Norwich Union announced a couple of weeks ago that they were cutting 4,000 UK jobs and creating 1,000 in India.  So far, an everyday tale of offshoring.  But the interesting bit was a comment apparently made on the radio by Patrick Snowball,  NU’s executive chairman (a job title which I thought wasn’t supposed to exist in these days of modern corporate governance).  Richard Allan was listening:

He said that this was the result of the dot com revolution finally working through to his business a few years after the hype. This has meant that 50% of all their new car insurance business is now being done a self-service basis on the web.

Richard is probably the only person in history to occupy the intersection of the sets ‘former MP’ and ‘current Cisco employee’ and so makes the obvious comparison:

What may become much more controversial is the choice faced by the public sector in the same circumstances. As people increasingly use government services on a self-service basis then there is similar scope for efficiency savings with the same consequences of job losses and off-shoring. This is the expectation that in part underpins the Gershon review that is intended to deliver billions of pounds of savings. But whether or not politicians will feel as comfortable defending their dot com revolution as the Chairman of Aviva remains to be seen.