Automating and Innovating for Outsourcing Success: Big Ideas from the IAOP 2016 Outsourcing World Summit

Posted by Joanne Morrison

Each year, IAOP’s Outsourcing World Summit brings together the best and brightest minds in outsourcing to share experience and ideas that continue to propel the industry forward. This year’s conference February 14–17 at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club in Orlando, Florida, showcased the latest in governance and risk management, innovation, trends, relationships, and disruptive technologies.


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Constant Change Is the Status Quo

The conference kicked off with a keynote address by Scott Steinberg, CEO of TechSavvy, titled “How to Future Proof Yourself, Fearlessly Innovate, and Succeed in the New Normal.” Steinberg defined innovation as attacking problems from a different perspective or viewpoint. While not rocket science, innovation requires the flexibility to create slight shifts in viewpoints and is an ongoing series of reimagining and repositioning. As Steinberg notes, “The beauty of innovation is you don’t have to think big. You can create shifts with small changes.”

Highlighting real-life case examples, Steinberg described how MasterCard has repositioned itself as a technology and innovation company. The company has several internal startups within the organization and runs creative competitions for employees to create new initiatives such as QkR!™, a smartphone payment app that was developed in just 48 hours.

Essential to innovation is the willingness to adopt failure as an acceptable outcome. One of the biggest barriers to innovation is risk tolerance and resistance to change. However, it’s always most important to disrupt, yourself, before your competition does.

Olive, Whiskey, and Cultural Fit

Winning the award for most creative session title is “Why Olive and Whiskey Do Not Mix: Finding Suppliers with the Right Cultural Fit” where Prem Shanker, Senior Buyer at Southwest Airlines, described why cultural fit between buyers and suppliers leads to less friction, increased productivity, and quicker issue resolution. Shanker outlined a four-step process for finding a supplier with the right cultural fit:

  • Assess and verbalize your organization culture.
  • Assess the culture of suppliers you’re evaluating.
  • Conduct a “culture gap” analysis.
  • Evaluate the potential for confluence. In other words, use commonalities to start a dialogue and build supplier relationships.

Are You a Disrupter or a Follower?

In this session, Jeffrey Thrall, Vice President, Client Partner, at Nexient, discussed how to set a technology vision, adopt an innovation framework that works for your business, and then evaluate partners with whom to commit and invest. Thrall advocates for instituting an applied innovation process that includes these steps:

  • Determine the problem, acquire the information, and align the parties.
  • Conduct an innovation summit with the goals of tackling challenges from a non-traditional perspective and building a prioritized pipeline of potential solutions.
  • Create action-oriented output. Capture solutions in a document, prioritize the top three quick hits and continually develop and deploy prototypes.
  • Measure the impact and rationalize or kill the unsuccessful, low-impact prototypes.
  • Rapidly expand successful prototypes into production/marketplace.
  • Ensure you have the right personnel dedicated and the right external partner with these rapid development capabilities.

The IAOP Outsourcing World Summit had much to offer for both buyers and providers of outsourcing services and provided valuable sessions on governance, innovations, trends and future concepts, customer experiences, contracts, and disruptive technologies. The HGS team is already looking forward to next year’s conference.