Frank Casale, Founder & CEO of IRPA and the Outsourcing Institute, shares his observations on the event. “The gathering was quite an experience. We had a small group of executives representing a good chunk of the outsourcing ecosystem. There was no shortage of interaction, opinions or perspectives in this room. Our objective for this invitation-only roundtable was to both educate and learn. We wanted to introduce this powerful and disruptive trend and technology to this group of practitioners and providers.”
The Institute for Robotic Process Automation’s (IRPA) first executive roundtable: “Here Come the Robots: The Emergence of Robotic Process Automation and The Beginning of The End of Outsourcing As We Know It.”
Summary & Observations, by Frank Casale, Founder & CEO of IRPA and the Outsourcing Institute
Date: January 23, 2014
Location: New York City, the offices of Kelley, Drye & Warren, LLP
Moderator: Frank Casale, IRPA Founder & CEO Speaker: Tom Young, IRPA Advisory Board Member and Alumni Partner at Information Services Group
Host: Deepak Nambiar, IRPA Legal Counsel and Senior Advisor
- CAC America
- Credit Suisse
- Virtual Operations LLC
- WNS Global Services
The gathering was quite an experience. We had a small group of executives representing a good chunk of the outsourcing ecosystem. There was no shortage of interaction, opinions or perspectives in this room. Our objective for this invitation-only roundtable was to both educate and learn. We wanted to introduce this powerful and disruptive trend and technology to this group of practitioners and providers. Key areas of discussion:
- The shift to digital labor in the cloud
- The dramatic 25-40% cost reduction as well as precise analytics and reporting
- The move beyond labor arbitrage
- The potential impact and threat to the service provider community
In addition, we stimulate a discussion amongst the attendees. What did we hear? The reaction was indeed mixed. Half of the group was quite impressed and interested in what Robotic Process Automation had to offer. They saw the shift. They liked both the tactical as well as longer term strategic impact this would have on their business. The other half was a bit cynical as to how real this was or even how new it was. There were also several attendees in the group who seemed a bit defensive of their current offshore model. Should I have been surprised? No, I’ve seen this movie before.
The outsourcing trend was met with the same reaction in the early 1990s when I founded The Outsourcing Institute. In the early adaptor stage some tapped in quickly, however, most were cynical and slow to adapt. The status quo, no matter how unsatisfactory, was preferred over change, especially change that involved less people, less direct reports and more uncertainty. Some push back was logical, some was outright emotional and it was an interesting mix of tech zealots, early adaptors and laggards.
History repeats itself. So why should it be any different today? Here’s why. This shift will be more powerful and take place much faster than anything before it. Envision the big bang. Unexpected. Explosive. All seeming to happen in a heartbeat, both ending and beginning, both good and bad. What’s the impact?
- Significant cost savings today, yes.
- Many workers displaced, yes.
- New business models and new providers introduced into the marketplace, yes.
- Rapid shift from labor arbitrage to digital labor in the cloud in next 2-3 years, yes (that’s right, 2-3 years, not 10).
- Two thirds of today’s ITO and BPO players gone over next 4-6 years? Absolutely.
The scenario is beginning to play out as you read this memo. So while I feel that I’ve been here before, deep down I know these advancements in process automation have created a more significant and powerful game changer. And unlike the big bang of a billion years ago, we have a little bit of a warning this time.
Stay tuned….in the coming weeks I will share more perspectives from the roundtable.
Below are the slides from the event.