It’s almost time for the IAOP Outsourcing World Summit 2018. The annual mega event for outsourcing professionals (across procurement, contract management, supplier management, finance and IT functions) will be held in Orlando, FL from 18-21 February. For three days, industry experts, executives, commentators, academicians, analysts, and advisors will get together to discuss the emerging opportunities and challenges in outsourcing.

This year’s theme is “The Reincarnation of Outsourcing: From Disruption to Domination (When Disruption is Everywhere).” As new business models emerge and new technologies like AI, RPA, and blockchain present unprecedented possibilities, things are going to get more complex before the promise of simplification is realized. This event focuses on how companies can better understand the potential of these new enablers and maximize the return on their investments in these emerging areas. For this, it will be important to connect the emerging levers to core business areas like governance, contracts, negotiations, innovation and value creation which are still as important as ever.

There are several interesting breakout sessions (over 40, I am told) on everything from digitalization and automation to cloud platforms. Here are some of the sessions that look really interesting and relevant:

  • How Blockchain is Poised to Transform Contract Management in Outsourcing
  • Vested Outsourcing: Redefining Winning in Business Relationships
  • Sourcing & Vendor Management’s Excellence Adventure

SirionLabs’ founder and CEO, Ajay Agrawal, will be speaking on blockchain and how it presents a huge opportunity to transform the way outsourcing contracts are managed. While most people identify blockchain through bitcoins, it has tremendous potential in procurement related areas including contract management. Ajay’s presentation titled ‘How Blockchain is Poised to Transform Contract Management in Outsourcing’ explores this further.

So, what’s the session about? As outsourcing’s traditional value drivers – cost arbitrage and hard-negotiations – have plateaued, effective collaboration is emerging as a key driver for value realization in outsourcing (Deloitte’s 2017 CPO survey ranks supplier collaboration as one of the top value drivers for CPOs).

The distributed ledger approach used in blockchains makes it an ideal enabler of inter-enterprise (between client and supplier) and intra-enterprise (across enterprise functions) collaboration. This session will include insights on how this ‘blockchain-ed’ contract management works and how it is positioned to deliver better outcomes in outsourcing relationships.

In my opinion, here are five things to look forward to at the IAOP OWS 2018.

  1. Learn how emerging technologies like blockchain, AI, and RPA are going to enable better value realization in outsourcing
  2. Discover how the leaders of today’s outsourcing ecosystem are preparing for the future of outsourcing
  3. Real-world outsourcing case studies with lessons from successful (and not so successful) innovations
  4. Confer, converse and otherwise hob-nob with peers and experts
  5. See the world’s most advanced contract lifecycle management software, Sirion, live in action at booth #63

If you are going to be at the event, do stop by our booth #63 to say hello to our team and chat with our CEO, Ajay Agrawal and President, Claude Marais about the exciting new future of outsourcing and the challenges that lie along the way.