Experts, what experts?


What happens when your advisors get it wrong? That’s what a fellow member asked me at an NOA meeting last week.

His department had chosen outsourcing advisors, a usual government procurement strategy, to source a supplier.

The advisors appeared to be the perfect people for the job, they certainly appeared, at first glance, to have the right credentials.

One was described in their CV as one of the outsourcing field’s best-known and most-respected leaders and another was supposed to be one of the world’s foremost outsourcing experts, all the rest were senior experts and professionals in outsourcing and their company was even listed in a global outsourcing list.

So what went wrong? “They just didn’t understand outsourcing” said the disgruntled NOA member. “They may have worked on outsourcing projects in the past, but only in small parts.

Together with our advisors we seemed to have missed quite a few tricks. Of course, our potential suppliers were far too polite to point this out and were probably just thankful that we didn’t drive as hard a bargain as we could have.”

I asked him the names of these world renowned experts and I must admit I hadn’t heard of any of them.

A Google search revealed that they only appeared on their company’s web site, nowhere else.

This raised a question, how can they claim to be renowned? A quick search for the global outsourcing list revealed a less than reliable source. A company can appear on the list provided they pay a fee.

What can be done to tackle these misleading claims? How can anyone know whether someone is “renowned” or not?

How many CVs have you seen or heard at conferences that describe an individual as a “world expert” or a “leader in his field”? My new friend and I had come to an NOA meeting to discover the remedy to such wild claims.

We were attending the “soft” launch of the UK’s first (and we believe world’s first), academically accredited professional outsourcing qualifications and training, NOA Pathway.

In short NOA Pathway is designed to complement any outsourcing professional’s career, from the basics to a masters level diploma.

This will allow companies to academically qualify a member of staff at any stage of the outsourcing chain. The qualifications are fully accredited, which allows businesses and individuals to genuinely exhibit their credentials and learning in the outsourcing sphere.

Ok, it’s not an instant fix, but it is certainly a start. Procurement teams will eventually be able to identify exactly how qualified a prospective supplier is, simply by examining their people’s qualifications and professional experience.

The NOA member exclaimed that we should have done this earlier! I imagine that there are a few others in the industry who feel as though they have been let down by advisors with questionable claims to qualifications and experience.

I believe that this innovative step from the NOA will help to establish a best practice benchmark. A benchmark that all professionals within the industry will not only be aware of, but will insist upon.

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