How to do a successful business process management outsourcing

How to do a successful business process management outsourcing

How to do a successful business process management outsourcing

What is business process management, also referred to as BPM?

A definition of BPM is made available by BPM.com: “Business Process Management (BPM) is a discipline involving any combination of modeling, automation, execution, control, measurement and optimization of business activity flows, in support of enterprise goals, spanning systems, employees, customers and partners within and beyond the enterprise boundaries.”

New age providers like oWorkers are well positioned to support clients in their BPM journey. We have chosen to focus on data related services, and are happy to report that we are counted as one of the top three providers of BPM services in our chosen domain.

 

The rise of Business process management outsourcing

BPM appears to be a more recent phenomena in terms of awareness and there are indications that it has been the outcome of the continued success of the process outsourcing industry and the value it has added.

In fact, NASSCOM, the industry association that represents the software and IT-enabled services companies in India, the biggest outsourcing destination, has been proposing for over a decade that the process outsourcing industry should adopt Business Process Management (BPM) as its name and shed the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) tag. However, BPO continues to be the term used more commonly.

The logic for replacing BPO with BPM appears to be based on the maturity of the industry and what it was doing. Though it may have started as the outsourcing of tasks and executing them in an efficient and economical manner, vendors have been able to go much beyond this original brief and add value in different ways, such as:

  • They have been able to bring about improvements in the processes that they were handling, making them more efficient.
  • Aided perhaps by the aggregated volumes across many clients, they have successfully created platforms in certain cases and converted hitherto manual operations into digital ones.

Thus, they have been able to create value for clients over and above what may have been originally envisaged.

Additionally, while outsourcing seems to indicate the engagement of an external party, many large companies opted for setting up their own spin-off units or subsidiary companies to focus on business processes for the mother ship. It is perhaps a technicality whether to consider this as an outsourcing arrangement or not. For the purists it may not constitute outsourcing while for the functionally oriented, one department of a company doing work for another department could also be considered as outsourcing.

These are some of the imperatives that may have impelled the introduction of BPM and its subsequent gain in popularity.

And our clients appreciate our support. Many of the BPM clients of oWorkers report savings in excess of 70% when compared with their pre outsourcing costs. This is true for almost all our clients from the US and Western Europe. More than 80% of our clients are technology companies, including several unicorn marketplaces.

 

BPM and BPO – a comparison

How is it different from business process outsourcing, or BPO? While business process management outsourcing (BPM) and business process outsourcing (BPO) may, at least on the surface, seem like the same thing, there are differences between the two that need to be understood, not only for using the right term at the right time, but also to ensure that your business is getting the best value.

Focus area

BPM can be said to have a wider remit than BPO. It focuses on the entire process and is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that it is dealt with in a manner that adds the greatest value to the business. If it means changing steps and responsibilities, then that can be done, as long as it results in overall better management.

BPO, on the other hand, can be said to focus on efficiently carrying out the process that has been outsourced. How can it be done faster? How can the final output be produced in a shorter time frame? are some of the questions it would seek to answer. It does not seek to make fundamental changes in the way something is done, rather finding efficient and economical ways of doing it.

oWorkers is ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified and operates from super secure facilities for the protection of your data. We are also necessarily GDPR compliant, since we operate from the Eurozone.

Ownership

Some consider BPM to be the process of managing one’s own business processes. In other words, when a company seeks to review, improve, manage the business processes it handles, or runs, that activity is known as BPM.

When the same activity is handed over to a third party to manage and run, it is referred to as BPO or business process outsourcing.

This is more of a purist view, based on ownership of running the processes. Functionally driven business people might not differentiate between BPM and BPO on the basis of ownership.

oWorkers takes ownership of the outsourced processes and delivers. Our accuracy rates are above 99%, measured on different scales for different clients with different requirements. Our internal quality team leads the way with process improvements.

Expertise

Expertise in the area of work is another parameter used to differentiate between business process management outsourcing and business process outsourcing.

On many occasions the work outsourced pertains to an area that is highly specialized and requires experts who are highly skilled. For example, legal services is an area that not many businesses have the capability of handling inhouse. It requires long years of education before one can qualify to become a lawyer. Perforce, it needs to be outsourced to a specialist like a legal firm. Such forms of outsourcing when it is done for the expertise and not for the cost or efficiency is referred to as BPM.

BPO, on the other hand, is the outsourcing of activities that could be performed by the business itself, but has chosen to outsource it to a partner for various reasons.

Being a preferred employer, oWorkers has access to the best talent the catchment area of each center can offer. Our training team works on the raw talent and makes them fit for purpose.

Responsibility and interference

In a BPO arrangement, the outsourcing is usually at a task level, and the outsourcer is usually involved at the detailed level in running the operation, even down to the task of approving resources that are being hired.

BPM, or business process management outsourcing, on the other hand, is a more wholesome outsourcing arrangement where the outsourcer does not need to be involved in the day-to-day operations of the partner.

As an example, while engaging a recruitment firm for hiring resources may be considered to be a BPO engagement, handing over the HR process in its entirety, referred to as HRO or HR outsourcing, might be referred to as BPM.

oWorkers can offer staffing for handling even short-term, unplanned spikes in volume which would otherwise cost clients a lot in terms of idle resources. oWorkers can hire an additional 100 resources within 48 hours.

Image building

Lastly, and perhaps strangely, many providers believe that the two terms, BPO and BPM, have associations in terms of the nature of work and even the provider.

BPO, many providers believe, has come to be associated with high volume and low skill requirement work such as Contact Centers and Transcription. If they do that kind of work and are interested in positioning themselves for future clients, BPO works for them.

However, many providers who would like to be known to be doing work that is skilled, whether they actually do it or not notwithstanding, have made efforts to dissociate themselves from being referred to as BPO providers, promoting themselves as BPM providers instead. Other variants like BPS, which stands for Business Process Services, have also come into use.

oWorkers is happy to provide support, whether it is BPM or BPO. Our three global centers are equipped to operate 24×7 if a client has need for it, and can support clients in 22 languages through our multi-ethnic and multi-cultural staff. Incidentally, oWorkers works with fully employed staff, unlike some competitors who choose to operate with largely freelancing or contractual staff. 

