Asad Khan, President and Founder of ePlanet Communications Inc. says "Selecting the Right BPO partner requires a needs analysis and careful consideration of culture and location." Khan takes a close look at those considerations in the following article.
With a growth rate of 5 percent per year, the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry has become an integral part of strategy and finance within the global business economy. Corporate behemoths outsource everything from software development and IT services to payroll and call center support to save money on overhead and human resources. Per a report by John Chow, outsourcing can save as much as 60 percent on overhead costs.
Small businesses and startups are beginning to recognize benefits outside of cost savings to meet their unique needs. More and more, startups are viewing outsourcing as a way to remain competitive, innovate and grow. An Economist report indicates that 37 percent of companies use outsourcing as a growth hack. Startups are discovering that outsourcing allows access to top talent without a great expenditure, lowers the risks associated with intellectual property and frees up time better spent on marketing or product development. In fact, the Economist reveals that outsourcing can boost productivity and competitiveness 10- to 100- fold.
With knowledge gaps accounting for 18 percent of startup failures, outside expertise provides needed intellectual capital for small business success. Even the smartest entrepreneur cannot be an expert at everything; there are simply not enough hours in the day to accomplish all that your startup requires. But I would caution startups to thoroughly vet a BPO before hiring them.
Ample research is advisable when looking to hire an outsourcing partner to ensure that they will be able to work well within a company’s development strategy. Depending on your needs, you might look at what experience the BPO provider has in your industry. A good BPO partner will have the regulatory certifications and expertise to securely manage your processes. For instance, payroll providers should have PCI (Payment Card Industry) certification in place and a health insurance call center should be familiar with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
The security of intellectual property and customer information is another area where BPOs should be carefully evaluated. Recent attention to call center fraud, where callers dupe unsuspecting consumers out of personal information or money, has emphasized the need to demand transparency in a BPO partner. In certain cultures, intellectual property does not enjoy adequate protection under local law. For example, in China and Vietnam, 90 percent of software is pirated.
If your objective is to grow your business quickly, you do not want to be hampered by regulatory concerns or scandal.
Beyond industry expertise and security related issues, location is important to consider when looking to optimize an investment in BPO. Different countries and cultures offer better fits for different needs. Rising labor and property costs are increasingly pricing India and China out of basic administrative functions like call center support, for example, while an increasingly better education system makes these countries attractive for IT and technology development functions. Recently, the Philippines has taken over as the most popular call center hub partly because the English Filipinos speak is closer to American English.
Emerging markets In Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia offer the language and technical skills needed for a successful BPO partner with much lower labor costs than the U.S. My pick for future BPO investment would be Vietnam. The country has a really young population that has been encouraged to develop IT skills. Operational costs in Vietnam are still very attractive as well.
In their BPO report, Cushman & Wakefield describe Vietnam has having one of the best quality to cost ratios for BPO investment.
About Asad Khan:
Asad Khan is the President and founder of ePlanet Communications Inc. Being a founder and co-founder of multiple companies around the globe, ranging from banking to digital distribution, venture capitals, nutraceuticals, logistics, and BPOs, Khan is well versed with the dynamics of business trends and specifically the value in Business Process Outsourcing.
About ePlanet Communications:
ePlanet Communications is a global business process outsourcing provider with extensive experience in call center operations, digital media solutions, and direct response solutions. By using its integrated channel management capabilities and highly-trained staff, ePlanet develops and deploys inbound and outbound customer support fully integrated with its clients’ marketing campaigns.
Published: Friday, March 24, 2017
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