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History of the GSA

Consistent Focus On Promoting Best Practice In Sourcing

The Global Sourcing Association is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year. In those 30 years, the association has grown from a spark of an idea to being the pre-eminent promoter of sourcing.

Although outsourcing as an abstract concept is older than the Roman Empire, the modern incarnation of outsourcing – with its IT-enabled influence on business processes has really come to the fore over the last 20 years.

Outsourcing was once a radical concept

In May 1987, in the Telecom Tower, London, a radical idea was floated - British Rail should get British Telecom to handle its telecommunications capability.

British Rail managers wanted some reassurance that outsourcing worked and a body of evidence was requested, to prove this new idea was possible.

In the end, the deal didn’t come off, as British Rail was soon to be privatised, but the seeds of The National Outsourcing Association were sown.

Nick Kane from British Telecom, and David Rayner, of British Rail, as well as representatives of GEC, Unilever, Trafalgar House, France Telecom got together and held regular meetings as a forum for comparing notes on experiences – this began the body of evidence which the NOA continues to develop to this day.

A Snapshot of the Late 80s

In 1987 outsourcing was limited to on-shore, mainly in telecommunications. Only when the telecommunications markets were liberalised from the early 1990s onwards did outsourcing really start to take off. Coupled with the rise and rise of computing power and application software it was possible to achieve significant cost savings, quality and rapid deployment benefits by outsourcing. However, the contracting vehicles were not very sophisticated and many customers and suppliers found themselves in contracting muddles leading to dissatisfaction, issues which are being progressively addressed to this day.

The Need for the NOA

The NOA was a response to a growing need for both outsourcing customers and suppliers to share ideas, review successes and failures, and stop re-inventing wheels. In doing so creating a body of expertise and best practice that could carry the industry forward.

As more and more organisations looked towards outsourcing to obtain strategic business step changes, The NOA was among first to recognise that alignment of organisational business objectives was arguably the most important factor in outsourcing.

The NOA Today (The GSA)

Currently we have over 300 corporate members which are split into three member categories: buyers, suppliers and support service companies. A large number of members are blue-chip user organisations - some managing the largest European outsourcing deals. We also have 18,000 individual contacts and are currently rolling out a new individual membership level. Today we have an even ratio of buyer : supplier corporate members (50:50).

In 2016, the NOA rebranded itself as the Global Sourcing Association (GSA) to reflect the international reach of the group and to respond to growing requests from foreign destinations for market support.

Whether you need a skilled outsourcing professional or wish to become one, the GSA is the leading body for developing the outsourcing profession and industry.

Become a member

You can become a member of the GSA-UK in two easy steps. Simply enter your organisation's name and choose a membership type below to take your first steps to becoming a GSA-UK member.

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