO or manager, a computer can help inform you which decisions to make based on the data, but not how to personally connect and motivate employees to entice and inspire action. Those activities and roles will always be there and we should develop our strategic thinking and look at was to strengthen our EQ. Another human characteristic not easily replicated by machines is creativity or ingenuity.

Professions such as musicians, artists benefit from creativity, while many companies and organizations look to a Chief Strategy Officer or strategic arms of their business to develop new innovative ways of doing things to help grow and meet organization’s objectives. There is a movement among millennials to challenge the “status quo” and their ambition in these areas will serve them well in the future.

Lastly, if we think about leveraging the robots themselves as they join the workforce, the technical skills associated with robotics and automation will become increasingly important. Both making these technologies work, and also how to get them to work together with humans will be crucial. There will be a constant need to configure, deploy, redesign and redeploy these in each organization. The ramifications of robotics and automation are significant, but it is nothing we should fear.

While some jobs will be lost, many others will be created. The more quickly we come to understand how these machines will work and how to leverage them to improve each of our individual jobs and realize what tasks we can perform that are unique to humans, the better we are at becoming irreplaceable.


At Accenture, we believe that automation represents an entirely new factor of production that enables people to make more efficient use of their time and do what humans do best – create, imagine and innovate new things. Machines offer strengths and capabilities that are different from – but crucially complementary to – human skills.

Beyond simply eliminating repetitive tasks, automation is supporting humans in complex and creative problem-solving by enabling analysis of dauntingly vast amounts of data and the identification of trends previously impossible to detect. As such, it’s improving the pace and scale of risk analysis and business decision-making at an enterprise level, while enabling employees to achieve significant productivity gains – as much as 30 percent to 40 percent – even in functions that are already automated.

Automation, like any other emerging technology, will change an organization’s demand for specific skills, but it won’t reduce the demand for skilled people.

In the Accenture Technology Vision 2017 companion survey of more than 5400 business and IT executives, 85 percent of executives report they will invest extensively in artificial technology-related technologies over the next three years. So there’s no doubt that as automation and AI adoption continue to rapidly accelerate, so too will the demand for skilled professionals.

Specific skill sets are needed around implementing robotics technology, integrating it with existing systems, and managing change management aspects in order to maximize its business impact. As more advanced capabilities are implemented around the broader constellation of technologies that make up artificial intelligence, skills will also be needed in the areas of computer vision, speech recognition, natural language processing, knowledge representation and reasoning, virtual/augmented reality, machine learning, deep learning, expert systems, biometrics and video analytics in general.

Judgment-based skills and general business acumen to best apply the technology in a broader business context are also needed. Intelligent automation and artificial intelligence feed off data; in fact, they can’t exist without it, so content and data curators, data scientists and analytics experts are also crucial in order for algorithms to learn.

Source: pulsearchives.net-The Battle for Jobs: Staying Relevant in the Robotics Age

Why Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact Sourcing Matter

Everyone’s talking about Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact Sourcing. They’ve been trendy topics in recent years. And yes, we’ve all participated in philanthropic initiatives, whether donating to a charity, volunteering for a fundraiser, getting the staff involved in a cause, running a 5K to support disaster relief, marching in protest, holding a corporate annual food drive, etc.

All of the above are excellent ways to dip our toes in the water of participating in the greater good… and just enough to give each of us the cozies. But these are also just a start.

When it comes to business, buyers want more from the powers that be; they want core value – consistent action and participation. It’s no longer about the quality of a product. Buyers care about society and global issues, and they are zoning in on the organizations proactively supporting these issues. Going forward, customers plan to do business with organizations that weave social responsibility into their entire business models.

It’s no longer about the quality of a product. Buyers care about society and global issues, and they are zoning in on the organizations proactively supporting these issues.

According to a Nielsen survey, two-thirds of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainably made products. Why? Consumers are trying to be responsible inhabitants of the world, and they expect the same from corporations. Therefore, when it comes to buying, they are doing their research – checking labels, searching websites, reading reviews, watching the news and social media outlets.

On that note… customers, through their social media voices—not to mention their wallets—are letting companies know they need to be on the actionable side of key issues… or else. The public expects an “all hands on deck” approach from their providers in working to solve the most pressing social and environmental challenges across the globe. Otherwise, they will take their business to the competition.

Global Impact Sourcing Award

As a long-time supporter of Impact Sourcing and Corporate Social Responsibility, IAOP and several of its leading members have joined with the Rockefeller Foundation and Global Impact Sourcing Coalition (GISC) to raise awareness, share best practices, test models and measure the progress of this socially responsible business practice. Together, IAOP and the Rockefeller Foundation have launched a new award to recognize industry professionals who are leaders in Impact Sourcing and Corporate Social Responsibility. The Global Impact Sourcing Award will be presented annually at the Outsourcing World Summit, starting at OWS18 in Orlando.