 

The path to a business process management outsourcing engagement

Whether BPO or BPM, the objective is to achieve business success, for both the outsourcer as well as the vendor. From an outsourcer’s perspective, while selecting the right vendor is often the focus of effort, a lot more that needs to be done, both before and after the vendor is identified. Without adequate attention to each of these steps, the end result could be sub-optimal. No outsourcer would want that to happen.

Outlined here is a recommended process that will guide you from the point where you have started thinking that you would like to do business process management outsourcing, through to the end point where the vendor has started delivering.

1.  Identify Requirement

Many business deals do not succeed because the client (buyer) is not clear on the requirements. What are they buying? Why are they buying? What problem will it solve? What value will it add? Identification of your needs is a good starting point. Some clarity on success (or failure) criteria will be even better.

2.  Advertise requirement/ Seek participation

Once it is clear that you would like to consider outsourcing as an option, you would need to make known to the prospective vendor community about it, with information from relevant items of the checklist created in the earlier phase. This can be done in many different ways:

  • Issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) is the process preferred by large enterprises. An RFP is a standardised proposal form where you specify the information you are looking for.
  • Advertising in trade circles, if you are a part of them.
  • Looking up prospective vendors online or through directories like Yellow Pages and informing them one by one of your requirements. They will respond if interested.

3.  Shortlist vendors

By now you would have hopefully received some interest from prospective vendors. If you have been flooded with responses, you should shortlist down to a few with whom you can engage in a more detailed manner. If responses are inadequate, you may need to review the terms and conditions you have set out. Perhaps they are too strict for vendors to be interested in.

4.  Detailed discussion and evaluation

At this stage, detailed discussions will start. Both parties will share information. As it is a B2B engagement, execution of a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), which binds both parties to treating the information received as confidential, might be done with mutual agreement. The potential vendor will make a pitch, and a case for being selected. The scope of services will be discussed, including possible pricing. This phase usually takes the longest.

While selection criteria will vary based on the business as well as preferences of the outsourcer, the following might be suitable considerations:

  • Prior experience with similar work
  • Demonstrated delivery of quality and accuracy
  • Ability to complete work in required time
  • Updated technology with adequate arrangements for ensuring data security
  • Access to a pool of suitable human resources
  • Pricing that does not break the bank

5.  Shortlist down to 1

Eventually the most suitable partner will be identified and a Letter of Intent issued. Contractual terms, which would have been already discussed during the previous stage, would now be formalised. Others shortlisted vendors should be kept warm if this partnership falls through for some reason.

6.  Finalise terms and sign contract

Though terms may have been agreed earlier, the formal agreement is signed based on mutually acceptable terms and conditions.

7.  Implement Project Plan

If this has not been done at the contracting stage, the parties will develop and agree on an Implementation Plan which defines the steps each of them must take to reach a steady state. In other words, reach a point at which the activities envisaged in the contract are running at the expected level. The timelines are also defined in the Implementation Plan. This could include a Trial Run, if agreed.

8.  Team identification, training and ramp support

The vendor will need to identify the team that will support activities under this contract while the outsourcer will arrange the initial training. The support teams of the vendor, like hiring and training, will start playing their regular roles for this project as well. Technical handshakes required will also be made.

9.  Begin work, test and then go full steam

Work begins. If volumes are large, there is a ramp-up generally provided for in the Project Plan. Staring slowly, the work gradually ramps up to handle the agreed volumes.

 

Conclusion

Business process management outsourcing, when done right, not only helps its clients work better, but also enables reduction of economic disparities across regions and enables left-behind communities to get employment and opportunity in the digital economy.

oWorkers regularly employs people from the marginalized communities and gives them a ticket to participate in the global digital economy. Your work will enable us to employ a few more similar people and empower them with a job.

How Healthcare Business Process Outsourcing Impacts Providers

How Healthcare Business Process Outsourcing Impacts Providers

How Healthcare Business Process Outsourcing Impacts Providers

If we ever needed a reminder that our health is precious, the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020 has provided it to us. Catching us unawares, it initially spread rapidly across populations, putting unforeseen burden on healthcare facilities around the world, whether it was hospitals, or doctors, or medicines or supplies of medical oxygen, or even ambulances all of which, at most times, are limited, especially doctors. Most jurisdictions have an elaborate study and qualification plan for medical professionals and a limited number of seats. Hence, at the best of times, doctors are in great demand. While the demand increases at times like the Covid-19 outbreak, the unfortunate impact is that many people do not get the medical attention they require.

Whether it is doctors or any other medical resource, human or product, it needs to be handled with care and all efforts made to widen the reach and coverage of every single unit. Healthcare business process outsourcing has played a key role in taking away from medical professionals and services many of the tasks that do not need a medical professional to perform, freeing them up for tasks that cannot be performed by anyone else, viz. providing medical care and attention to people in need of it.

Healthcare is an expansive ecosystem. Not only does it contain caregiving units like hospitals and medical professionals, there are many extended units as well such as pharmaceutical companies that produce medicines and medical insurance companies that insure people against medical situations.

Delivering any service, or running any type of organization, generates a fair amount of administrative work. It is the way it is; the nature of the beast in a way. The administrative ‘overheads’ are either a result of the competitive landscape that providers operate in, or a result of regulatory requirements set up usually for the protection of some less privileged constituents. A hospital, for example, needs resources such as nursing staff. The effort required in finding them, hiring them, negotiating salaries, assigning duties can be considered to be an administrative task. It is required because in our world, everyone has choices. These resources may also be able to choose between different organizations. Government regulation may cover maintenance of records so that in the event of a complaint or issue that crops up reference can be made to them. There could also be a need to pay taxes and pay salaries in line with minimum wage guidelines set up by the government.

oWorkers, in the short period of eight years it has been in existence, has carved out a space for itself in providing data based BPO services to clients from around the world. It is clear on its area of focus and has even earned accolades for it. In fact, it has been identified as one of the top three BPO service providers in its area of work.

 

Healthcare business process outsourcing services

What are some of the services that healthcare BPOs are able to provide?

