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Emerging growth areas in the world of outsourcing

Posted on February 26, 2014 by Su Fan in Blog

I had the opportunity to attend The 2014 Outsourcing World Summit which was organized by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) last week in Florida. It was an event that brought together 3 parties – customers who outsource, providers who provide outsourcing services such as Rimhub, and advisors of outsourcing. As a rookie attending the summit, I was excited at the prospect of meeting potential new customers, learning and exchanging ideas with other providers, and hearing thought-leaders from the outsourcing industry speak.

It’s amazing how much we think we know about our business until we attend an event or a social gathering and we are reminded there’s so much more out there that we don’t know! Here are a couple of new and interesting areas in outsourcing that made an impression on me from the summit.

Impact Sourcing is Driving Economic and Business Growth What is impact sourcing? The Rockefeller Foundation, who funds and fosters this initiative, defines impact sourcing as intentionally employing people who have limited opportunity for sustainable employment, often in low-income areas, to mutually benefit all parties. There are dozens of organizations who are doing this today in the rural areas of India, Nepal, Laos, Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and South Africa. The work that is being done isn’t manual labor or manufacturing but technical jobs involving digitizing images and data processing. Studies have shown that impact sourcing provides social and economic benefits for the poor in these regions. Corporations who are customers of impact sourcing, including Google and Walmart, benefit from spending less when compared to outsourcing to urban Business Process Outsourcing Centers (BPOs).

Rise in Legal Services Outsourcing (LSO) As the name implies, LSO is the practice of procuring legal services from an external provider. The types of legal services being outsourced include, but are not limited to, contract reviews, due diligence, research, and legal project management. The availability of offshore qualified lawyers is daunting. Who knew there are over 100K lawyers in the UK and 1M+ in India? While the primary driver for outsourcing legal work is cost savings (30%-50%), enterprises are benefiting from other outcomes including improved quality of service, increased delivery speed which spurs competition, and the ability to focus in-house lawyers on strategic work. In 2008, the American Bar Association agreed that offshore LSO was a salutary practice for a globalized economy. LSO is currently a $3B industry and will continue to grow.

Global outsourcing has been around for about 20 years, yet there continues to be a stigma about outsourcing. Too many think of outsourcing as losing jobs and jobs going overseas. Sometimes that is true, but not always. Outsourcing gives access to skills and talent that aren’t available in-house and it creates tremendous value.

The world economy simply cannot survive without it. However you may look at it, outsourcing will continue to stick around and flourish. Just think of the emergence of impact sourcing and LSO that I’ve shared with you.

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