You’ve Got a Friend – IAOP Centers of Excellence Are Here for You

You’ve Got a Friend – IAOP Centers of Excellence Are Here for You

New to the industry, changed roles or working on something different? While it might seem like you’re alone on your journey, a whole network of experienced peers who can provide answers, share lessons and provide support are ready to help. These experts – IAOP’s best of the best – can be found by joining the new Centers of Excellence (CoE).

IAOP created the CoEs to concentrate expertise and resources around key areas its community members are investing in that are critical to attaining and sustaining world-class performance and value.

Each CoE provides an environment for buyers, providers, advisors and academia to collaborate and share expertise in specific areas of mutual interest. These new groups also will enhance innovation by enlisting industry experts to accelerate progress in critical areas and foster learning by offering webinars, podcasts, conferences, research and more.

The current CoE areas of focus include Socially Responsible Outsourcing (SRO) and Impact Sourcing, Digital Technologies, Future of Work and Collaborative Supplier Governance with the potential for more to be added in the future. For the mission of each CoE, see the sidebar.

Open to all IAOP members, professionals can access and participate in as many CoEs as they want. Corporate members are playing a leadership role and contributing content, and members of IAOP’s strategic advisory committee are serving in roles as co-chairs across the CoEs.  

“IAOP members are thought leaders who are always willing to share their expertise and get on the phone and help a peer,” says IAOP CEO Debi Hamill. “These are living breathing centers where members are actively working together. IAOP’s CoEs are the definitive one-stop shop to find the expertise you need in whatever role and stage of your career you are in this industry.”

What’s Happening in the CoEs  

Introduced with a soft launch during the virtual OWS21 event this February, momentum is building with plans by the CoE chairs to roll out a calendar of both in-person and virtual events. Among the plans in the works are individual LinkedIn pages for each CoE, a speakers’ bureau and more. 

The Digital Technologies CoE is planning a webinar on “Conversations on the automation journey” that will feature co-chair Atul Vashistha, Chairman & Founder, Neo Group and Supply Wisdom, IAOP Hall of Fame member, and Ian Barkin, an expert on the Future of Work and Robotic Process Automation. Stay tuned for details.

The Center also plans to start an online compilation of all automation tools/digital technologies, by category and use – a searchable tool that will help members better understand the landscape. Members interested in getting involved with developing this resource are invited to join in the efforts. 

The Governance CoE is actively working on creating a Knowledge Map of governance content, including updating and expanding this resource. It also plans to share governance tools and templates.

“The CoE’s Knowledge Map will provide a simple and effective way to find and access a wealth of industry knowledge, which can be used to avoid common mistakes and deliver value faster,” William P. Metz, COP, IAOP Hall of Fame Member and Co-chair of the Collaborative Supplier Governance CoE.

The CoEs are a way to share lessons learned with others members, according to Metz.

“Much has been learned over the last two decades about how companies can effectively partner with service providers to create value,” he says. “The CoEs offer companies the opportunity to leverage accumulated codified knowledge and access experts with deep experience.”

The Future of Work Center is exploring such topics as the largest disruptions to work like the pandemic, remote work, talent supply chain and automation. Having this resource available will be particularly valuable as companies begin post-pandemic business activities. 

Michel Janssen, Chief Research Officer, Everest Group, and co-chair of the Center explained: “The Future of Work is not about any single issue but rather a combination of employees’ lifestyle changes and desires, demographics, technology changes, customer expectations, and overall changes in our both our society and our companies.”

Janssen noted the COVID changed and accelerated the way both employees and employers think about work.

“The expectations that employees will come to the office to work a linear 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job were already changing and this past year accelerated those changes,” he said. “The reality is that the near-instantaneous move to full-time WFH will likely snap back in 2021, but will never fully return to the way they were in 2019.”

Another continuing topic the Center will focus on is the talent shortage, which according to Janssen, is not a thing of the past. 

“While COVID might have resulted in staffing reductions in certain industries, as more industries and regions reopen, we are going to see a prolific shortage of not only ‘arms and legs’ in the rank and file, but also for those highly-skilled specialists who organizations are looking for to modernize their platforms and support changes in the customer/employee experience,” he said.

Everest Group has been hearing that clients are now reexamining their facilities with the mindset of developing a true understanding of the purpose of the space. The changing workforce also plays an important role.

“The gig workforce is here to stay, so that is not in question for our contingent workforce,” Janssen said. “The real question is why don’t we take the same principles and apply those to our internal teams. Why do we create jobs that are aligned to specific functions? Why not create a flexible workforce that is focused on allowing more flexibility for both our employees and their leadership teams?”

For more on relevant conservations like this, be sure to check out the Future of Work CoE.

Seeing that Socially Responsible Outsourcing (SRO) and impact sourcing specifically have become a significant approach for many in the BPO industry, IAOP members are getting involved in this CoE. 

Co-chair Jon Browning, CEO of the Global Mentorship Initiative, explains why Impact Sourcing has become such an important focus in recent years.

“Impact Sourcing combines a strategy that improves customer satisfaction, reduces employee attrition rates, and provides opportunities to those who otherwise might not have access to a good job,” he says. “Because it’s a win-win, BPO buyers are now engaging their providers on how to leverage Impact Sourcing for a significant portion of their outsourcing business.”

The IAOP SRO & Impact Sourcing CoE aims to bring this concept to all members and help them engage on their SRO journey by providing guidance and resources to get started.

Learn About the Missions of IAOP’s Centers for Excellence

Each of the Centers of Excellence aim to:

  • Enable collaboration between IAOP Members – Provide an environment in which IAOP - including buyers, providers, advisors and academia - can collaborate and share expertise in specific areas of mutual interest 
  • Enhance innovation – Enlist industry experts to accelerate progress in critical areas 
  • Provide new opportunities for education and training Foster learning by offering webinars, podcasts, conferences, research and more

Knowledge resources will be categorized and mapped to a visual framework covering the broad lifecycle categories (Strategy, Sourcing, Transition, Service Delivery, Relationship Management) and underlying ontologies of knowledge within each of these domains that collectively will contribute to the delivery of the mission for each CoE.  

Four Focus Areas of the CoEs

SRO & Impact Sourcing – Focuses on the transformative business model of doing well by doing good through socially responsible outsourcing and through the business practice where companies prioritize suppliers that intentionally hire and provide career development opportunities to people who otherwise have limited prospects for formal employment

Digital Technologies – With the understanding that digital technologies are transforming the outsourcing industry and related business models, IAOP aims to support its members in this journey. This CoE will enable learning and knowledge sharing, thus providing all members with access to relevant knowledge resources on and use of digital technologies as our members aid their enterprises to leverage Digital technologies to deliver extraordinary growth and optimization opportunities

Future of Work – Focuses on the workforce and workplace of the future, including the largest disruptions to work like the pandemic, remote work, talent supply chain and automation

Collaborative Supplier Governance – Effective service provider/buyer relationships are a core component of every successful business. This CoE will focus on enabling collaborative successful service provider/buyer relationships by organizing and providing all parties with access to relevant knowledge resources to continuously deliver maximum potential value

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