This year will see the BPO industry transform itself in a multitude of ways, meaning that businesses must adapt or face the prospect of falling behind their competitors. With a month of 2017 already behind us, what can we expect to come to the sector over the course of the rest of the year – and beyond - in terms of new services and advances in the technology at the heart of the industry?
Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)
Undoubtedly, digital has huge potential: to fundamentally transform the business operating model; to unlock the “impossible challenge”; to greatly accelerate change; and to intimately connect a company to its customers in real time. However, digital can also expose a company’s inner contradictions, reveal hidden pockets of poor performance, and even lead to perceived core capabilities being seen as critical weaknesses. Digital also adds more uncertainties, particularly around customer expectations, which are increasingly defined by the technologies they use in their day-to-day lives.
A couple of months back, we published our Top Ten Outsourcing Acronyms – a piece that had been a long time brewing, after we’d initially put out a call for entries the previous year. Well, as seems frequently to be the case with this series, that publication prompted a flood of new submissions, and we’re delighted to be able now to unveil a hilarious – if somewhat potty-mouthed – sequel.
Regular readers will know that each month I publish a column waxing lyrical about that month’s Outsource Talks webinar (typically a passionate, exuberant piece written from the heart, as I genuinely greatly enjoy hosting these “talkshow”-type events and, along with the audience, tend to learn a great deal from my invariably superlative panellists) and will probably have noticed the absence in November of such a column.
Nearshoring as a way to outsource critical business processes and product development is nothing new to key markets such as software engineering, yet emerging technology, market trends and government mandates are sparking a renewed interest in it as a means to cut costs, enable greater collaboration and provide a competitive edge.
The world is growing increasingly complex. As such, agile capabilities and the ability to quickly adapt to changes in global environments are becoming more and more important. Events like the rise of extremist terror organisations and the dissemination of technology across the world have significantly changed the way in which enterprises interact. Businesses are quickly waking up to the rising demands placed upon them by this new international marketplace. However, too often changes caused by worldwide events catch organisations off guard.
Open data – that is, publically available data that is free for all to use – is set to have a monumental impact on societies in the next five years. Whether it’s information regarding public transport, city policy or city infrastructures, open data enables public sector bodies, businesses and citizens to make more informed decisions about the things that really matter in their society.
I visited Cape Town and Durban recently as a guest of BPESA (Business Process Enabling South Africa) and attended the South Africa BPM Summit 2016. The summit featured local business leaders, industry influencers, and politicians eager to create jobs in South Africa by riding the wave of business process outsourcing (BPO).
I always love hosting our Outsource Talks webinars – but today’s was even more enjoyable than usual, featuring as it did three remarkable professionals gathered together in the same place, rather than dialling in as is customary. Having Morgan Lewis’ Ed Hansen, Ivalua’s Gary Malhotra and Outsource columnist Thom Mead round a table here at the SIG Summit in California was a unique pleasure, generating as it did a delightful degree of interaction alongside the anticipated thought leadership.
A couple of years back, I approached a number of legal process outsourcing (LPO) firms - all of the largest and most reputable American and British ones. Many replied; only one expressed interest and took it further. I made a proposal to establish a centre in Beirut, Lebanon, and was hoping it would go further - but it didn’t.
But what if it had? What would have happened?