The theme of this week’s CoreNet Global Summit is “Convening for Change.”
On the drive over to Las Vegas this weekend, I thought about 1995. I attend my first CoreNet Summit (then called the NACORE symposium, before its merger with IDRC to create CoreNet). At that time, outsourcing and globalization were the hot topics, and CREs were questioning whether these trends would ever be viable in our business. I remember the organization’s chairman saying that the jury is still out on outsourcing.
Things have changed significantly over the last 14 years. Outsourcing has evolved from a simple labor-cost reduction tactic into a way to tap specialized expertise and then into a sophisticated alliance. In 1995, it was enough for a service provider to be the best-in-class broker, facility manager or project manager. Now we must bring innovation, new technology and processes. CREs have moved beyond tacticians to become corporate strategists.
And the industry has become increasingly global. Even companies with few or no international operations find themselves dealing with global challenges. Service providers have responded with efforts to develop global operations and expertise (with varying degrees of success). In the 1990s, the majority of all outsourcing demand was from American multi-national companies. Today, some of those same companies are subsidiaries of European or Asian conglomerates, while other non-U.S. firms have emerged as increasingly important global operations.
This week in Las Vegas, there are still questions about where outsourcing and globalization are headed, but whether they are viable is no longer in doubt. Now, the viability questions concern issues like sustainability, virtual workforces, and other issues that would not have shown up on anyone’s radar in 1995. It is fun to think about what the agenda of the summit might look like in 2023.