I am always taken with counter-trend ideas and wanted to share some thinking I have been developing during the past few months.
We have matured beyond seeing outsourcing as the “silver bullet” that we – or at least our CEO and CFO colleagues – believe it to be. In my work with colleagues on our forthcoming outsourcing report, it is clear there is a new level of maturity connected to sourcing and a growing awareness of the associated governance challenges.
Yet the prevailing orthodoxy still seems to suggest that to outsource is to transform; using external provision to drive change has to be the right approach. After all, the supposed benefits are well-rehearsed:
- Outsourcing gives you access to economies of scale
- It gives you access to flexibility, no employee contracts and by-passes the need to communicate with unions
- External provision gives access to expertise, best-in-class processes and technology, that you may not have been able to attract and retain for your own organisation
- You can share the cost of technology refresh with the industry, without having to charge to your own organisation’s profit and loss (P&L)
- It can help with the details of financing, moving spend from capex to opex
- External provision reduces the leadership challenges of having a large organisation and enables you to focus on the key activities of your senior colleagues
But despite the well-rehearsed benefits of outsourcing, might there be another way; a method that does not tie you down or lock you in, that keeps all your precious customer data in-house, and that frees you to innovate?
Most importantly, is there a means to learn and develop as individuals, and as an organisation? Is there a method that removes all the boundary management resource issues, and all those unhelpful drivers of a separate P&L?
Such an alterative would certainly help In Europe, where money continues to be tight and uncertainty still prevails, and the idea of committing to long-term projects is anathema. So, what if we took the established service catalogue approach and really implemented the model thoroughly? Such an approach might enable a breakthrough. At this stage, my thinking suggests: