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Outsourcing has been around for a long time – in the customer contact industry, for some thirty-five years. Throughout this period it has been governed and defined by broadly consistent and well understood drivers, conventions and presumed definitions of success. Yet the digital revolution and the rise of automation (in its various guises as Artificial Intelligence and robotics) has fundamentally changed the outsourcing landscape – what outsourcing can deliver, how it should be contracted and how it should be assessed.

This paper will demonstrate the true potential of outsourcing as the opportunities it offers and the risks it presents have changed dramatically in recent years. As a result, customer management outsourcing practices play an important role in digital channel adoption and business transformation and therefore, in order to maximise the potential of outsourcing, the decision-making process, along with contract design, implementation and governance, needs to change.
The outsourcing decisions or contracts put in place in the past are likely to now be redundant and should be re-assessed. The rise of ‘transformational outsourcing’ has proved that the best outsourced service providers (OSPs) have the ability, not just to replicate their clients’ processes at lower cost, but to transform those processes in order to deliver real and beneficial change – even shifting the contractual responsibility for the acceleration of innovation and new technologies from the client to the OSP. However, this demands a new type of outsourcing relationship in which the client expects the OSP to introduce new technologies, processes and customer engagement approaches.
This is a long way from traditional outsourcing. Approaches to contracting, remuneration and partnership must be rebuilt from the bottom up.

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Outsourcing: The Digital Transformation

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