Industry Research : 2014 Trends to Watch: Front-Office BPO Report
With the dynamic nature of the technology and services markets, Ovum expects contact center outsourcing vendors and their clients to diversify their services, for the use of home-based agents to increase in the US, for healthcare to become the prime vertical opportunity, and for a new offshore dynamic to emerge in 2014.
The '2014 Trends to Watch: Front-Office BPO' report says that contact center outsourcing vendors and their clients need to be aware of four principal trends for 2014. These are:
- It will be a priority among competitive vendors in this space to move into higher margin territory by promoting deeper breadth of end-user-focused services.
- Home-based agents will remain popular in the US through 2014, but this business model's popularity will remain limited in the rest of the developed world.
- In terms of verticals, the take up of contact center services will grow fastest in healthcare during 2014, as payers and providers aim to maximize service efficiencies and manage costs.
- The offshore service dynamic in 2014 will see renewed interest in certain mature locations and new possibilities in emerging countries.
Peter Ryan, principal analyst, global IT services and author of the report says: "Ovum's annual CRM Outsourcing Business Trends survey indicated that budgets would either remain flat or decrease in 2014. The net impact on contact center outsourcers is clear; the majority of enterprises are likely to drive the hardest bargains when engaging with third-party providers.
"2014 will see options for outsourcers to avoid ceding excessive amounts of margin, of which the most obvious is to deepen their functional capabilities in conjunction with their more traditional offerings, rather than broaden their outsourced offerings."
The trend of using home-based agents will mainly be concentrated in the US. Ovum's research found that in Australia, Canada, and Western Europe, deployments would be maintained or decreased. The US will account for 90 percent of third-party home-based agent deployments in 2014. Meanwhile, less than 20 percent of outsourcers in any other country indicated any type of increase, a fact unlikely to be lost on both pure-play and bricks-and-mortar providers of this business model.
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Another trend emerging is the new offshore dynamic: mature locations such as India and South Africa have vaulted into the four most popular locations for offshore delivery of contact center services.
Ryan concludes: "Ovum recommends that enterprises should seek vendors that offer a mix of delivery models and have strategic capabilities in place. Vendors, on the other hand, need to invest in talent and technology, and determine the optimal mix of delivery models to stay ahead."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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