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Beyond Suppliers: Service Providers to Handhold during Crisis

Beyond Suppliers: Service Providers to Handhold during Crisis

In the aftermath of the unprecedented shock that COVID-19 posed over the business world, companies are slowly on the path of building systemic resilience now, by adopting transformative practices. However, the objective is not just to pull through the present situation; envisioning the revitalization process post- COVID is also of paramount importance for organizations. The multi-fold nature of the prevailing and the upcoming challenges makes it inevitable for organizations to seek out for external support services.

The 2020 Global Managed Services report suggests that 45% of the firms are likely to expand their outsourcing plans in the next 18 months. This opens a wide array of opportunities for the service providers, especially the IT service providers, to flourish. However, it should be noted that the new norm has given rise to a new set of challenges, which in turn led to new demands. So, it becomes imperative for the service providers to keep up with the new demands and trends to survive in the competing market.

Let us evaluate the prospective transitions in prioritizing service provider functions post- COVID.

From Suppliers to Strategic Partners: To recover from the functional and economic adversity in recent times, organizations will have to partner with strategic service providers. Damian Skendrovic, executive vice president at NTT stated: “They want more than a supplier. And instead, look for true partners to help them do the smart things well. Service providers need to help them adapt now, but also help them bounce back quickly when the business environment reignites.”

From Non-core functions to Shared core functions: Traditionally, business operations were mostly outsourced. However, according to the recent survey conducted by NTT, organizations are now relying increasingly on service providers for mission-critical functions such as reducing security risks and infrastructure complexity. Major cybersecurity providers like Cisco and McAfee witnessed a sharp surge in demand for their products due to current remote working challenges, and the global market expects a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.6% through 2030.

From Outsourcing to Smartsourcing: Smartsourcing, unlike outsourcing, enables organizations to adapt to the current unprecedented scenarios by enabling selection and prioritization of service providers that align with the larger organizational goal and deliver business outcomes. GEP Smart, the reputed source-to-pay procurement software reported a rapid increase of up to 300% in the use of their platform since the Coronavirus outbreak.

From Human Interactions to Automated Services: Cost cutting and handling the increased workload being the needs of the hour, Intelligent Virtual Agents are now increasingly replacing manual tasks like customer service. Power Virtual Agents by Microsoft, partnering with Accenture, enabled Government of India to launch the Health Assistant chatbot named ‘Saathi’ on MyGov app to efficiently address public queries and to assist citizens with important news and updates.

Bouncing back from the setbacks of COVID-19 is not easy; however, a symbiotic relationship between service providers and their clients could make the process easier and faster for both the parties. To make this happen, service providers will have to recognize their potential and rise above what is expected out of them.

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