Medical Coding

According to the American Academy of Professional Coders, “Medical coding is the transformation of healthcare diagnosis, procedures, medical services, and equipment into universal medical alphanumeric codes. The diagnosis and procedure codes are taken from medical record documentation, such as transcription of physician’s notes, laboratory and radiologic results, etc.”

Apart from the significant role it plays in the communication between hospitals and insurers and closing the loop by facilitating a decision on the claim, medical coding is also critical to generating population health analytics and maintaining information related to disease and treatment.

Being a preferred employer enables oWorkers to access a wide variety of skills and resources that enable handling of even tasks that might require greater knowledge, such as coding. In any case, going beyond the skills that candidates come with, the dedicated training team of oWorkers ensures they are equipped to handle client work before being assigned to one.

Medical Billing and Collections

Revenue is the fuel that enables an organization to run and billing is the process through which it is generated. Managing the revenue cycle is an important element of any commercial activity, which is what medical billing does in the healthcare sector.

The added complexity in healthcare arises from the fact that in many cases the payment is made by a party other than the party receiving the service, in other words, the insurer, with whom the service recipient has a separate arrangement. Healthcare business process outsourcing enables this service to be handled with the attention that it needs, helping release money for the operation of the client’s services.

The ability to tap into deep candidate pools gives oWorkers the additional flexibility of hiring short-term resources. This is occasionally required when a client project experiences an unexpected or unexplained peak in volumes. oWorkers can hire almost a hundred extra resources within 48 hours. This is a huge benefit to clients who may otherwise either need to retain extra idle resources, or forego the additional volumes when they materialize.

Indexation of records

In any field of work, indexation is an activity the primary purpose of which is to store records in a manner which lends them to easy retrieval in future as and when the need might arise.

Healthcare is no different. If anything, there is greater relevance of these records as they pertain to the health of individuals which is personal as well as critical. Hence, indexing of medical records is another critical activity.

The records are of a wide variety, such as patient demographics, laboratory reports, physician prescriptions and diagnosis, clinical history, charts, insurance information, etc. There are many methods of indexation, such as by record type, by Medical Record Number (MRN) and Social Security Number (SSN), to name a few. With detailed knowledge of plans, processes and methods, the trained staff of oWorkers is able to deliver superior outcomes.

Data Entry

Though considered to be at the bottom of the food chain, data entry, nevertheless, is important in the healthcare space as it facilitates many processes. It starts with keying in relevant patient information at the first point of contact and goes on to cover many other aspects, such as digitization of information that comes in from many other systems, such as laboratory reports.

There are also specific types of data entry services such as transcription services, sometimes placed in a category all by itself, that convert manual or handwritten information into a digital record, such as the prescription handwritten by a physician.

oWorkers, with its multi-cultural and multi-ethnic teams, is equipped to support clients in over 20 global languages. Whatever be the language of the original script, we will help you convert it to a common standard and system.

Claims Processing                  

As medical insurance expands to cover more people, accurate processing becomes more important. This is a task that requires comprehensive knowledge about medical processes as well as the fine print of medical policies. Claims being paid in excess of entitlement lead to needless financial burden for the insurer while claims being denied unjustly can lead to protracted litigation.

A specific type of company, known as the Third Party Administrator (TPA) has emerged that handles healthcare related insurance claims processing. In a strange twist, occasionally, two patients might have different insurers but the same TPA.

Working with employed staff, as oWorkers does, unlike some of our competitors who choose to work with freelancers and contractors, has advantages. All our delivery centers are registered as local companies and pay social and local taxes. We get a satisfaction score in excess of 4.6 on a scale of 5 on platforms like Glassdoor, both from existing as well as past employees.

Accounts Receivables

Though it might be considered as a part of medical billing, managing accounts receivables is a distinct activity and a part of the larger umbrella of outsourcing of finance and accounts processes. It leads to better, faster revenue realization for the commercial entity.

With 85% of our clients being technology companies, and our strong ties with many technology providers, oWorkers is able to deploy the latest technologies for client projects, be it a core service or a support service such as accounts receivables.

Human Resources

Human resource process outsourcing, or HRO, comprises another critical set of processes that need to be handled by any organization that exists and seeks to deliver some product or service.

From resource hiring, to managing compensation and benefits, salary negotiation, appraisals and feedback, increments and promotions based on evaluation, compliance with regulatory requirements, are all a part of HRO, in one way or another.

With our stringent hiring processes that focus on language and mathematical ability, along with EQ and IQ tests, oWorkers has been able to hire the right people for the right roles. Our HR skills are available for the benefit of our clients as well.

 

Why healthcare business process outsourcing makes sense

The arguments in favor of engaging BPO providers in relevant healthcare processes are:

Focus on patients

In a competitive world, one needs to ensure that one’s core constituencies are kept engaged and happy at all times. From an organizational perspective, they are the reason for its existence, despite the many other pulls and pressures on time and resources.

This is exactly what is enabled by the outsourcing of healthcare processes that are not centered around the core constituent – the person in need of healthcare services. By letting them manage the processes that may be called supporting, but often take a lion’s share of resources and time, healthcare providers put themselves back in a position to do what they were meant to do originally, focus on the patient.

Pure play BPO providers, like oWorkers, are equipped to provide 24×7 support, if required by clients, leveraging available resources much more than what most companies are used to.

Specialists can do it better

The large umbrella of healthcare services contains many smaller services, some of which could be considered as mini-industries in their own right. Activities like claims processing and medical coding require qualified personnel and are specialized activities by themselves. As such, the benefits and limitations that apply to specialists are applicable to these processes too.

The upside is clearly the ability and intent to do it in the best possible manner, as it is a revenue generating activity for the partner. Besides, they also have the intent, desire and capacity to invest in improvements, as they perhaps do the specialized activity for multiple clients and are, hence, able to take advantage of larger volumes.

The popularity of oWorkers with jobseekers helps us provide short-term resources at short notice, like a hundred extra within 48 hours. This ends up being a huge saving for clients who would, otherwise, have to hire and retain resources for the entire year, just to handle a few days of unexpected peak volumes.

Cost saving

Though it should not be seen as the main reason for outsourcing, it certainly helps that healthcare business process outsourcing can lead to a healthier looking income statement.

