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Q&A with Stuart Wallace

Q&A with Stuart Wallace

Welcome to our Q&A session with Stuart Wallace, Chief Operations Officer of SmartPA. We'll explore how effective leadership drives organisational potential, the outsourcing versus in-house recruitment dilemma, the importance of resilience in procurement, and emerging trends shaping business strategies. Let's dive in!


How can effective leadership unleash the potential within an organisation, particularly in today's fast-paced business environment?


"I think it's a job of leaders in all organisations to identify the next generation of leadership, I think that has to be your focus. So I think if you're looking to elevate the business, if you're looking to drive the business forward, if you're looking to develop, especially with one eye to the future, the leaders in the business today need to make clear that that opportunity also exists for the next generation. I think behind that, it's important to tell them, so to have a strategy that those individuals know that that's where our expectations are and that we build a development plan for them and make sure they've got the opportunities so that they can deliver on all of that and step forward at the right time."


What are the key considerations for businesses when deciding between outsourcing and recruiting in house?

"The number one thing you have to focus on and the question you have to ask is what's the problem you're trying to solve? So quite often we'll have that conversation with businesses where it's clear there is a cost measure, or there is a resourcing challenge, and the first question you always pose is, what's the issue you're really trying to get behind? So are you trying to release core individuals back to their core competency, how are they driving value? How do you really get under the skin of what that issue is? And then you sit together with your outsourcer, build objectives around that to make sure that we are going forward together on the project, that there are measurables there that you can make sure that both we and you are delivering on the KPIs, so you get to the best answer possible."


Why is resilience important in procurement, and how can procurement leaders build resilience into their processes effectively?

"One of the questions to be answered is how do you ensure that you're being as broad as possible, as efficient as possible in your procurement process? So what do I mean by that? Well, if you procure as a business and you only have a small window of who the providers are, you’re probably limiting the ability to get the best answer. Whereas I think if you’re looking at procurement specialists who will know the market and using outsourced virtual admin as an example, if the market and the procurement specialists know that SmartPA are best in class, whenever a business goes out to procure in that way, they will be asking the question, have you included SmartPA in that process? I think that's how you get resilience in there, just to make sure that you test all the possibilities as widely as possible without spending a huge amount of time."


What emerging trends do you anticipate shaping leadership, outsourcing, and procurement strategies in the near future?


"I think one of the strong trends has to be ESG. To give you an example, SmartPA is looking strongly some African locations and running programs that will bring women and young people back into work, but against the backdrop of doing the right thing in those locations. I think what complements that is a strong strategy around technology. So to make sure your solutions are tech enabled, to make sure we're looking at functions like artificial intelligence. So what's it going to give us? Again, how do we deploy that to give the best answer to the client? And also looking at things like machine learning and automation, just to make sure we've got a slick and efficient process that will be efficient for clients using the best AI solutions, but also looking at people and doing the right thing by them in those locations."


Stuart Wallace copy

Stuart Wallace

Chief Operating Officer


About SmartPA

SmartPA is a pioneer of remote, outsourced admin and business support, providing individual SmartPAs, multi-skilled cross-functional teams, and full lift and drop admin process outsourcing. Working with more than 5,000 businesses of all sizes world-wide, SmartPA draws on a global talent pool of accredited SmartPAs, with a Centre of Excellence based in the UK, near shore hubs in South Africa and Uganda, and an offshore hub in Malaysia.

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