2003 - The Year of Outsourcing?

The rain has stopped but there's a gale blowing in its place. Large grey waves are crashing over the sea wall and catching small children on their new bicycles. Walk along a little further into Margate and you'll see small knots of refugees "taking the air".

I'm reminded that my great-grandfather, Andrew Mac Ewan tried to take a fishing boat from here with other 'Little Ships' on a 'Day Trip' to Dunkirk, sixty years ago, to collect another kind of refugee. He was a remarkable man and a Hemingway-style character. Thwarted by my great-grandmother's threat to leave him if, as expedition engineer, he joined Ernest Shackleton's voyage to Antarctica, he did the next best thing and in the first days of the Great War aged 39, he became a volunteer ambulance driver in the Belgium army, - 5th November 1914 from his passport - Somehow he survived this early form of off-road driving to become a war photographer for the 'Illustrated London News'.

From their appearance, today's refugees from the continent, look to be a mix of Somalis, Iraqis and Albanians, quite possibly waiting for some inner London council to whisk them away to useful new lives as parking wardens.

I suppose this is outsourcing by other means but with my brother-in-law "working the tunnel" and having to process the new applicants as they arrive, it's much nearer the truth than we might like to think.

Ovum Holway's newsletter is predicting that outsourcing will become bigger in 2003. It points out "that IBM had closed a $5bn/7 year outsourcing deal with JP Morgan Chase and described it as "A real coup for IBM, especially as CSC was (and still is) the incumbent outsourcer at JP Morgan through the Pinnacle Alliance formed in 1996 with what were then Andersen Consulting, AT&T Solutions and Bell Atlantic".

Only a week or so ago, it remarks, that "IBM won a ten year £1.6bn IT outsourcing contract with Deutsche Bank that will see 900 employees transfer to IBM in Q1 03. This came hot on the heels of the £2.85bn EDS deal to provide managed network and IT services to the Bank of America".

So it seems that the banks are finally embracing IT outsourcing big time - and surely BPO (beyond 'simple' cheque processing - currently 'owned' by Unisys here in the UK) cannot be too far behind.

Happy New Year everyone.


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