One of the main areas for cost saving is human resources. Healthcare workers, being specialists in a field that is needed, tend to be available at a certain price point. BPO operators, who source workers from other talent pools, perhaps with fewer educational qualifications and lesser experience, have a resource cost lower than healthcare companies. Even after adding the operator’s margins, this translates to lower costs for the outsourcer.

There are other savings too, such as infrastructure and premises. BPO operators do not have a need to operate out of expensive downtown real estate.

oWorkers has earned accolades from clients for its unique pricing model. It offers clients a choice between output-based and input-based pricing. Clients choose the one they find suitable. Clients routinely mention saving almost 80% of pre-outsourcing cost after engaging oWorkers for healthcare work.

 

Challenges with healthcare business process outsourcing

Confidentiality of information

Client data is confidential. Added to tat is the sensitivity of dealing with medical data and history of patients registered with the healthcare provider. The data being compromised at the hands of partners with weak processes remains a possibility.

oWorkers operates out of ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified facilities and protocols for ensuring the safety of all data pertaining to clients, whether medical or staff. We are also GDPR compliant, as we operate out of the Eurozone.

Focus moves from the patient

While one of the benefits of outsourcing is that it enables the provider to focus on its core constituent, the patient, some of the outsourced processes could actually work against this principle.

When outsourced to a partner who is driven by process efficiency and not by patients, it is possible that they get ignored, even in the exceptional situations when they need some non-standard support.

Being led by an experienced team of managers with over 20 years of hands-on experience in the industry helps oWorkers navigate such issues and ensure that human sensitivities are not forgotten and that a ‘no’ does not become the convenient response.

 

Final Word

Like many other types of outsourcing, healthcare business process outsourcing looks set to stay as it adds value in many different ways to its clients.

oWorkers works for several large players in the space. We hope you will be one of them soon.

Our work enables us to employ people from less advantageous backgrounds and communities in all the locations we operate from and give them an entry ticket to the global digital economy. Your work will enable us to do the same for a few more.

Understanding the Importance of User Generated Content

Understanding the Importance of User Generated Content

Understanding the Importance of User Generated Content

Corporations, especially those whose business is selling products or services to consumers, or individuals, have been known to actively seek feedback from users, or customers. This has often been done through mechanisms like customer surveys, in order to understand what their target customers think about their products. In the absence of this feedback, they are reliant upon the vision and understanding of their leadership team and senior functionaries and their knowledge of the market to guide the company to prosperity.

The knowledge generated through such internal mechanisms can be insular and one-sided, and exposes the company to risk. With feedback from external sources, most importantly the target customers, this knowledge becomes much better rounded and comprehensive. In any case, the objective of the organization is to be relevant to its customers, and not its employees and owners. Hence, internal knowledge is no replacement for feedback provided by customers.

This, in a way, is also the importance of user generated content. It goes beyond the ‘party line’ and brings together content on the subject from a variety of external sources, making it comprehensive. In addition, as it comes from sources that have apparently no interest in how it is used, it could be considered to be the most unbiased and hence, reliable.

The growth of user generated content has coincided, and fed off, the growth in internet penetration and social media adoption. Coming into its own in the same generation, with experience of over 8 years, oWorkers specializes in providing data related services to its clients from around the world. Many of these services revolve around user generated content. oWorkers has been repeatedly identified as a top three BPO player in this space, globally.

 

What is User Generated Content?

User Generated Content, also known as UGC, is content created by users.

What does that mean? Isn’t everyone who uses an application a user?

Yes and no.

In the case of content being created on an open platform, say a social media platform like Instagram, all content created is being created by users. The hundreds of millions, maybe billions in case of some platforms, of individuals who have created accounts and are engaged in sharing of ideas and thoughts through the platform.

Membership of these platforms is no longer available only to human beings. Organizations are also active participants, doing all they can to push their respective cases, business or otherwise. Hence, the users that create content on social media platforms are not individuals alone; organizations as users are engaged in creating content on an ongoing basis as well.

Platforms also permit organizations, and individuals too, to create their own corners in which they can create groups and communities for pushing their own agenda forward. Recognising the importance of user generated content in their media mix, companies, in particular, have grabbed this with both hands and actively promote their spaces on these platforms on which users interested in their brand participate. For these company-sponsored spaces, then, the term UGC applies to the content that is being created by their visitors. The distinction often used in such cases is that users do not have any vested interest in the success or failure of the brand whose community they are a part of.  

The discussion on UGC, as you may have noticed, is mostly in the context of social media. Though UGC creation is wider than the social media world, a very large percentage of it happens on the various social media platforms. Companies also seek them out and create their own communities and spaces in order to promote unfettered flow of information and ideas. While many companies encourage user participation on their websites as well, it is a limiting environment as compared to a social media platform. As a result, social media platforms remain the preferred ecosystem which nurture and promote interactions. 

Content today can come from anywhere in the world. We know people in different parts of the world speak in different languages, hence the ability to operate in multiple languages becomes crucial for a supplier who has clients from around the world and who supports services that could be generated in any language from around the world.

oWorkers has located its delivery centers in three distinct geographies around the world. On top of that, it has consciously and consistently followed a practice of employing a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural workforce. As a result, they can offer services in 22 languages to their clients, becoming a partner in their growth, and not a hindrance.

 

The importance of user generated content for platforms

User generated content lies at the core of social media platforms. The purpose of their existence is to permit creation of content by their users and making it easy to share and exchange ideas and thoughts. When content is created and shared and responded to, the usage of the platform multiplies. As a private business, mass adoption of the platform holds the key to its financial success too.

The most popular platform today is Facebook, with over a billion active users on it. It is difficult to say if the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, who created it out of his Harvard dorm, had the vision of success that it has achieved, while he was creating it. His original intention appears to have been to provide a non-invasive channel, as it involved messaging, that could be used by students. Of course, the rapid growth of Facebook, jumping from the student community to people at large, then on to organizations, is part of business history now.

Of course, it filled a need. Of course, it served a purpose. But it required continuous engagement in the form of content creation, which is what each imprint of a user on the platform is, to spread its reach across the world. It requires constant engagement from users to become more and more important in their lives, like a self-fulfilling prophecy; the more you use it the more you will need to use it.