Final Thoughts

Buyers are letting organizations know advocacy isn’t about talking the talk; it’s about walking the walk. It’s about the “why” of Corporate Social Responsibility – the fact that CSR should be an essential core value and must become part of the greater business plan.

Promoting social responsibility should simply be part of an organization’s broader business plan. Being a good corporate citizen is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also good for business. Why? It’s simple. Companies that give back—those that genuinely contribute to humanity and are associated with a cause—people want to do business with them. And that is something that can’t – and shouldn’t – be ignored.

Source: iaoppulse.net -Why Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact Sourcing Matter

Is your digital transformation process truly transformative?

Digital transformation is what big data was for organizations just a few short years ago. Everyone is talking about it, and organizations are scrambling to make sure it is a strategic initiative by having some sort of digital transformation process.

Just like big data, the term digital transformation gets its popularity from the size of its potential impact rather than being a new tool for improving operations. Since the first days of robotic automation in manufacturing, people have been using technology to improve and simplify work. Now, we are shifting the use of technology to a wider array of complex work, such as customer interactions, reporting and decision-making.

There are several reasons for this increased attention to digital: the pace of disruptive technology, the need to do more with less, the need to maintain competitive advantage and, above all, the need to be more customer-centric. Though digital tools and technologies significantly affect the way business is conducted, many organizations continue to struggle with them or struggle to put into place a comprehensive and effective digital transformation process.

Why are organizations struggling?

A report on the 2015 global digital business survey conducted by Deloitte and MIT Sloan Management Review said “maturing digital businesses are focused onintegrating digital technologies, such as social, mobile, analytics and cloud, in the service of transforming how their businesses work. Less-mature digital businesses are focused on solving discrete business problems with individual digital technologies.”

The root cause of organizations’ struggles seems to start with a key word — transformation — that often either gets overlooked or misinterpreted. Transformation can be defined as a significant organization-wide change that orients the organization in a new direction. This can include a change in its business or operating model. Transformation, however, is not merely an incremental improvement or transition to a new system or application.

Unfortunately, many organizations are not embarking on transformations. Instead, they are solving discrete business problems with digital technologies. This means they are creating one-off solutions for a single business problem rather than looking at an integrated approach to solve multiple business problems. Because these types of projects have digital components, they get mislabeled as digital transformations.

When this occurs, organizations struggle because the digital transformation process lacks an overarching purpose and plan to tie the efforts together. Ultimately, this lack of an overarching strategy results in confusion among those tasked with execution because they don’t know the following:

  1. What’s in. There are often no parameters or criteria to define what parts of the business need digitization projects or to help scope and prioritize efforts. For example, an organization that wants to use digital technology to improve its finance function will have no guiding criteria to help pinpoint which processes should be automated.
  2. What the right solution is. There are no criteria for determining the fitof the plethora of solutions available. Without clear goals, the organization can’t clearly articulate what features it needs, potentially resulting in overbuying or making expensive modifications afterward.
  3. How the pieces will fit together. There is often no holistic perspective on digital projects to help the organization understand the intersections and interdependencies between projects and the work they are accomplishing. This can result in post-implementation integration projects and add-ons.

How to tell if your efforts are transformational

Understanding the difference between a digital project and digital transformation is easier said than done, especially given that digital transformation should be comprised of interconnected digital projects.



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However, strategy, rather than technology, should be the guiding principle of the digital transformation process. Additionally, digital transformation tends to hinge on two characteristics: a focus on customer experience and its organization-wide impact.

The purpose of digital transformation is creating value, and that includes for the customer’s experience. Hence, organizations not only need to understand their customer’s journey, but must also use the impact on customers as one of the key criteria and measures of their digitization efforts.

The transformative work of an effective digital transformation process requires looking from the outside in, and that includes value chains and cross-functional, end-to-end processes. To ensure organizations stay focused on the end user, digital efforts must help break down operational silos and improve collaboration for managing customer value.

To categorize the initiatives in its digital transformation process, each organization should ask itself these four questions:

  1. What’s the value to the customer? Is the effort focused on creating customer value, and is that value clearly quantified to measure success? If the focus is on the steps and efficiencies of a business process and not on establishing the customer value, it’s not transformational.
  2. Are we changing how we work? Is the initiative going to change how we conduct business or does it simply apply a new technology to how we’ve always done things? As noted earlier, there is often a misconception that digital tools are equivalent to digital transformation.
  3. Who’s involved? Is the effort limited to a specific business silo — e.g., marketing or finance? Because transformations are organization-wide, they are cross-functional by nature.
  4. Why are we doing this? Transformations are focused on changing how the organization conducts business in an effort to create value. If the focus of the effort is solely on cost reduction, then it’s not transformational.

Though only a high-level start, the answers to these questions can help organizations start to clear up some of the confusion around their digital transformation process.

Source: searcherp.techtarget.com-Is your digital transformation process truly transformative?