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.

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