Over the last two decades, outsourcing has revolutionized the way enterprises approach a range of functions, from document scanning to human resources to IT services. Today, 97 percent of Global 2000 companies have a significant outsourcing relationship, according to HfS Research.[i] Outsourcing has become the new way of doing business.
Why BPOs are gaining steam
As industry after industry faces digital disruption, businesses are increasingly relying on their outsourcing partners to help them navigate this change. Partnering with a business process outsourcing (BPO) provider allows businesses to focus on their core competencies. Also, by outsourcing back-office workflows, organizations can spend more time serving customers and delivering value – two key tenants for achieving a successful digital transformation. The value of a BPO lies in their expertise to deliver greater efficiency and quality at scale.
Service innovation in a digital world
For BPOs, offering innovative services is key to maintaining customers through this period of digital disruption. Here’s a look at three value-added solutions that BPOs are offering to better meet the requirements of their customers and stay competitive in a landscape being reshaped by digital transformation.
It’s no longer enough to offer an isolated service or take on unwanted, labor-intensive tasks. Today, businesses want strategic partners that can streamline entire processes. For example, a BPO that once focused on inputting invoices for a client now manages an entire accounts payable workflow from purchase orders being raised to actually collecting the payment against the invoice. Leaving these processes to the professionals frees up the business to focus on its core mission — driving value and innovation.
The ballooning business process as a service (BPaaS) market reflects this desire to outsource entire workflows. The market is projected to grow from $1.62 billion in 2015 to $4.71 billion by 2020 — a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.7 percent.[ii] The exponential growth of the cloud plays a huge role in this surge, as it becomes faster and easier to engineer and deliver custom processes for businesses.
Business analytics is another fast-growing arena. Market research firm Technavio predicts that the global BPO business analytics market will grow at a CAGR of 37.4 percent between 2016 and 2020.[iii] The need to optimize business operations, acquire new customers, increase market share, and deal with regulatory compliance pressures are driving the demand. Business analytics is helpful for strategic decision-making, enabling organizations to understand their customers, reduce operational costs, and improve business efficiency and competitiveness.
BPOs and service bureaus as particularly well positioned to take advantage of all the data they have about their customers’ processes. By analyzing this data, they can provide insights about customer behavior and trends — and predict how these could change in the future.
BPOs and service bureaus have always competed on their ability to complete processes faster and cheaper. Even as BPOs move into more strategic, consultative roles with their customers, speed and efficiency are still job one. Increasingly, leaders are turning to intelligent automation to give them an edge.
This is especially true when it comes to the paper processes that—even in a digital-first world—remain the foundation of many outsourcing operations. In such a fast- paced environment, automating as many manual processes as possible is crucial. In addition to document preparation and scanning tasks, advanced information management technology such as scanners and software can speed up data extraction and classification, ultimately automating full workflows from start to finish. These solutions not only help BPOs and service bureaus deliver on their promise of speed, but they also free up internal resources to pursue new revenue-driving service offerings.
In today’s hypercompetitive environment, BPOs and service bureaus need to deliver more than ever before. The service provider of the past has given way to what HfS Research calls a “capability broker” laser-focused on improving business incomes. Offering innovative services that adapt to customers’ changing needs is critical for BPOs to remain relevant in the digital age.
[i] “The BPO Profession in 2015,” HfS Research, April 2015
[ii] “Business Process as a Service Market,” MarketsandMarkets, November 2015
[iii] “Global BPO Business Analytics Market 2016-2020,” Technavio, 10 Feb. 2016