Many other platforms have, since, jumped on to the social media bandwagon and found success, either in a specific niche or target group, or even otherwise, addressing all markets and target groups.

Twitter is a social media platform that positions itself for use by everyone. Its unique positioning is that each post is limited to a certain number of characters, and no more, and only in the form of text.

Instagram promotes itself as a visual medium entirely. It enables users to easily share images and videos.

TikTok enables the creation and sharing of short videos. It has become popular with youngsters as a medium for expressing themselves.

Each platform would have its own unique positioning but the importance of user generated content is the same for all of them.

With access to a perennial hiring source in the form of walk-in candidates, oWorkers can afford to be choosy in its selection and hire the best for its various projects. This is a result of oWorkers being a preferred employer in each of their delivery sites where they have become a contributing member of the local community, where they pay local and social taxes. It is also a result of them working with hired resources, instead of contractors and freelancers, as some of their competitors seem to prefer. Whatever the reason, they consistently get rated 4.6 and above by employees, both past and present, on platforms like Glassdoor.

 

The importance of user generated content for companies

Trust companies to not be left behind. If it is useful for individuals, it will, invariably, be useful for companies too. A big reason for this is that companies need customers. Individuals from a big chunk of customers of many companies. Even if it is a B2B business and sells to other companies, it needs to find ways to impress the individuals who could be the decision-makers in that other company. Hence, individuals are indispensable to the success of most companies.

One of the most basic ways in which companies use social media to their advantage is by creating an environment where ‘users’ of the brand become advocates. As these users do not derive financial gains from the success of the brand, nor lose money if it fails, their views on the brand are seen as unbiased and, therefore, more reliable, compared to the messaging out by the company itself. With an interest in the sales of their products, their opinions on their own products are, hence, seen as biased and less trustworthy, akin to advertising. By enabling people well-disposed towards their products to voice their support creates a fertile environment for non-users of the product to become users too. Social media, in any case, facilitates the sharing of such communication far and wide to create a ripple effect.

But the importance of user generated content for companies goes beyond providing an unbiased opinion.

Content generated by users is free. The company does not have to spend money on employing a large marketing team or hiring vendors to produce copy for them. The users who create content for them are doing it because they like to, for their own reasons, and not because they are being paid to. It is possible that some costs do arise in managing this widespread creation of content, but it has been known to be far lesser than the expenses involved in hiring teams and vendors.

And what is more, this community will keep increasing as the message spreads and there is greater adoption. As the community increases in size, so will the creation of content, in a happy, ever-increasing, circular economy replication.

Perhaps as a result of doing it because they like to, content created by users comes from a good place, and is not forced production of content by a marketing team because they have a deadline to meet or bonuses to earn by producing a certain number. It is genuine. Moreover, coming from a diverse user set, it is likely to offer far more creative and diverse content as compared to what can be created by a small group who keeps doing it again and again.

Getting users to create content does not seem to be a favor, as some companies may have feared initially. Human beings are social animals, and crave community. They want to be a part of something larger than themselves. The community created by a brand gives them the opportunity that. They will probably find many other similarly disposed people there and a social group will form and grow, which becomes a goodwill creator for the brand.

oWorkers has strong partnerships with technology companies, enabling easy access to the latest technologies. This works well for their clients as it is their projects these technologies are used for. Also, 85% of their clients are technology companies. oWorkers, necessarily, has to ensure sharpness in the technology it uses to support clients otherwise they will be caught out.

oWorkers operates from facilities that are secured with ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certifications and GDPR compliance. Physical segregation is also available through access control.

 

It is here to stay

We are in the digital age. You already know that.

Everything that can be invented has been invented.” Though usually attributed to Charles H. Duell, then director of the US Patent Office, many believe he never said such a thing. In any case, we now know it was not accurate. The pace of inventions has been gathering pace each day and each moment.

Digitalisation is no different. If we believe all that could be digitised has already been, we are sure to be caught out soon. Digitalisation is progressing apace. User generated content is bound to grow further with the spread of digitalisation. Even if it does not grow, it now occupies a central place in the media strategy of most companies.

In order to leverage the importance of user generated content to your advantage, you need to partner with a provider like oWorkers who specializes in data-based offerings such as handling UGC related services. Clients from the US and Western Europe note savings of almost 80% when they outsource to oWorkers. Their global centers are equipped to operate 24×7, enabling quick turnarounds. They are led by a team of professionals with over 20 years of hands-on experience in the industry.

The Relevance of Insurance Business Process Outsourcing

The Relevance of Insurance Business Process Outsourcing

The Relevance of Insurance Business Process Outsourcing

Insurance is one of the major industries in the world. Many people’s lives are touched by it in one way or another. The global insurance market is estimated at almost 5 trillion US dollars and growing at over 5% per annum.

In the US alone, net premiums written totaled $1.28 trillion in 2020, with premiums recorded by property/casualty (P/C) insurers accounting for 51 percent, and premiums by life/annuity insurers accounting for 49 percent, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Property/ Casualty insurance consists primarily of auto, homeowners and commercial insurance. Net premiums written for the sector totaled $652.8 billion in 2020. The life/ annuity insurance sector consists of annuities, accident and health, and life insurance. Net premiums written for the sector totaled $624.0 billion in 2020.

In 2019 there were 5,965 insurance companies in the U.S., according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. 2.9 million people were employed by the insurance industry in 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Of those, 1.7 million worked for insurance companies, including life and health insurers (962,500 workers), Property/ Casualty insurers (665,900 workers) and reinsurers (27,300 workers). The remaining 1.2 million people worked for insurance agencies, brokers and other insurance-related enterprises.

With its focus on data related services, oWorkers provides a suite of services to take operational pressure away from insurance companies and help them focus on their business. It helps that we are led by a management team that has over 20 years of hands-on BPO experience between them.

 

Challenges faced by insurance companies

Insurance companies face several challenges, some common to business and industries in a free market and some unique to their industry.

As a growing but mature industry, with established processes and systems and products, the margin for differentiating one from the next becomes smaller and smaller. This often leads to thinning margins for many operators either on account of their own investment for the future, or  because of a competitor’s innovation that takes some money away. Hence, there is a growing pressure on margins.  

