Outsource Magazine Issue 33 - (Page 114)

THE BACK END THE LAST WORD OPINION Killing the Golden Goose This isn’t a rant (as per the editor’s request) so much as it is a plea. I know similar things have been said in this organ in the past but nothing seems to have changed and I believe this is a big problem for our industry. I am talking about the standard of the conferences in the outsourcing space and in particular the amount of time given over to suppliers to push their services. I have been attending conferences for well over a decade now, first as a “buyer” working for a leading energy supplier and then for the last four years as an advisor and change expert. In that time I have watched even some of the biggest and best-known events become little more than a parade of suppliers all singing their own praises to an ever- decreasing pool of genuine customers. I am very aware of the commercials behind these events and of course the conference providers need to make money. But it seems to me they are killing their own golden goose by making their events more and more attractive to themselves commercially and less and less attractive to the delegates who have spent a lot of money (if they haven’t been comped to up appalling customer-side numbers) on passes for these events and on travel, accommodation et cetera and who quite rightly expect more bang for their buck than just a load of pitches. I have been to two major events this year (three years ago I went to seven) and won’t be attending another before next spring because I simply can’t justify the expense (and I get a lot more out of these conferences than many of the customers I speak with). Of course the suppliers have something to say as often they are the experts in their field. But more than that what people expect when they go to these conferences is decent networking – should go without saying – and experiences from their peers via presentations, seminars and the rest. One of the events I went to earlier this year was populated at a rough estimate by at least 70 per cent vendors who made up a similar proportion of the speaking slots. At the drinks reception I spoke to a lot of delegates who were frankly livid at the lack of real quality presentations from people who were really on the “Events, dear boy, events.” – Harold Macmillan 114 ●●● ● www.outsourcemagazine.co.uk front line. Several told me they wouldn’t be coming back. How many times does it need to be said that delegates want to hear from their peers? They get enough hassle from the suppliers during the coffee breaks (not to mention all the rest of the year outside the events) and if they want to find out about a particular solution or even just what a company has to offer they have plenty of time to do it – the suppliers tend to gravitate around anyone with the slightest whiff of budgetary control like gannets anyway. Cramming the schedules with more provider spiel is just out and out greed – because we all know they’re only there because they’ve played hardball on costs with the conference organiser. It’s a vicious circle because as the quality declines fewer good customers will attend. So come on, organisers: stop this before it’s too late and a vital part of the learning process is taken away from people because there’s just no value left in it for anyone apart from you. And then where’s your business model? ‘P. Doff'' 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? http://www.outsourcemagazine.co.uk

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outsource Magazine Issue 33

Keeping in Touch
Shaji Farooq
Manoeuvre the Maze of Cloud Confusion
E-Invoicing: Where Now and Where Next?
Rick Simmonds
Only Strong Leadership and Governance Can Deliver High Performance
A Healthy Development
Getting to We: Time for a New Negotiating Paradigm
NOA Round-Up
To Outsource or Not to Outsource
Big Data Hits HR
John Willmott
Show Us The Money!
GBS: a Game-Changer for Finance
Neil Pratley
Go East
The Talent Challenge
Top Ten
NelsonHall Round-Up
Online Round-Up
The Deal Doctor
Inside Source
The Last Word

Outsource Magazine Issue 33