The many types of business process outsourcing
When talking about the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, some tend to take a view that it is a ‘dependent’ industry. In other words, it depends on other industries for sustenance.
But is that a surprise?
Do these people not know that as an interconnected society, we are all dependent on each other and all industries, not just BPO, dependent on many others, some more and some less. Automobile makers are dependent on the steel industry for material for the car body, apart from the glass industry for the various parts made of glass and the technology industry for the gadgets and gizmos, and several others. The steel industry is dependent on the mining industry for the iron ore it needs for making steel. And the list goes on.
It is to the credit of the BPO industry that it has grown to encompass such a wide variety and types of business process outsourcing solutions within its ambit. If an industry has a need for getting something, generally a standardized task done with human intervention, done again and again, with the highest standards of quality and at a low price, chances are that the BPO industry has a solution for it.
The plethora of services the industry offers include some deeply entrenched ones that could be classified as sub-industries and some upcoming ones based on the changes that keep happening in the marketplace.
As a young company, oWorkers has clearly identified its niche and has risen to the rarefied heights of being identified as a top three provider in the world, in the space of data based BPO services.
Let us look at the various types of BPO services that are out there.
We will begin the discussion with data entry BPO, which is often considered the first step of the ladder on which the complexity keeps going up as you climb the higher rungs.
With gradual digitization of the world, the scope for data entry may have reduced, but it is nowhere near finished. Large volumes of legacy data still remain undigitized. Some current transactions and processes also go the manual route, creating a need for data entry. For example, prescriptions issued by physicians continue to be handwritten or, at best, done on standalone systems. In fact, medical transcription used to be a huge volume business a couple of decades back. Despite tools like Natural Language Processing (NLP), for greater accuracy, manual intervention still has no peers.
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%, measured across varying client scales as well as complexity of projects.
“The Times They Are a-Changin’” sang Bob Dylan in the sixties.
This has never been more apparent than in the emergence of content moderation in a discussion on the types of business process outsourcing. The rise of the internet followed by the social media platforms have created a powerful force for the propagation of free speech.
So much so that it is now having to be put on a leash of sorts as it has become apparent that some people abuse the privileges for spreading their own agenda of hate and miscommunication or communicate in ways that are not acceptable in a civil society. Additionally, with corporations riding on the popularity of the platforms and creating their own ‘spaces’ on them, are also mindful of the conversation not turning inimical to their interests.
This has given rise to the need for content moderation. BPO providers have risen to the challenge and stepped up to provide this form of support to those looking for it.
oWorkers is actively engaged in moderating content on the internet and managing communities on social platforms in order to protect the interest of the sponsoring company. Since offensive content can emanate from anywhere, anytime, its ability to provide support 24/7 in 20+ languages makes it an ideal partner.
Human Resource Outsourcing (HRO)
Hiring the right talent, retaining them and managing them during their career is a critical need in many companies. And this is only the marketplace perspective. As one goes deeper, it translates into a requirement for many processes to be handled, such as compensation, incentives, leave management, grievance redressal, etc.
When a company hires people, it also comes into the ambit of the laws that most jurisdictions have enacted to ensure reasonable treatment of the hired workforce. This results in laws such as those that govern minimum wages, workplace conditions including safety and the company’s contribution to the retiral benefits of the individual. Additionally, there is also a need for the company to file regular returns with the authorities.
This combination requires specialists, adept at handling both the sides.
Many companies, unable to handle the sensitivity and care required in this job, seek out HRO providers, now well established among the types of business process outsourcing services on offer.
As a preferred employer, oWorkers has attracted a consistent inflow of candidates interested in working for it, in all its delivery locations. Not only does it give access to a deep pool of talent, it also keeps hiring costs low which eventually gets passed back to clients through the pricing arrangement. With a stable HR management, oWorkers is able to impart a similar sense of stability to the clients for whom it undertakes HRO activity.
Sourcing and Procurement
Procurement and sourcing of input materials are key requirements for many manufacturing industries. As they are costs for the business, the effort, in many cases, is on reduction rather than creation of efficiency.
Outsourcing has the potential to release this function from the vicious cycle. This is because it is a revenue generator for the partner who will be interested in creating efficiency, and make the investment required. Both stand to benefit from the arrangement and the inherent incentive structure.
Apart from being GDPR compliant, oWorkers offers the comfort of operating from super secure, ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified facilities.
Finance & Accounting
Of the many responsibilities an organization has to fulfil, either as a way of staying competitive in the marketplace or for fulfilling the duties laid down by the laws of the land, the ones related to finance and accounting are found challenging by many.
Finance & Accounting works with money, a classic business function. By recording money transactions that have taken place, it seeks to create a picture, which can keep changing as more transactions get recorded, for the business that it can base its decisions on.
It is now accepted that qualified specialists in F&A can create value that goes beyond the recording and reporting. It can cover compliance, risk management, track receivables and manage payables, all designed to provide greater financial assurance and comfort.