With consumer awareness rising and customers becoming more demanding, regulation keeps getting stricter and compliance expectations more demanding.

Technology, that has been an enabler over the last few decades, and perhaps even driven growth, can also become a stumbling block. It needs to be refreshed and upgraded for the company to stay in step with times. This, again, requires investment and focus.

Then there is an increasingly fragile and volatile world that keeps throwing up once in a lifetime occurrences, more often than once in a lifetime. The cost for many of these gets borne by insurance companies in the form of claim payouts. Once again, it puts pressure on the bottomline.

As a business, it is expected that all happenings in the life of a business get funneled into the financial performance of the company, whether through additional cost, or lower revenue, or a combination of the two. This is where the pressures are becoming visible, on the bottom line. And this is what insurance companies are addressing through outsourcing.

Most of our clients, especially the ones from the US and Western Europe, report savings of almost 80% when they outsource to oWorkers. They also find our alternative pricing offers, giving them a choice between output-based and input-based price points, unique and helpful.

 

How does insurance business process outsourcing help

Stay focused on the big picture

A business has many moving parts. Each part has a different solution for the most effective handling. Getting each part to work in an optimum manner is a tedious task and responsibility. Many of these tasks are transactional in nature and keep on happening all the time. For a management to focus on these moving parts means lesser attention on the core business and its strategy.

Outsourcing enables an insurance company to stay focused on the core business and not miss the woods for the trees, by getting someone else to stay focused on the transactional parts.

Suitable manpower

Each business has its own requirement of educational qualifications and experience for the people who work there. It becomes difficult for a company to handle the requirements if the workforce becomes very diverse, as is likely to be the case for an insurance company.

Transactional processing requires skills of a different nature from strategy and management. Even sources of the talent are likely to be different. The company cannot hire transaction processing staff from the same business school they hire management staff from.

Outsourcing transactional work releases the company from these confines. An outsourcing partner is much better equipped to hire staff at a lower cost, which is what is required for transactional processing, and then train them for the job.

Specialization

A company that handles processing for multiple clients develops capability in the supported processes that the principal is not in a position to. This can also translate to investments in process and technology improvements since, for the partner, it is the primary business and not a support function. Consolidating volumes across clients gives them the heft to do so.

Cost reduction

Being a business enterprise, the advantage eventually shows up in the income statement. Savings could accrue out of:

  • Lower staff cost
  • Lower hiring cost
  • More efficient training processes
  • Optimized infrastructural cost

 

Insurance business process outsourcing services

Established BPO players like oWorkers provide a wide variety of solutions to meet different client needs. Insurance companies are likely to benefit from the following:

Customer Contact

The customer is the reason for the existence of any business. Without the ability to add value to a customer for which she is willing to pay a price, a business has no meaning. Hence, the ability to be there for customers when they need you is paramount.

Customers may want to reach you for a variety of reasons, and through different channels like phone, email, chat or social media. The business needs to set reasonable expectations and then ensure that they can deliver on them. The ability to respond coherently to customers when they reach out to you is important for an insurance business.

oWorkers relies on a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic team across its three delivery locations to support customers in 22 languages. Not only are all our delivery centers equipped to operate on a 24×7 schedule should there be a client need, we are also able to switch effortlessly between work from home and work from office, depending on the prevailing situation, thereby ensuring that customer issues do not go unresponded.

Claims Processing

It is one of those things where one takes an insurance policy for the purpose of securing yourself against an eventuality but hopes that it never comes to pass.

Claims processing, hence, is a sensitive and critical area of operations in an insurance business. Not only must it be handled expeditiously, it also needs to be handled with the utmost care. Not only must the processors be sensitive to the claimant’s situation, he is already in a bad one if he has raised a claim, it means that an unfortunate event has happened, they also need to ensure that the insurance companies interest is protected. Not only can claimants make errors in claims, but fraudulent claims are not unknown.

An outsourcing partner can take away the pressure of quick and accurate processing of these transactions from the insurance company, like oWorkers is able to, with its team of trained staff. Being a preferred employer in our delivery locations gives us access to the best BPO talent. After a rigorous pre-selection evaluation covering EQ and IQ, apart from communication skills, selected staff are put through a training program before they are permitted to handle customer transactions.

Revenue realization through insurance business process outsourcing

It is critical for a business to ensure that the revenue generating machinery keeps ticking. Without revenue, nothing can work. For an insurance company, revenue realization happens in the form of premia that the insured pay for the privilege. This is a transactional process that could run into thousands and millions of transactions every few days.

In addition, there are many related activities like accounting, processing of agency and agent commissions, handling delayed payments, etc. By outsourcing these transactional activities to a partner, an insurance company makes headroom for focusing on strategic activities for its business.

oWorkers has forged long-term partnerships with major technology companies. This enables us to deploy the most advanced technologies for processing of client transactions in an efficient manner, including those related to payments and collections.

Direct Sales

A related area where an insurance business process outsourcing partner can create value for the client is through direct sales, especially if they are also handling customer support activities. Being the one most often in contact with customers gives them a unique position to interact and make suggestions that could meet other requirements while pushing the business of the client.

oWorkers has opted for the employee model, as compared to the freelancer and contractor model adopted by some of its competitors. This gives oWorkers greater flexibility in deployment while creating a pool of motivated, long-term staff. It even creates a cadre of able supervisors coming up through the ranks, for better management. The motivation of staff is reflected in the scores of 4.65 or more that we routinely received from employees, both past and present, on platforms like Glassdoor. This gives us an edge in handling direct sales for insurance clients.

Actuarial Services

Actuarial science is the method of determining and evaluating the financial impact of events or risk. Usually mathematical models based on past data are used, adjusted for future events and their likelihood, to arrive at an assessment. In insurance, this process enables companies to determine the amount of cover to be offered as well as the premium to be charged for carrying the risk. They have to find the right balance between risk and reward. If the premium is too low, the insurance company will lose money if the event materialises. If too high, an insured may not find it worthwhile to insure.

