Outsource Magazine Issue 26 - (Page 114)

THE BACK END THE LAST WORD Now I’m off to Manila for my quarterly encounter with one of our offshore teams. When I started in this position it was a monthly appointment. A month in, I changed this schedule to quarterly in-person meetings and the other two months went virtual: we spend a day using our beautiful cutting-edge video conferencing studios – which were already installed before I joined – instead of flying out myself along with a couple of my onshore heads. Next year I will move to three in-person meetings rather than four. It just isn’t that hard to do. When we’re all being told to cut costs wherever we can – when our whole industry is set up around streamlining and driving efficiencies until the process is as lean as possible – there is absolutely no excuse for costly, environmentally unsound excess travel. I don’t work for or have any investment in the video conferencing industry – I just think it makes sense to encourage its use rather than wasting time and money up in the air. Feet on the Ground A buddy of mine recently went to a company meeting – an important annual get-together for senior management. He works for a leading carbon accounting firm. The meeting was in Malaysia. He lives in San Francisco. He flew. Another buddy works for a global financial organisation. He has a lot of meetings. Last year he was flying on over 150 days of the year. He racked up more than 200,000 miles. He just got back from a three-day trip involving six flights. All his appointments were internal meetings. This is madness. Air travel has been one of those paradigm-shifting disruptive influences that truly has changed the world for the better. I live in Chicago; my folks are in Texas; one of my kids works in Sydney and another is studying in France. I know that if there’s an emergency I can be with any of them in under a day. They can come back on vacation when they like; they can move somewhere else if they feel like it. All it takes is a little money. I’m not against flying per se. I’m no tree-hugging hippie. But I am very much against unnecessary flying – and while I don’t think it’s unnecessary to stay in touch with your family, or to go out and win new business or pay your respects to existing customers, I personally believe that many – if not most – of the journeys we make on business are at best unnecessary and at worst criminally irresponsible. Like my friend working with the carbon accountancy. Several dozen execs flying a combined total of hundreds of thousands of miles for a meeting. Is there really no way this could have been done virtually? Or should I start listening to the conspiracy theorists who tell me the carbon accountants have a vested interest in increasing carbon emissions? And my friend in finance: even he says he could cut out most of his meetings in an instant if his company wasn’t so big on pressing the flesh as regularly as possible. Apparently it is more important for him to be seen getting involved on the ground than it is to cut out hundreds of thousands of dollars annually from the travel budget. OPINION ‘ Terry Firma’ Would you like to contribute an interesting, provocative – and, if you wish, anonymous – piece to The Last Word? Or would you like to respond to this particular column? Why not drop a line to the editor at jamie.liddell@ outsourcemagazine.co.uk to discuss your thoughts? Consendre mod eugait alit luptati sisisisit augait num iusti facidunt ipsumsan el eraestrud exerat ad onulla cor ing eumsandre ex elit “Flight is reserved for the birds and the angels.” – Bishop Milton Wright atetue tet ulla feu feum niamconEm ea commodiam ad tem dolortio Utat lum quisim et, quissi.Volobore m iurero dolobore. 114 ●●● ● www.outsourcemagazine.co.uk http://www.outsourcemagazine.co.uk

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outsource Magazine Issue 26

News & Comment
2012 in outsourcing
Fine – but what does it all mean?
Steering Steria
Separate Ways?
Getting Smart
Northern Lights
Heads in the Cloud
Connecting Service
Bigger and Better
NOA Round-Up
Breaking Through
You Cannot be Serious!
Back to the Future
Accounts Payable
The Power of Two
Public-Private Partnerships
Kill or Cure
Public Problems
Top Ten
The Legal View
HfS Research
Online Round-Up
Inside Source
The Last Word

Outsource Magazine Issue 26