No PIGS for Legal Process Outsourcing
May 24, 2010
There is no shortfall of headlines and pundits speaking on the troubles that the European Union (E.U.) and their Euro currency have been facing. There is small group of E.U members which have managed to tarnish the E.U’s global perception. They are collectively and coldly referred to as the PIGS nations. It’s an acronym and spells a word that does not evoke a comfortable feeling. And being a member of the PIGS group is even less than comfortable. Any executive within the LPO industry would dread receiving a similar association especially since they work so diligently to build the trust and comfort of their clients.
The PIGS name is assigned to the troubled economies of Europe: Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain. It’s not very flattering, but shows how dire the situation is for them with little or no investment occurring to stimulate their economies. However, what is worse is the lack of confidence due to the underlying sentiment felt throughout the global capital markets towards the E.U. because of their common currency.
The currency, if you will, of Legal Process Outsourcing is our collective cost advantage and the dedicated, skilled workforce we possess. Our currency gets us in the door to compete and offer the LPO service. A dilution of our currency is not something any of us wish for the industry. It’s our greatest strength, and something we need to work collectively to ensure does not happen. There are arguably many root causes for a dilution to occur, but when quietly overlooked it can crop up around the corner.
As with any competitive industry, new participants are constantly looking to enter the LPO market. It appears to me – I’m sure you will agree – that there is a new LPO popping up every week somewhere. The LPO fervor it seems draws anyone who has a staff involved in some form of BPO sitting in front of a PC during U.S. business hours to join the party. The fear I have is that unless new LPO entrants do their homework, and truly understand all of the ingredients to become a member of this ‘club’, mismanagement could dilute the LPO’s currency. Don’t get me wrong, I welcome new entrants in Legal Process Outsourcing, especially since competition tends to breed innovation.
Yes, Legal Process Outsourcing industry is different than the E.U. I am aware of that. But a main difference is the fact that the E.U leadership is working collectively to fix the problems. LPO is comparatively a loose community. It’s a competitive bunch with each having their company’s interest in mind. However, the good work of each LPO contributes to the overall industry’s positive recognition. There is no committee which can come in and pick up the pieces after an LPO firm receives a dreaded PIGS award. A considerable slip up, some bad press, and suddenly Legal Process Outsourcing could have its back against the wall.
Although I don’t believe that will necessarily occur, I do feel overlooking even the possibility of our currency’s dilution cannot be ignored. Executives and managers should keep it in the back of their minds managing day-to-day operations. When starting up and offering services, or having delivered the LPO service for a few years now, be cognizant of the weight of decisions to pursue all tactics and strategies has on the industry.
It’s safe to say no one wants to be bestowed a PIGS Award, let’s not give anyone a reason to hand it out.