Most industry sectors have digital disruption at the top of their agendas. Whilst the outsourcing industry has much to offer in terms of Digital services it currently has other priorities.

“In the wake of the collapse of the contractor Carillion, it is time to put an end to the rip-off privatisation policies that have done serious damage to out public services and fleeced the public of billions of pounds. This is a watershed moment. Across the public sector the outsource first dogma has wreaked havoc.” Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Opposition.

It is not easy for the outsourcing industry to respond positively to such negative news. Organisations using outsourcers do not always want to reveal to their end customers or competitors that they use out-sourcers, whether it be for IT, logistics, customer service, HR, research and insights etc. Whilst clients, who are outsourcing their services, are reluctant to give consent for outsourcers to publish their out-sourcing achievements the opportunities for outsourcers to communicate success and value are rare; negative stories about the outsourcing industry linger.

How can outsourcers prove their value to stakeholders when they have non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) restricting brand communications? How do they evidence that their customer experience is better than in-house performance? How do they prove their employee engagement is positive? How do they verify their services are compliant by the regulators? How can they share the facts and statistics that prove their benefits are in-line with the market place? The way forward requires industry cohesion.

At the Global Sourcing Association’s (GSA UK) extraordinary meeting on March 26th the invited outsourcing community shared views about better ways of working. The well-structured panel presentations and group discussions were lively and included suggestions of:
• greater focus on project governance
• realistic timetables
• visible drivers of success including KPIs to encourage the right behaviours
• greater deployment of the Global Sourcing Association standards.

Whilst digital disruption is on the agenda of most Boards outsourcers are well placed to advise on what technologies they provide, explaining the risks and demystify high value added digital innovations, such as cloud services, big data, AI, robots, omnichannels and others. The outsourcing industry has much to offer in terms of sourcing technologies, people and business processes. However, if outsourcers are to maintain their industry integrity then they need, like their colleagues in other industries, the opportunities to share with the public what they can and will successfully contribute to the UK’s productivity in 2020 and beyond.

Jo Davies, Director, Davies Hickman Partners. Davies Hickman is a data and insights consultancy. Jo is a member of the BSI committee for Customer Service, ISO committee for Contact Centres and a guest judge for the Institute of Customer Service Awards.