As conventional BPO fades out, it's time for next-gen BPO innovators!
"Robotics Process Automations, Artificial intelligence, Machine Learning" - you heard it right. These were yesterday's buzz words and today's practical ones. These words are now becoming more and more meaningful, relevant and real for BPOs.
Labor arbitrage, global delivery model, process improvements, bolt-on technology automations, optimizations, and service levels have become a thing of the past. The BPO world is already in an era of technology led innovation, as it is the case in other industries as well & quite rightly so. Business value, end-to-end KPI ownership, operational and business analytics are gaining more and more significance.
Practically what does this mean for BPO providers?
If you have a close look at BPO provider's penetration, over the period of the last 4-5 years, there were a whole lot of new entrants to the market. Of course, the capabilities of these individual providers vary from each other. While a majority of the BPO service providers have the capability to deliver repetitive, non-core, transactional scope of work from a low cost offshore location, the time has come, which questions the mere existence of service providers in the market vis-à-vis these capabilities.
Automation is a tactical priority for the buyers in the market and this priority is here to stay. Almost 4 out of 5 buyers give maximum weightage to automation led transformation/innovation of their business processes, be it finance & accounting, procurement, order management or customer services.
Automation is nothing new to the BPO industry, but the way it is re-shaping the industry itself is quite different, unique & complex too. A combination of aspects like innovation, re-engineering, design thinking backed by strong technology capabilities are re-defining the way conventional BPO services are being delivered.
In short, the time is ripe for automation led digital transformation of services under the BPO umbrella and only those providers who can manage this transformation are here to stay.
Here is the snapshot of how the BPO industry has evolved over the period of years, changing buyer focus/priority areas and its resultant impact on the BPO providers.
Success ingredients for BPO today
As the expectations from BPO providers are moving northwards, for all the right reasons, the number of BPO providers who can sustain buyers' rapidly changing expectations are the ones who will remain. The critical success ingredients for today's BPO providers would include:
• Top line & bottom line impact - A service provider is being looked upon as a business partner and one critical expectation is how the service provider can positively impact an organization's top and bottom line.
• Automation - The ability to deliver extreme automation for end-to-end processes without compromising on controls and compliance is increasingly gaining importance. These would include platform solutions, robotics, analytics infused with artificial intelligence / machine learning capabilities, thereby positively impacting efficiency, effectiveness, experience and business value.
• Integrated IT and BPO capabilities - This is one of the key requirements as the number of multi tower IT + BPO deals are in an increasing trend.
• Innovation - Innovation at all means, is the expectation from the buyers in the market and buyers are willing to work closely with the providers to achieve innovation.
• Ownership of end-to-end KPIs - The provider being a transformation partner to the buyers, are expected to own end-to-end KPIs and take responsible for the ultimate outcome of business processes.
"Differentiate, innovate, automate, sustain" is today's mantra. Hence, BPO providers need to be on their toes on fine-tuning, building and acquiring capabilities at a rapid pace. The next-generation BPO service provider will need to make significant investments to deliver on these expectations and continue being relevant in the outsourcing market.