No doubt, you’ve seen the ads with the cupped hands ready to cradle your life. With the accompanying slogan, You’re in good hands with Allstate, one would naturally assume that customer satisfaction is a high priority with this insurance company. When it comes to outsourcing, though, you can bet that Allstate is in the good hands of its supplier, EDS. Larry Moser, Senior Marketing Manager at Allstate and Product Manager for its flood and mobile home lines, recalls that a decision was made in 1986 that Allstate would join the Write Your Own Flood Insurance Program. He says the company subsequently looked at its processing operation and realized that writing flood was a lot different from its other lines (auto, life, property) and decided to explore what opportunities there might be for the processing of the flood business.
Birds of a feather flock together aptly describes the beginnings of the outsourcing relationship between Commonwealth Bank of Australia and its supplier-partner, EDS Australia. Both organizations are huge, both are global, both are renowned for the top-notch services they provide for their customers, and both fly on the wings of innovation when it comes to business ventures. Commonwealth is Australia’s largest domestic financial services organization (largest domestic bank, largest funds manager, largest online stockbroker, and among the largest insurance companies). It has more than 10 million customers, more than 110,000 location points, 3000 ATMs, 120,000 point-of-sale terminals, Internet banking, online telephone banking; and its Web site handles more than 10% of the total trades on the Australian stock exchange on any given day. 1,400 Commonwealth employees transferred to EDS when the October 1997 contract was signed.
Without a doubt, today’s competitive forces have pushed the role and importance of customer relationship management up to the top rung of the ladder to success for organizations. As it is so vital, it has become a specialized area and an industry in itself. Thomson Consumer Electronics, which manufactures electronic products for the well-known brands of RCA, GE and Proscan, came to understand in the mid 1990s that customer care is a separate skill and a trade apart from manufacturing. We are in the manufacturing business. We wanted to develop a partnership with a company that had expertise in managing a customer care center and call center, recalls Scott Medawar, Manager of Customer Care Operations for Thomson. They began outsourcing these strategic functions to Spherion in 1997. Prior to their agreement, Thomson had operated its own call center and had a relationship with Norell to staff the center (Norell later became Spherion).
Access specializes in marketing telecommunication audits to medium to large national businesses and government entities. The company also offers utility and energy services targeted to a California base. Access is the exclusive representative for nationally recognized companies in each of these fields. The simplicity and value of outsourcing an audit – the prospect of saving 10-30% on a company’s telecommunication costs with no upfront fees and minimal staff time involvement, make going forward with one an easy decision…
Trust plays a crucial role in government outsourcing. Adrian Moore of the Reason Foundation says that the less tangible things are, the more important trust is. In outsourced infrastructure projects, trust is less important. A project to construct a bridge, for example, is tangible in that you test to establish whether it was built soundly. But in a contract for such services as child adoption placement, managing a prison or welfare benefits, the outcomes are open-ended. Much of what the government wants to happen is well defined and measurable, but a lot of it is not. That type of circumstance will require trusting the vendor a great deal…
Health plans can get very, very sick if they continually hear the check’s in the mail. Too many experience financial difficulties because they don’t receive timely payments from employers and members. Outsourcing their back office processes is one way they can get paid on time, says Brenda Smoker, vice president of customer support service for Synertech, a health care outsourcing provider in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Innovation, creativity and individualism are the siren songs of this strapping birth child of the marketplace, appropriately dubbed ecommerce. Capturing attention on the Internet, and translating that curiosity into positive action, is the role played by a new breed of creative, outsourcing professionals; they are the web site developers. The manner in which a company presents itself on the World Wide Web can be a make or break decision. According to Mike McFarlane of Kiora, it’s not a decision that should be made hastily. He adds, it can lead the unwary into uncharted waters with a lot of hidden rocks! Professional web design help should be sought.
As a vendor, (i)Structure is gaining some real momentum in the information technology field. Lots of companies are starting to put faith, and more importantly contracts with the business, a subsidiary of Level 3 communication. Its services are being used by the Bradford Exchange, Vlassic Foods Int. and most recently Corporate Express Inc., a world office supplier with 400 facilities and 15,000 employees…….(outsourcing)
Outsourcing may turn out to be the golden egg for Commtouch. Since every youth in Israel must serve in the Army, which relies on sophisticated military intelligence and technology to survive, Israel has a wealth of technically skilled young people.
The emergence of the new economy is likely to drive outsourcing in new directions. The ability to manage alliances may be the key to outsourcing success in a knowledge-based economy. That’s how Robert Klepper reads his crystal ball. Klepper, a professor at the School of Business at Southern Illinois University’s Edwardsville campus, and Wendell Jones authored Outsourcing Information Technology, Systems and Services……