Ugh... What are we doing? We hate predictions. Predictions are lame, predictions are cheesie, predictions are either wrong, or just so generic that they could be automated every year with a "substitute this big trend for this one" script.
Hey - that's actually not a bad idea, so why not throw a bunch of trends from the HfS analyst team into a cognitive application, add some robotics technology to mix them up with some humanoid analyst mimicry, and see whether the outcome could quite feasibly have been the product of some big legacy analyst house.
So without further ado, here are 17 predictions that will all come true. Just for you...
1. Old-school outsourcing becomes heroic as digitization of process becomes the new political enemy of the corporate masses
Suddenly, labor-arbitrage deals are good things for society. At least jobs are being created somewhere in the world, as opposed to being eliminated altogether by robots. This shift from "Labor to Digital" takes center stage across the whole operations, consulting and professional services industry. Outsourcing will no longer be a dirty word, as enterprises realize the digitization and robotization of business and IT processes is the only real lever to pull to provide them with future value and efficiency. However, this will create a level of fear and uncertainty much more intense than the old worries about having your job shipped off to India. "I'll be back" becomes the watch-word of anti-robotics protestors, as those haunting words from Arnie's 1984 Orwellian classic come back to bite us.
2. "Autonabalism" becomes central to ambitious BPO service provider strategy
With Robotic Process Automation (RPA) becoming more central to the strategy of BPO service providers, we think 2015 will be the year that a few BPO service providers institutionalize their RPA capabilities and decide to cannibalize the revenues of their existing FTE contracts in order to encourage the end to end transformation of their own businesses. This strategic retrenchment using automation and cannibalizing revenues is what we refer to as "autonabalism", and a few bold and forward thinking service providers will be undertaking this next year.
3. The emergence of the As-a-Service Economy will see several niche As-a-Service providers smash the old model
Those traditional providers which fail to autonabilize their models, will come under increasing threat from the emerging wave of specialist As-a-Service providers, which can deliver standard processes enriched with value-added services at much lower cost, and easier "plug and play" capability. Examples already include the likes of OneSource Virtual, Aasonn, Genfour, Bluewolf, Fruition, Symphony and CloudSherpas. We also predict that we will see new BPaaS-driven firms spring up that have not even be formed yet.
4. Focused service providers will decide definitively where they want to play to survive
It's nearing crunch time for service providers and those which haven't figured out their game-plan are going to fade away pretty fast. Heritage providers have to make brave divestments and investments to stay ahead of the curve. 2014 already saw IBM sell off its CRM BPO business, HP split up its broader business, Xerox sell its ITO business. We've witnessed Cognizant double-down on healthcare and Infosys transform it's leadership. We've seen Accenture merge operations, cloud and BPO and Wipro take-on Watson with his trusty sidekick. These are just forerunners on many more big things to happen in 2015. We expect a lot of carving up, tuck-in buys right across the board. It's going to be one helluva active year for restructuring activities.
5. Crowd-sourcing will play a role in the service delivery model for sourcing
In business functions like marketing and industry-specific health, where there are ad-hoc projects like product releases and surges of demand for processing such as enrollment periods, an enterprising buyer/service provider will experiment with a crowd-sourcing approach. It will allow