Companies all over the world rely on Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) to keep their enterprise running smoothly. However, as a tech-heavy industry, it’s changing faster than many managers would like to believe. In order to ensure that your business processing tasks are being completed on time and under budget, it’s important to stay abreast on the most recent changes in BPO, especially when it comes to how current IT trends are revolutionizing the sector.
The Growing Role of IT in BPO
BPO companies have long utilized IT to make business more efficient and cost-effective. However, recent trends are showing that IT is no longer just a tool for effective BPO; it has now become a gigantic part of the industry itself.
Although cloud computing, process automation, social media platforms, and business analytics software have been in the market for years, the BPO companies that market these tools as services immediately increase their value to businesses.
Growing to an “As-a-Service” business will be difficult for some BPO companies, which often require a good amount of “immediate cash” to upgrade their technology as fast as their industry evolves. Luckily, technology is getting cheaper. Expertise, however, is in high demand.
BPO Companies Are Doing More
Cheaper technology, of course, means more competition in the marketplace. In order to stay attractive to businesses and their suppliers, BPO companies have been tasked with adding more value to their services.
Offering a “full service package” is one of the biggest trends in the BPO sector, and as cloud and automation technology evolves, mid-sized BPO companies are finding it easier to service companies of all sizes rather than focusing on the ones with the bigger budgets.
A Closer Look at the BPO Relationship
Once, businesses only outsourced their “non-core” processes in an effort to cut costs. As BPO companies proved their efficiency, businesses have realized that they want more of the same. The big identifier is whether or not they want to trust a BPO company with their crucial data.
In short, the BPO company that is able to increase the value of a business while doing the majority of their “grunt work” will see more processes transferred over to them in the long-run. This means that moving forward, establishing a positive relationship with clients, and maintaining that connection will be more important than ever.
How can a BPO company earn the trust of a business, and therefore begin a positive relationship with them? By taking a look at the latest changes in BPO, you can better understand what businesses want from your company and your employees.
BPO Trends for 2016 and Beyond
- Cloud Migration – Mega trends like globalization have made operating in the cloud almost essential to BPO in 2016. Not only does cloud operation allow you to cut costs, but the collaboration that it enables has become worth its weight in gold. The more that BPO companies are able to adapt to cloud technology for most of their work processes, as opposed to just using it as a delivery method, the more that they will be able to create a more efficient working environment while simultaneously offering a new level of transparency and immediacy.
- Collaborative Design – Hand-in-hand with the “cloud anywhere” mentality, businesses will be on the lookout for BPO companies that are able to meet and collaborate, whether face-to-face, or digitally. According to experts, only 20 percent of today’s BPO relationships are described as “collaborative.” In yesterday’s status quo, it was a standard practice to simply imitate processes demonstrated by the business in order to maintain a positive relationship. Today, higher-ups want feedback. What works? What doesn’t work? What will work better? The more that a BPO company can meld expertise with technology, the better off they will be.
- Quality over Cost Efficiency – On that note, a BPO company with better employees is more likely to be trusted over those that are simply less expensive. Although the BPO industry began as an effort to cut costs, outsourcing crucial processes still saves the company money even when experts are behind the wheel. While the final cost of services is still very important (it’s crucial to undercut domestic work forces and competitors), the industry will become more of a balancing act in the future. Instead of simply looking for the cheapest workers, look for the cheapest that also have a firm grip on the industry, and who are willing to collaborate, innovate, and impress.
- Knowledge Process Outsourcing – Of the trends on this list, this is the one that best exemplifies exactly what businesses want from a BPO company. Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) has become a much bigger part of the industry and has exploded in recent years. Although it’s a skilled position that requires a degree and fantastic research and analysis skills, it’s a market that’s predicted to grow up to 23% by 2019. KPO has already seen success when packaged with BPO companies in Asia, proving that businesses are on the lookout for highly-skilled outsourcing partners that will analyze their business practices for them.
- Renewed Focus on Mitigating Risks – In this time of global uncertainty, businesses want assurances that outsourcing their work won’t open them up to any potential risks. Natural disasters, insidious hackers, power failures, and more can disrupt daily processes, which ends up being costly for everyone involved. Companies new to outsourcing may be hesitant to trust, and those that have been burned in the past may ask a lot of questions in order to ensure that they’re in good hands. Site visits, frequent inspections, alternative (or back-up) locations, and disaster recovery plans may be the key to quelling the unnecessary fear of outsourcing.
- Robotic Process Automation – Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can help a BPO company cut costs while maintaining an unimpeachable level of quality and efficiency. Although many have been hyping up the imminent arrival of Automation that will do the bulk of the work, it’s still a little further in the distance. These software bots offer some pretty awesome promises, but surveys have shown that many companies have not quite figured out how they work yet, or what capabilities they have.
The Importance of a Good CIO
Experts agree that these shifts in the fabric of the BPO industry will inevitably mean changes for businesses that use them. Companies that want to outsource their business processes would do well to make sure that their CIO (Chief Information Officer) is fully qualified to handle the amount of research and effort that goes into finding an excellent BPO.
It’s usually the CIO that collaborates with the BPO team and determines which processes can be sent out-of-house, and which systems are interdependent on each other. This can be critical to a company’s success, as a good CIO will know exactly who should be doing which jobs, and which processes are better kept in-house.
The role of the CIO is a big one, and as outsourcing technology continues to grow, that role might only be getting more complicated. In many cases, it will be the CIO that researches how BPO companies can save time and money. It will also be up to the CIO to ensure that any established processes only further support the needs of the business by keeping track of accuracy, availability, consistency, and quality throughout the partnership.
If businesses want to ensure that they are getting the most out of every dollar, they should look more closely at how the BPO industry is changing and take note of how they can take advantage of outsourcing in the future.