When you think about how the business world is changing and how those changes affect the workforce and talent issues, a good place to look first is Amazon.
In the background, it's a been a hub of innovation through it's rollout of corporate services (look up Amazon Web Services to see how it's crushing cloud competitors) and consumer products alike (Kindle, Alexa). It's so into investing for the future and innovation that it basically keeps it's profitability at zero by reinvesting all earnings into forward-looking ventures (click that link to see the chart).
Sometimes we forget that the advances cause big shifts in the workforce. The giant sucking sound you hear is the slow implosion of the retail sector, with a lot of jobs going with it.
Next up after retail? How about Amazon rolling up the call center industry? More from GeekWire:
"Amazon Web Services is developing a suite of cloud-based tools to sell to enterprises that would help them manage their call centers, based on technology the online commerce giant developed for its own retail call centers, according to a report from The Information.
According to the report, citing a person briefed on the plans, the programs will incorporate Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa to answer some questions on the phone as well as via text message. The report claims the service will also employ Lex, a chatbot building service that uses the same deep-learning technology as Alexa, and text-to-speech program Polly. All these aspects together paint the picture of a suite of tools that allows customers to build their own customer service programs using bots and voice control with the ability to learn and adapt to specific industries.
The Information reports that the new products could be announced as soon as mid-March and could jolt the call center software industry. It’s a market that features many players such as Seattle-based Spoken, as well as other companies like Cisco Systems, Avaya and Genesys.
Amazon Web Services has been in the news a lot lately for new products that it has announced and others it is considering. Amazon’s cloud service arm is reportedly considering bundling its email, file storage, and video conferencing apps into a productivity suite that would compete with Google G Suite and Microsoft Office 365."
If there's any good news in this for current call center outsourcers, it's that Amazon seems intent on owning the technology part of the call center business model rather than owning actual call centers. Of course, at one time it didn't have any interest in the shipping business either, and it's now getting ready to ramp up it's own fleet of planes and hub.
Thanks for the memories, Fed Ex and UPS. I'm sure Amazon will name a conference room after you to commemorate what you meant to each other at one time.
The good news for HR? Amazon doesn't seem to have any interest in rolling up the HR industry.