Daily Archives: November 12, 2014

Procurement Trend #19. Service Providers Excel

Sixteen anti-trends still remain but we again assure you that we are getting to the end of the series and all is ok as LOLCat is still dreaming of his grandfather’s adventures as an archaeologist cat uncovering lost tombs, and waiting for this series that is regurgitating topics of his past lives to fade into history. We will continue to lay bare each and every one of the futurists’ lies, and when we’re done, you’ll be in a better position to learn the truth and seize upon the real trends that lie ahead and the opportunities they contain.

So why do the historians keep pegging service providers excelling as a future trend? Have they spent too much time in the janitors’ closets breathing paint fumes from improperly sealed paint cans while practicing their speeches that no one really wants to hear? Hard to say, but some of the reasons probably include:

  • Outsourced Services are still improving

    in both traditional Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) and non-traditional service sectors.

  • Service Providers are mastering tech faster than their clients

    and often get a lot more experience with a platform in a shorter time frame as they are running projects for multiple clients on that platform.

  • Everything is going out

    because overpriced overly-optimistic consultants have strapped themselves to the outsourcing bandwagon in an effort to make sure that they never fall off.

So what does this mean?

Outsourced Services

Service Providers can often do things better than you, but if they do, you need to adapt or lose control. You don’t want to lose control, because one of your jobs is Supplier Relationship Management. However, at some point during the adaptation, you will, if you are doing it right, become better at managing the process than the outsourced provider, but you will still be locked into a multi-year service agreement. So you will have to transition from learning through managing through teaching. And once the service providers masters your teachings, as they will have more opportunity to practice and perfect, they will again get better than you and the cycle of the student becoming the master and the master becoming the student will continue.

Technology Progression in the Outside World

While this is one of the reasons that service providers outpace you, this is a great learning opportunity for you. Most companies don’t pick the right technology the first time around — and instead implement expensive systems in even more expensive projects that turn out to be massive failures. Then they learn from their mistakes, implement the right technology, and provide you a free lesson on what works if your processes match theirs if you choose to seek it out and learn from it.

Out, Out, and Away

Because your managers are still living two decades in the past where cost reduction was defined as outsourcing, you can, unfortunately, expect more pressure in the organization to not only outsource your tactical work, but to outsource as much tactical work for other departments in the organization as can possibly be outsourced. So you need to either prepare for this, or build the business case as to why the work should stay in and how keeping it in house will either deliver savings or add value.