The redoubtable Mark Twain is said to have written that, “Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: ‘There are 3 kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.’”
While the message here appeals to one on a kind of visceral, bluesman level (Can’t you just hear Muddy Waters intoning the Disraeli lines?), I have sometimes wondered how it is that statistics–mere numbers after all–can be said to be playing fast and loose with the truth.
Having taken statistics courses on both the undergraduate and graduate levels, I can fully attest that statistics do often frustrate, befuddle and even infuriate people, but how does it happen that we say the numbers lie?
I think I may have found an example.
A new book on the subject of offshore outsourcing suggests that, “The insurance industry, which has lagged behind others in outsourcing business and technology processes abroad, is now the fastest growing offshore service sector with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33%.”
According to the authors of the 2008 edition of The Black Book of Outsourcing, “Overall, global insurance outsourcing is growing at a CAGR of 8%, expected to become a $24 billion industry next year. Onshore sourcing relationships are the favored destination of 91% of insurance firms, while 9% elect to have suppliers from abroad.
“However, that mix is shifting offshore at a breaking pace,” the authors state in a news release.
Black Book findings for the Insurance Industry include:
o Nearly three-quarters of global insurers currently use at least one information technology outsourcer and one business process outsourcer.