When Archimedes screamed out aloud, Eureka', little did he realise that he had created the aha moment', the euphoria around innovation or seeing something new coming to life for centuries ahead!
Every business today aspires for the Eureka moment. Innovation has become critical for business survival and growth.
In the outsourcing context, providers have traditionally looked at building and deploying solutions that alleviate the client's business challenges without disturbing the status quo drastically. Innovation was not a clearly spelt out part of that agenda as the engagement was focused on bringing maximum value in terms of better business outcomes in the short-term.
Those were the years...
With the wheels of time whirring, the wheels of innovation have also moved at a rapid pace. To quote A T Kearney's 'House of Innovation' framework in the recent Nasscom Innovation Report, innovation models have typically focused on business models and process innovations. It is only recently that product innovations have intensified, driven by MNC R&D centers, ER&D firms and start-ups.
A closer look around us...
Today, the industry constantly publicises its chest of war stories on how it has turned around the productivity of a retailer, or saved an airline from bad capacity management, or helped a media conglomerate revive some of its oldest repositories, or enabled a technology company with next-gen applications... every case study has components of strategy and more importantly, out-of-the-box thinking.
Building an agenda
I see innovation in two forms in the industry: In processes owing to disruptive technology and in business models, owing to disruptive pricing and delivery strategies.
I would say that over a period of time, industry players have succeeded in institutionalizing innovation across the organization and have invested in cutting-edge tools, technologies and platforms, apart from a framework that fosters a culture of innovative thinking.
Innovation in the Business Process Management (BPM) environment is more a two-way street. If the engagement model is around partnership, then innovation is more likely to happen. It has to be an aspiration and not a atick-in-the-boxa approach. Innovation can be of any kind a a completely new disruptive business idea or high-impact business outcome, possibly creating a new revenue stream for the client; or a dramatic idea that changes the way the client engages / interacts with its end-customer. All these for me are innovations.
From an employee perspective, I think the drive towards innovation in this industry offers great opportunities at every level of oneas career. The global environs already provide for unlimited growth and opportunity, added to that is the very fibre of the client-provider relationship, which seeks the next level of value at periodic intervalsa so that expectation becomes a driving force to innovate.
The wheels of innovation will be on a fast-track path for a long time to come... what we have seen is just the beginning... in that light, I am sure we all understand the re-christening to Business Process Management. Not just outsourcinga as the journey now traverses arbitrage, efficiencies and effectivenessa innovation underlying most of it!