Outsource Magazine Issue 24 - (Page 113)

THE BACK END INSIDE SOURCE Inside Source: an ear to the grapevine and a taste for tittle-tattle… Strangled by Red Tape At one of the industry’s larger events recently I found myself shooting the breeze with one of the speakers – an old friend of mine from a previous life before either of us crossed over to the dark side. She was not in the best of moods (a terrifying proposition). Tentatively I probed as to the cause of her wrath – suspecting her hotel sheets had been turned down incorrectly, or that there had been one ice cube too few in her Diet Coke. But the problem was a much more complex affair… Sifting through the profanities, I ascertained that my friend – in her role with a well-known global provider – was having increasing difficulty negotiating her way through the labyrinth of red tape thrown up by one of her clients. Activities which in other deals might not even have required sign-off by the client – or, if sign-off was required, might just have been a matter of a quick email – apparently need a succession of meetings, conferences and parleys to rival anything the European Parliament can offer. A contract worth several million pounds a year is turning into a nightmare for the provider, said my friend, because actions as mundane as moving desks from one room to another need to be approved by a relatively senior manager within the client organisation. I stifled a smile – but I couldn’t help but sympathise. In an industry where the margins are ever tighter and the need for rapid responses and streamlined processes has rarely if ever been higher up the agenda, such unnecessary bureaucracy can be ruinous. Buyers need to realise that outsourcing is not a merely cosmetic activity: transferring people and processes is pointless if the organisation isn’t prepared also to assist the provider as much as possible to create a lean, streamlined environment. Retaining some controls is of course imperative – but maintaining a micromanagerial style and forcing a provider to jump through hoops for such, frankly, pathetic causes does nobody any favours – and threatens the efficiencies that in many cases are the drivers of the outsourcing project itself – and right now who can afford that? Naugh-tee... Shortly after this magazine flies out into the world the UK’s Bribery Act 2010 comes into effect, and it seems like confusion over what kind of corporate hospitality is and isn’t permitted (and you’d better get yourself on the right side of the line if you want to avoid a stint at Her Majesty’s Pleasure) has caused something of a rush on junkets, entertainments and all things hospitable. One of my acquaintances was lucky enough to be invited by a partner to the Masters (apparently some kind of golf tournament – I’m not a fan) in America and had by all accounts a rather drunken time of it, with celebrations lasting long into the night (and somewhat inexplicably beginning before the tournament had even started). However, despite a seemingly remorseless assault on his liver he returned to the UK displaying no ill effects and confident that no lasting damage had been done. If only his partner could say the same… Upon his own return to this side of the Atlantic this considerably-more-bleary individual had to face some very unpleasant music after having to admit that he’d lost his laptop – containing some rather sensitive information relating to more than one client – somewhere back over the water. Apparently the hapless gentleman received a right royal rollicking – made worse by the fact that according to corporate guidelines he shouldn’t have taken that information outside the office, let alone the country. Unfortunately for him, said laptop has not turned up despite the best efforts of Georgia’s finest (OK I admit it: I just had to Google “the Masters”) and he’s been left with a rather black mark against his name to add to a very sore head and a rather depleted bank balance… Naughty boy… “The human spy, in terms of the American espionage effort, had never been terribly pertinent.” – Aldrich Ames www.outsourcemagazine.co.uk 113 ●●● ● http://www.outsourcemagazine.co.uk

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outsource Magazine Issue 24

Editor's letter
News & comments
Seeing through the cloud
Steve Forbes
Embracing a lean culture in recruitment
The roar of the crowd
Andrew De Cleyn
Greening the chain
Private properties
NOA round-up
PR Chandrasekar
Ten ways to shake your world
Matt Barrie
Roundtable: an excellent process
The talent question
Transition and change
Never the twain
Setting the standard
Touching base
Top ten
The legal view
HfS research
Online round-up
Inside source
The last word

Outsource Magazine Issue 24