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Next-Generation Managed Services: Resourcing with Agility

The Road to Reshaping Business is a series of articles exploring industry trends, strategic imperatives and practical steps for enterprise leaders who are looking to embed continuous advantage into their operations. In this article, we explore the pressing dynamic of talent disruption and its impact on resourcing critical business projects.

Hiring and retaining highly skilled employees is one of the greatest challenges facing enterprise leaders today. Deloitte’s 2022 Global Outsourcing Survey found that 50% of executives see talent acquisition as a leading challenge in meeting their organisation’s strategic priorities—and 56% do not feel their organisations have the right mechanisms to retain employees.

Rapid changes in technology, the economy and employer-employee relationships have also disrupted old ways of thinking about talent resourcing. In today’s climate, the focus is becoming less on jobs or roles and more on skills and capabilities. Continued evolution in the global risk landscape and increasing regulatory burdens are also contributing to the need for more agility and constant upskilling. For example, specialists in artificial intelligence, data science, cloud and cyber security are in particularly high demand. 

Put simply, running business functions and mission critical business services is becoming more complicated and specialised. Without the right employees and the right capabilities, leaders may risk letting their organisation fall behind.  

For decades, a strategic imperative of outsourcing was to reduce costs by finding faster and cheaper opportunities to complete routine and repetitive tasks. But now more than ever, organisations are considering next-generation managed service providers, also known as Operate service providers, to help accelerate innovation and advantage through acessing their high-skilled and hard-to-source people on-demand. In fact, these third-party resources are becoming so important that 87% of the respondents from Deloitte’s 2022 Global Outsourcing Survey consider external workers as part of their workforce.

In this article, we’ll explore two business use cases that demonstrate the speed, scalability and other value-drivers made possible when companies collaborate with Operate service providers to augment their talent needs. 

Think about a government agency that approved emergency financial relief packages for citizens who faced unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic—we witnessed this in many countries around the world. The agency hadn't got the resources, people, experience or expertise to stand up the technology solution and to define and execute the processes required to manage relief applications and distribute funds. The urgency of the situation demanded speed and scale to deliver relief within a matter of weeks, not months, which programs of this size can take to stand up.

In this scenario, working with an Operate service provider helped the agency overcome these obstacles to launch their relief programme swiftly and effectively. The agency leaned on the service provider’s deep technical expertise in system development and tapped into a strong bench of software engineering and delivery talent with industry and process acumen. They also leaned on the provider’s programme management capabilities combined with regional knowledge and a dedication to driving strategic outcomes. The provider defined the system strategy, delivered the solution and then ran, managed and optimised it on an ongoing basis. 

With this support the government agency was able to improve their speed to market and accelerate scalability. They also saved significant time and expenditure through flexible and on-demand access to hard-to-source skilled talent to help weather the storm, rather than invest the time and money to formally hire and manage a new team.

Another compelling example comes from the retail industry. One retailer faced a variety of challenges, such as trying to keep up with customer expectations for delivery options, in-store order fulfilment and digital personalisation. Their inventory technology was dependant on dated legacy systems and they had minimal IT and internal technology-stack capabilities.

By working with an Operate service provider, the retailer accessed an experienced and talent-rich resource pool capable of driving, optimising and managing their end-to-end digital transformation programme. From technology design to system implementation and integration, as well as programme management and optimisation, the retailer was able lean on the service provider to quickly and confidently stand up the capabilities their customers required. A front-end mobile ordering platform with a back-end inventory system was implemented to make online ordering possible, drawing on the service provider’s extensive technical skills and capabilities and deep retail industry experience. This new system created a smooth, intuitive and personalised end customer experience, secure delivery and in-store fulfilment experience that could have taken years to develop internally. 

Resourcing with agility

In both examples—whether it’s a government entity launching an emergency relief package, a retailer developing new programmes and offerings to meet customer expectations or any organisation and situation in between—the evolving talent landscape not only creates a variety of unique challenges for organisations, but also opportunities for operational success. 

For organisations considering working with an Operate service provider, the value of selecting the right one goes far beyond just gaining access to hard-to-source talent. Here are my top tips for collaboration:

  1. Make sure that you maintain oversight and control over your long-term vision and strategy while using Operate service providers to help upskill your in-house teams alongside delivering your projects.
  2. Consider service providers that offer access to and experience of working with an ecosystem of technology vendors at the leading edge of technology disruption. 
  3. Consider service providers who are on top of the latest industry regulations, as well as a track record of supporting organisations in your specific market or sector. 
  4. Lastly, if you are an organisation with international operations, make sure that your service provider has the critical mass to support the areas in which you do business, whether your ambitions include an onshore, nearshore, offshore or a hybrid operational model.  

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