Disrupting ourselves with MindPrice to show professional services firms their place in the automation era
It is a fascinating time to be working in an industry that is right on the front line of technology-led disruption.
As someone who operated as an advisor on outsourcing and business strategy through the recent decades, and evolved my company to embrace the huge opportunities offered by automation, I get that this represents a big change and potential threat.
However, the opportunity is great for professional services organisations with the deep business expertise to prosper.
I have read numerous contradictory articles in recent times, from reputable and large professional service firms, which essentially shows their struggle to work out where they fit in the new world.
Some say automation will kill outsourcing, yet others say robotic process automation is a sham and point to an apparent lack of successful proven use cases to ram a false point home.
The truth, as I see it, is that automation is changing what needs to be outsourced to humans, but it certainly does not remove the requirement for deep expertise. This expertise comes from the experience of execution that only seasoned specialists can provide.
These are the often intangible elements that will make a project fly, rather than falling flat, and professional firms will find a way to put a value on that.
We firmly believe in what we like to call “Price of Mind,” with value placed on Meaningful Human Interaction (MHI).
The “location of mind” that provided clients with a labour arbitrage to look good on the profit and loss statement, has less long-term value when investors and directors ask where the next year's savings are coming from.
And what does the business do when the knowledge of how to execute on processes resides in the offshore centers? And these centers are no longer providing you the value they once did?
This is where the smart businesses (and the consultants that advise them) can turn to automation.
Companies can own their own processes again, yet have software rather than in-house staff driving them … and then have their precious human minds focused on the areas that will drive value.
Like all good business ideas today there is an app for that, and I am pleased to say that Mindfields has made one that can help businesses realistically evaluate how they should be executing processes… and it is free.
The app is called MindPrice, and it is available on iOS, Android and Windows devices.
We have essentially automated the part of the Mindfields business which used to provide knowledge on the market for outsourcing
On the app you can pick your process and it will tell you the costs associated with outsourcing it to various locations, helping you decide where to send the work … or even whether to automate it.. It will also assist decision makers to compare the alternatives of outsourcing and automation, as well as linking to descriptions of real world automation use cases.
This app is based on Mindfields' proprietary algorithms, which incorporates machine learning and built with API-based dynamic pricing models.
By giving away what was once our core business knowledge, we aim to be both helpful (you're welcome!) and to demonstrate that we all must evolve in order to thrive in this age.
From 1990 to 2010 it was all about labour arbitrage, from 2010 to 2014 it was value arbitrage and from 2014 onwards- it has become the arbitrage between Man and Machine.
It is Meaningful Human Interaction (MHI) that will drive process costs and prices accordingly … and more importantly for some, that will drive value within those professional service firms agonising about their place in the new world.
Written by Mohit Sharma, Managing Director & Founder, Mindfields