Since the fundamental principles remain the same, even though actuaries are seen as a core function in an insurance company, with standardisation coming in over the many years the process has existed, there is increasing openness in adopting insurance business process outsourcing for actuarial services as well. Being complex processes, this could even translate to an insurance knowledge process outsourcing, of course within the larger BPO umbrella.

Operating out of super secure facilities with ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certification, oWorkers has been a trusted partner for processing sensitive information on behalf of clients. Being in the Eurozone also makes GDPR compliance a requirement, and not a nice-to-have.

Underwriting and Policy Servicing

Underwriting is a key part of the process through which the insurer determines the coverage that can be offered, along with the premium. Though actuarial tables are the starting point, underwriters also make an effort to take into account the unique situation of a customer to figure out if the coverage or premium needs to be different. In a way, they connect the dots between actuarial tables and the customer.

A partner can help here too. They can process endorsements and cancellations, carry out research to seek information that would help underwriters reach decisions and process renewals. An engaged partner can provide support in a lot of areas of underwriting.

With deep roots in host communities, oWorkers is uniquely positioned to access short-term resources like no other provider can. We can hire an additional 100 people with a 48-hour notice, for underwriting or any other requirement. This saves unnecessary cost for our clients who would otherwise need to keep idle resources on the payroll for handling unforeseen spikes on a few days of the year.

 

Support Services as a part of insurance business process outsourcing

What we have discussed so far are activities that are integral and unique to the insurance business, such as premium collection, actuarial services and claims processing.

What we should not lose sight of is that an insurance company, operating in a regulated environment, also has to operate many other functions and fulfil many other external requirements that might be common to all businesses. Some of these are:

  • Hiring people
  • Managing the payroll
  • Regulatory returns
  • Accounting and taxation
  • Billing and account receivables
  • Data entry for Machine Learning
  • Technology support
  • Social media moderation

The list is indicative, not exhaustive. It is meant to highlight the wide variety of support services needed by a company. While providing support for the core insurance activities of a client, an insurance business process outsourcing company can broaden the remit and support the client in many other ways, as highlighted above and deliver the benefits of cost reduction and efficiency in additional areas.

The Evolution of Business Process Outsourcing Solutions

The Evolution of Business Process Outsourcing Solutions

The Evolution of Business Process Outsourcing Solutions

There are some humorous stories that go around the BPO circles that talk about how vendors position their company to prospective clients. When they talk to an insurance client, they will try to communicate that they know more about insurance than the insurance company themselves, and can handle their work better than they can. When they talk to a prospective technology client looking to outsource work, the vendor’s presentation will seek to convey that they know more about technology than the client themselves and that they are the right partner for their work. If NASA was to go looking for an outsourcing partner, they would probably be told by most of the applicants that they have been launching rockets into space much before NASA and the Russians.

It seems to indicate that a BPO provider can do anything better than anyone else. They can run an insurance business better than an insurance company and a technology business better than a technology company. Why would anyone need insurance and technology companies, or companies in any other industry, for that matter? All we need is BPO companies, doing everything that needs to be done.

The stories may be apocryphal, but there does seem to be a grain of truth in them. At least to the extent of the work that BPO companies take on, they have made an effort to make sure that that work is handled in the best possible manner.

A wide variety of business process outsourcing solutions have emerged as a result of the hard work and efforts of providers and they are always in a state of evolution. Some of the most sought-after outsourcing activities today were not even a gleam in anyone’s eyes when providers started mushrooming in all parts of the world, riding on the back of the developments in telecommunications and powered by internet connectivity.

In order that we are on the same page, let us ensure we have a common understanding of ‘solutions.’

Leveraging the definition of ‘solutions’ used by many large corporations such as IBM, HP, CISCO and Rockwell Automation, Solutions Insights, a B2B consulting and training firm, consolidated the meaning as “A combination of products, services, and intellectual property focused on a specific business problem or opportunity that drives measurable business value and can be significantly standardized. The solutions components can be from either the vendor and one or more partners, and the solutions implementer can be the vendor, the partner, the customer itself, or a combination of the three.”

What are the solutions offered by players in the BPO space?

Every company operates in a unique space and makes an effort to manage the variables impacting on their business in order to achieve their goals. They try to create and innovate and provide a combination of solutions that enables them to move forward. While there are many similarities between many of the offerings of competitors, possibly no two are ever identical, else there would be no need for so many providers. They have their own uniqueness which is what makes it work for them. Besides, solutions also keep evolving with time and the state of development of mankind.

That being said, there are two main methods of classifying business process outsourcing solutions.

The first one classifies solutions based on the industry served

Thus, solutions that fulfil the needs of the Retail industry will be classified as Retail BPO solutions. Solutions that fulfil the needs of the Aerospace industry will be classified as Aerospace BPO solutions. Similarly, there will be BPO Banking solutions, BPO Healthcare solutions, BPO solutions for Manufacturing industry, BPO solutions for Insurance industry, and so on.

This method is straightforward and easy to understand. These are also known as Vertical solutions.

However, this does not provide an understanding of the type of work being done, which is where the value of BPO emanates from. Their ability to take up tasks, usually transactional in nature, and execute it to perfection with the help of technologies created for the purpose and human resources hired and trained for that specific activity.

Whether the provider is operating a Contact Center for the Insurance client, or handling the processing of insurance claims raised by customers, or providing staffing solutions to the same client, they will all be classified as Insurance BPO solutions.

While this method is suitable for outsourcing companies that wish to be associated with providing services to a specific industry, it has limitations in terms of what it communicates about the actual solution.

The second method classifies Business Process Outsourcing solutions in terms of the type of work done or the nature of activity or tasks being performed for clients

A solution that offers payroll management support to clients might be known as a payroll solution, or could be a part of a larger bucket and be simply known as an HRO (Human Resources Outsourcing) solution. This solution might be offered to clients from the Manufacturing sector or companies in the hospitality industry. Barring the peculiarities of each industry and company that needs to be catered to, the solution would broadly remain the same.

There are many other solutions that would constitute this methodology, such as Customer Contact solutions, Finance and Accounting solutions, Procurement solutions, and so on.

While straightforward in a way, one of the challenges is that the set of solutions can keep changing, evolving as clients and providers find new niches in which they can cooperate for improved business outcomes.

