When the dust settled after the U.S. presidential election a few weeks ago, the nation of Canada didn’t sit by quietly. Canada’s government put the word out that it would continue to embrace immigrants and the rich cultural heritage new citizens bring to one of the world’s wealthiest countries. In uncharacteristic boldness, Canada moved to stand in sharp contrast to its longtime partner – the United States and its newly elected leader – choosing diversity over denigration, open arms instead of closed borders.
This statement certainly wasn’t lost on us at Nearshore Americas. We had already been planning to launch a new conference in Toronto (more on Sourcing Decisions 2017 below) coming in March of next year, but the victory by Trump and what he represents put our plans into high gear.
As we have discussed many times over the years at Nearshore Americas, the services sourcing industry is a people business and talking yourself into believing it’s something else is delusional. We cannot pretend that the tone of Mr. Trump doesn’t have impacts on how IT and BPO business is conducted across the Americas and across the world. Of course there will be adjustments, pains and a new reality – getting a clearer understanding of this new terrain is absolutely critical. Coming together with sourcing peers, in a neutral environment like Toronto, should provide just the right amount of fresh air to put this disruption into better perspective. Of course, our conference will be offering far more topical value, which I further outline in our ‘top ten’ list below.
For many readers, Sourcing Decisions is an near-term opportunity to begin constructing a “Plan B” – by analyzing diversification into perhaps the new, most stable country in North America – Canada!
In the meantime, we want to make really clear that Sourcing Decisions is open to all: No matter what country you live in, or which side of the sourcing equation, or borderline, you sit (buyer, seller, country promotions agent, consultant, entrepreneur, investor), you are very much invited to be part of this timely event. Here are the reasons why:
1. Greater Toronto: A core location for global ICT services
Toronto is ranked as the third largest North American center for technology firms, behind San Francisco/ Silicon Valley and New York City, generating $52 billion in revenues annually. Toronto is a big deal for IT and global services: The government gets it and is heavily invested in increasing the influence of GTA (Greater Toronto Area) in making a bigger global impact. Without question, Toronto is poised for great recognition – and we will get a deeper view into why.
2. Risks and Realities Around Robotics and Automation
We’re very proud to host Linda Tuck Chapman, former Chief Procurement Officer at Bank of Montreal (among other notable posts), who will lead a panel discussion on guiding sourcing leaders to become smarter about how to use new automation tools to increase efficiency, reduce cost of operations, while also minimizing new risks. (Linda is also a former contributing columnist with Nearshore Americas.)
3. Putting Economics and Currency in Perspective
Canada’s dollar is projected to drop to 70-cents to the US dollar next year, reflecting a 30% decline in the last four years. There is a growing argument that with weak demand for fossil-fuel energy, the oil markets in Canada will continue to be depressed and keep the currency under pressure. This trend is a significant issue for outsourcers who seek to benefit from labor arbitrage – making Canada a particularly intriguing, class-by-itself destination.
For some, Canada becomes an even more compelling location to place greenfield ICT operations; for others, including large Canadian enterprises, the ability to expand into new markets becomes worthy of further analysis given growing scarcity of IT labor.
4. Digital Enterprise: A Practical Look at Customer Engagement
How are some of Canada’s leading enterprises capitalizing on new digital customer engagement channels? We’re proud to be hosting two key leaders (from ScotiaBank and The Toronto Star) to explore their own experiences using digital platforms to increase customer loyalty and leverage new customer data. Our longtime friend and analyst extraordinaire Peter Ryan, formerly of Ovum, leads this discussion and will be injecting new insights about working in nearshore and offshore environments.
5. The Vendor Management Truth-Teller
Both maligned and often misunderstood, the vendor management function at medium to large enterprises is in a state of flux. In our opinion, one of the sharpest minds in understanding this shift and keeping vendor management in the right context is Tim Norton, director of vendor management at UPS, who gathered much of his industry knowledge working for GE for over three decades. Tim will lead a chalk talk on the new dynamics and pressures of vendor management – expect a mix of truth-telling frankness and practical pointers – like “Vendor, we don’t want your best people”, drawn from one of Tim’s recent commentaries.
6. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: What CIOs are Really Concerned About
Major Canadian enterprises and universities are taking a bolder stand in support of A.I. research, drawing a connection between academic research and real-world application. This commitment to innovation is also spilling into the domain of entrepreneurs, which may well contribute to Toronto becoming an important hub for A.I. solutions. Yet, CIOs are increasingly seeking to justify expansion into A.I. by pursuing better answer to time-honored concerns like reliability, quality of service and accountability. We will seek to unlock these critical matters.
7. Network with Colleagues from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Caribbean and Latin America
Getting perspective on the many pressures faced by global businesses means, in our book, having candid and open conversations with people who can offer a fresh viewpoint. Whether its currency, labor laws, rules around FDI, incentives, real estate options, trends around shared services, or talent availability — creating an environment where attendees can gain a broad, regional, and global perspective is a central goal of the conference.
8. Nearshore Dividend: The Best Value for Your Money
Nearshore Americas will share new data on BPO and ITO wages from various markets throughout the region in order to get a sharper understanding of wage and wage pressures. This information sharing will be shared in the context of defining the new requirements of a successful Nearshore-partner relationship – taking into account geopolitical pressures, the movement of personnel from one market to another, and the new opportunities for sourcing leaders to apply the benefits of automation.
9. The Right Venue for a Certain Kind of Audience
Orchestrating events aimed at a multinational audience is something we have specialized in since 2001, when our group held the first annual Nearshore Nexus conference outside of New York City. Over the years, we have hosted two former Presidents (Costa Rica and Colombia) as well as some of the biggest names in global and Nearshore IT and BPO businesses. Therefore, we know our audience and we know the type of environment needed for a high-caliber event. Our Sourcing Decisions 2017 forum will be held at the modern and convenient St. Andrews Club and Conference Centre, in Toronto’s financial district.
10. Registration Special Through to the End of December
We invite you to to consider taking advantage of our early-bird registration special – available through to the end of December. In the meantime, we look forward to seeing many of you in Toronto for this very special gathering. (Limited speaking and sponsorship opportunities are still available – reach Kirk Laughlin for details.)
A final note: Our annual Nexus conference will be held May 24, 2017 in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Further information, including the host location, will be provided in January, 2017).
Interesting in Sourcing and Services in Canada? Join us for a brand new conference “Sourcing Decisions 2017” in Toronto coming in March, 2017: LEARN MORE and REGISTER