According to the Gartner research study in 2016, 40% of outsourcing jobs will be lost to artificial machines by 2018.
This figure is quite shocking if you are in the “outsourcing industry”. Even through the estimate from Gartner was far fetched, it is no secret that Artificial Intelligence(AI) machines will invade the so called “outsourcing industry”. The era of machines is going to arrive soon and it going to come fast.
We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run & underestimate the effect in the long run — Roy Amara
It will be the “low complex” jobs which would become the first causality of AI. Even today, there are commercial accounting BOTs in operations.
But there is one catch in this whole equation. Just think of the why the industry of outsourcing imaged? This can provide you the secret key to be on top of the wave of rise of the machines.
The main reasons for outsourcing are;
- Cost reduction
- Focus on core competency
- Lack of available skills
- Risk sharing
If you think closely, non of these factors can be overridden by AI machines. If you are an outsourcing provider, you can convert the threat of AI in to a golden opportunity.
Here is how;
It is assumed that you are an outsourcing company which provides the services to clients who are in another country.
Use AI to improve your own efficiency
If AI promises efficiency improvements, nobody said that it is limited to clients in Europe, US or any other country. Why can’t you use AI to improve efficiency of your services? This would enable you to provide a better services at a faster turn around time with a lower cost.
No client will stop you from AI as part of your services. Remember the purpose of outsourcing; If still the outsourcing client can provide a better services at a quicker time with reduced cost, nobody care who & how it is done.
Use AI today and be on top of the game!
Help your clients
Remember one fact that AI is not only going to be disrupting outsourcing jobs. It is going to disrupt the whole accounting services or any other low complex services. AI said to replace whole accounting professionals. Therefore the biggest hit would be your clients.
Therefore team up with your client and understand how synergies can be made. Synergies can be found in cost efficiency, technology expertise or any other areas.
Identify synergies, help each other and fight together!
Provide a mix of services
There will be small scale clients where AI will be costly for them. The costs of setting up AI, using AI, acquiring required knowledge will be too much for them. There will be a significant market share remain in these kind of companies even when AI becomes a full force.
Therefore it is important that outsourcing companies position their products & services correctly.
Remember AI is not free, it will have its own costs!
The need for manual intervention — there is a time window
Humans need to check the accuracy of jobs performed by AI as accuracy of AI still not fully assured. Some outsourcing jobs such as finance requires 100% accuracy. Therefore humans will have to check the quality of the work perform by AI.
This demand will only be there till AI picks up accuracy but outsourcing companies can still explore the opportunity.
It will take some more time for AI to become 100% accurate!
Develop your own AI
You have the knowledge of how things are being done in your services area. Why can’t you develop your own AI service? There are multiple AI platforms from Google, IBM which can be used to develop AI solutions cheaper and faster.
Get few capable developers and within some months you should be able to have your own AI service. You have the biggest advantage as you know how things are done & industry insights.
Develop your own AI BOT and lead the wave!
In summary, there is no doubt that Artificial Intelligence will change the outsourcing industry as well as AI will make the whole economy upside down. But this is nothing new.
This debate of people losing jobs, etc. was there for many centuries back and it will be there for many centuries to come. This is a just a part of whole human evaluation.
When James Watson introduced the steam engine or Henry Ford introduced the mass market car, I am sure there would have been lot of panic from horse carriage owners on how they can survive.
It is all about adapting to change of rise of AI machines.
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change. — Charles Darwin
The rise of AI BOTs in services industry is a paradigm shift of how things are done (unless AI takeover the earth!) So it is all about adapting to the change and understand how the wave can be ridden.
Think of the teams that you have worked with throughout your work life. Have you come across people who keep or who contribute more than others to keep you together making the them a cohesive part of the job at hand which helps to achieve the 1+1 > 2 phenomenon? this would be a type of social glue !
Thinking and reading more about the subject it is evident that this it is the same phenomenon that large cooperates try to mimic in the tools they use or on the other hand, collaboration products try very hard to build in to their systems.
These traits have been used in some of the tools out there that are marketed to cooperates for better communication in an enterprise. There by creating the social glue that can feed the enterprise in order to have better cohesiveness. The focus of this article is more on the human aspects of the “Social Glue” rather than the tools or products.
What is Social Glue in Business? In the human aspect!
It can be defined as the ability to take all the individual parts and stick them together as one single vehicle taking the whole Team/Social Group/Company forward at the same speed.
Take the example of a 4-member team of developers. One is a lagging behind not really contributing to the team and almost anti-social. One was a good performer previously and now unfocused. The third is a performer. The forth is the glue we are talking about in this article who is also an excellent performer.
The velocity of this team would be at its slowest member there by making the team under preforming.
The 4th member (The Glue) has an outcome to be achieved and without the first and 2nd members contribution, he would not be successful. He uses his relationships to either get this person inline to achieve the outcome at hand or to take out the member form the team or try hard to. He does it with all his hart and to make the first two members realize the required changes they need to make. The important fact is that he tries to get them inline and failing which take them out of the team to achieve the outcome.
This trait in a person requires the following fundamental behaviors that lead to a high-performance team.
Trust is sometimes over rated. Unconditional trust seems a big no no ! In the face of competition in an organization the ability to trust someone seems a bit far fetch leave alone being unconditional. Therefore, it is the main ingredient that leads to someone being the social glue in a business.
Focusing on each other strengths
Having led several cooperates I know how it feels like when people focus on your weakness. The ability to focus on strengths is a must if you are leading teams there by complementing each other to form the glue that cause the teams to function as one.
The service mindset
To be of service to others comes at a cost. Some think you are week and some unprofessional. However, if you look at your job as; to do grater good regardless of the consequences ! This is what I define as the service midst or to be of service to your fellow colleagues.
The ability to forgive
People make mistakes linking up to the second point here being able to move on and learn is extremely important. Sometimes we discount people and behaviors to only the negative side of things. Being the social glue requires a high degree of the ability to forgive and try continuously.
In conclusion all business have and develop these personalities as groups and individuals it is the duty of the leader to identify and mentor these people or gorps and create more glue. Tools can take you a certain distant but these people with the aid of the tools are the ones who really make a difference in a Business !