This is the system we will delve deeper into in an effort to understand some of the major solutions offered by providers. It needs to be borne in mind that this list will be more indicative than comprehensive, as solutions can keep morphing, as earlier discussed.

These are also known by the name of Horizontal solutions.

Whichever way the solution is classified, oWorkers is geared to provide best-in-class services, as they have been doing for over 8 years, to its clients across the globe. It has been recognized as one of the three best providers of data related services in the world.

Business Process Outsourcing Solutions – Horizontals

Human Resource Outsourcing (HRO)

Managing human resources is a huge responsibility as employees can make or break a company. Care needs to be exercised in ensuring people are dealt with in a professional, as well as sensitive manner. Equally, most jurisdictions have regulations regarding the treatment of employees, minimum wages, retiral deductions, and others, that need to be complied with or regulatory action risked. There could also be technologies available that facilitate the process that a provider uses but the client, perhaps on account of size, may not be.

Managing human resources is a job for specialists that many companies find themselves ill suited for, and hence look for a partner that is in a position to handle it on their behalf. While HRO is a comprehensive set of activities, each engagement between a client and partner could include a different set of activities. Recruitment process outsourcing and Payroll management, though a part of HRO, could be the subject of independent BPO contracts.

Not only does it provide HRO services to clients, oWorkers has done a commendable job with its own employees. As a preferred employer, it attracts a consistent flow of talent that enables it to hire the best, without incurring much cost in attracting that talent. This eventually flows back to the client as beneficial pricing.

Supply Chain Management (SCM)

In business, something is bought and something is sold. At the most elementary level, goods and services bought and sold need to traverse the path from the seller to the buyer. In fact, even the production of goods requires raw material to traverse the path from its source or origin to the production facility where the goods, that will be sold later, are produced. And who knows, the buyer of the goods may, in turn, be using them as inputs for creating other products.

The flow of goods and services, covering the steps and processes that lead to transformation of products is covered by SCM. A key objective of SCM is to streamline the supply processes that releases efficiencies and gives the company a competitive advantage.

As business goes global, the complexity of supply chains increases manifold. SCM business process outsourcing solutions seek to manage inventories, production processes, distribution, sales and vendor supplies, in order to deliver faster and eliminate unnecessary costs.

oWorkers is well placed to cater to unexpected peaks in client business volumes that SCM processes can sometimes experience. By hiring almost a hundred resources extra in 48 hours, we deliver a huge cost saving to clients who would, otherwise, need to hire and retain idle resources.

Sourcing and Procurement

Though procurement is a key activity for business, especially for manufacturing industries, the attention, usually, is on the activities that contribute directly to the bottom line. Sourcing and procurement related activities get pushed back, leaving the sourcing team to fend for themselves as best as they can.

Procurement business process outsourcing solutions can step in and take over. From a non-priority status, they will get elevated to the primary business status with the provider. They add value to the client’s business by bringing in the weight of their networks, developed through their specialization, to bear on the arrangement, through which the client can often get better pricing and terms. The vendor is also well positioned to negotiate better terms as they have the strength of volumes from multiple clients.

While Invoice management has been an accepted Procurement BPO activity, many others like supplier selection and contract negotiation are becoming more and more accepted.

Apart from being GDPR compliant, oWorkers offers the comfort of operating from super secure, ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified facilities.

Finance & Accounting

The Finance & Accounting functions are playing an increasingly important role in guiding the destiny of the business, instead of being mere collectors and presenters of financial information earlier. They are in a much better position to create value, even more so with the acceptance of F&A as a process that can be outsourced, covering areas like Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Risk and Compliance, Order to Invoice and Strategic Finance.

Apart from operational efficiency, outsourcing introduces measurable goals that make the function more predictable, reduces DSO (days’ sales outstanding), enables sharper management of cash and liquidity, while introducing a risk and compliance perspective.

oWorkers provides a unique pricing model by offering a choice between input and output based pricing to clients. Clients, especially those based in the US and Western Europe, routinely advise savings of almost 80% in terms of cost.

Data entry

The path to complete digitization passes through conversion of legacy data that is held on non-digital media. That has been one of the drivers of data entry across industries and functions. Whether it is civil records, or court judgments, or customer orders, at some point they need to be converted to a digital format to facilitate all future processing.

Apart from legacy data, companies continue to generate data that needs to be converted to a ‘workable’ format through the data entry process. Audio files, for example, in their original audio format cannot be used by computers. They are converted to text for further processing or even searching. Though automation has come in, for example in the form of NLP (natural language processing) technologies, the accuracy remains suspect, leading to manual data entry or correction intervention.

oWorkers has been supporting clients with simple data entry and enrichment processes for over 8 years. We consistently deliver accuracy rates in excess of 99%, measures across varying client scales as well as complexity of projects.

AI enablement services

The rapid strides AI (Artificial Intelligence) technologies are making is on the back of dedicated enabling support from providers of business process outsourcing solutions.

Huge volumes of data need to be created for training AI models before they can be introduced. Much of this work is in the domain of data annotation which identifies elements in the data being uploaded, that is of relevance.

Whether bounding box annotation or LIDAR segmentation, keypoint or polygon annotation, there are a number of different techniques that are used for data that needs to be annotated, whether text or image or audio or video, that makes the AI model usable, oWorkers has supported many clients in data annotation projects from a wide variety of industries like Autonomous Vehicles, Medical AI, Satellite & Aerial imagery, Sports, Retail, Augmented Reality, Insurance, CCTV & Security, Robotics and Agriculture. 

Content moderation

This is a direct result of the openness and freedom that has been unleashed by the combination of the internet and social media platforms. Since unfettered sharing has been seen to be inimical to the interest of society in general and participating communities in particular, the need to moderate content has arisen and is driving a lot of work to capable BPO outfits like oWorkers.

Not only is content moderation a need of platforms themselves, but also of companies that leverage spaces offered by these platforms for their commercial use. These companies that create communities in order to generate conversations for promoting their brands and products also need to moderate these conversations, for very similar reasons.  

From image conformity to comments moderation, from profiles check to videos upload moderation, oWorkers has a solution both with technological AI tools as well as dedicated human resources working 24/7 in 20+ languages.