An excellent meeting of the Intelligent Sourcing dining club took place in London last night with senior decision makers from numerous BPOs and other businesses. Before we go any further we should thank our host, Kofax, and our speakers from the Ember Group and the major user who, under our usual Chatham House Rule, we won’t name.
Ember offered a number of insights. Although Intelligent Sourcing has heard a lot about contract durations going down (reasonably enough, how can someone commit now to use technology for seven years when it may have been superseded by 2020?) but the Ember Group found they were going up. There were caveats about outsourcing companies increasing their influence in a client company, although this was offset by the idea that the right third party with genuine expertise could offer genuine value.
Certainly your editor had one of those punch-the-air moments when the user in the room confirmed that his business hadn’t been using robotics as a cost saving measure but to innovate and improve the lives of the employees. We have been saying for some time that outsourcing at its best isn’t all about reducing headcount. Instead, this user had taken away a lot of cutting and pasting from employees’ daily lives and left that to automation; the number of staff didn’t change, instead the time was deployed on stimulating tasks people actually enjoyed, while productivity went through the roof.
You might find we end up using that Kofax client as an example quite often – at its best, transforming an organisation’s capacity and enhancing its employees’ quality of life is exactly what robotic process automation (RPA) is capable of.
Kofax rounded the event off with some insights into the need to scale RPA if it is to reach its full potential, and how this actually means finding the right RPA partner to make it work. The discussion that followed was lively and open. There will be a further brief report in the forthcoming winter issue of Intelligent Sourcing, to which we’re putting the finishing touches now; subscribers can expect to see it within a couple of weeks.