Clients of oWorkers, especially those based in Western Europe and the US, routinely note savings of almost 80% in terms of cost. They are also enamored by the unique pricing model of oWorkers that offers them a choice between input and output-based pricing
Customer contact services
Contact Centre solutions have been among the earliest to assume scale in the BPO industry, supported by the continuous development of technology that supported the service and made it fairly transparent.
While there is no end to the level of specialization one could achieve, at the top level, Contact Center work is divided into two categories:
Inbound – This refers to the handling of customers calling in for service or problem resolution or prospects calling in to know more about the products and services offered, which could even be carved out as a Sales function. Another common type of inbound call is the one that seeks technical support.
Direct interaction with the customers of the client (outsourcer) is a sensitive and challenging task and requires utmost care. It not only requires understanding of the products and services offered but also an alignment with the company’s philosophy.
Outbound – When the call is initiated by the BPO provider, it is known as an outbound call. There are many companies that set up outbound calling services that make repeated, unwelcome calls to many prospective customers. They do a disservice to the industry and earn a bad name for it.
There are many other legitimate reasons for making outbound calls such as for reminder of something like a loan repayment falling due, or to make a collection call if it has become overdue.
Other customer interaction services
Contact Centers are not the only method for customers to contact a company, or vice versa, though it is the most commonly used one and perhaps employs the most manpower. This is perhaps the reason it stands in a category of its own when types of business process outsourcing are being tabulated, as it just as easily be a part of customer interaction services as a type.
There are many others. And as critical. The only difference is that they have some breathing space between the customer asking and they responding which can come in really handy when dealing with complex queries or difficult customers. Supervisors and colleagues can be consulted, literature can be perused, and help sought to ensure a great response.
What are these?
Representatives could interact, and be interacted with, on different media such as email, website queries, online chat or, nowadays, even a chat in social media.
With a leadership team that has over 20 years of hands-on experience in the industry, supporting clients in interacting with their customers in a tried and trusted manner is part of the DNA of oWorkers.
Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO)
Among the types of business process outsourcing are some that are based on specialized skills and knowledge, such as LPO or legal process outsourcing. Many companies like to contract out legal requirements such as writing contracts, drawing up documents, brief drafting, patent related services and many others.
While LPO is more commonly used by mid-sized organizations that cannot justify a full-time legal resource, it is not uncommon for corporations with in-house counsel to also resort to LPO for specific support, especially where an onsite physical presence might be required, such as court appearance.
With three global centers in different geographies, oWorkers is able to provide the capability of business continuity to its clients.
AI enablement services
AI enablement services could be considered as one of the newer kids on the block. Though it may not have been even a distant dream or vision when BPO started growing aggressively around the world in the nineties, today AI enablement is a major driver of adoption of BPO by many companies.
In fact, AI enablement appears to be tailormade for BPO, as well as built for a model where the voluminous manual processing is done by a BPO partner while a technology company at the frontend drives the creation, testing and implementation of the AI model. LIDAR segmentation or polygon annotation, audio or image files, telecommunications or automobiles, BPOs providing AI enablement services can do it for you.
As a recent entrant, oWorkers does not carry baggage of historical processes and has hit the ground running in adoption of current requirements of clients like data annotation. With its strong partnerships with technology companies, oWorkers accesses the most advanced technologies for deployment in client projects.
Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO)
While standardized, bulk processes were the ones to be initially identified for outsourcing, as confidence levels have gone up, so has the complexity of the work identified for outsourcing. Processing activities that are complex in nature and require knowledge in a particular sphere, such as market research, or analytics, or data management, are classified as KPO or Knowledge Process Outsourcing. Even LPO could be called a type of KPO, though it has now assumed the critical mass to stand in a category of its own. A wide range of industries such as financial services, health care and real estate could be clients for the KPO industry.
With its model of working with employees, and not contractual or freelance resources, as some of their competitors prefer, oWorkers is able to retain employees for longer and build a repository of knowledge that is helpful in projects like those of KPO. It also enables them to build a supervisory layer of staff with whose help projects are ably supervised.
Recruitment process outsourcing
Though it is a part of HRO (Human Resource Outsourcing) solutions offered by BPO providers, RPO, or Recruitment Process Outsourcing has become big enough to command a separate place in the types of business process outsourcing.
RPO addresses a big challenge faced by organizations, of recruiting the right resources and retaining them with the help of the right expectation setting and onboarding processes. RPOs take away at least a part of this worry from organizations.
oWorkers has done a commendable job with its own employees. Firstly, it operates through employees, and not freelancers and contractors like some of its competitors. This gives the company greater control and flexibility and the employees loyalty and stickiness with the company. It is no wonder that oWorkers continues to receive satisfaction scores in excess of 4.6, on a scale of 5, from present as well as past employees.
While many other forms of BPOs might be in existence, the above covers the various common types of business process outsourcing services.
This does not, however, mean, that there is no other way to look at the spectrum of BPO services available. There are many. Such as:
- Based on the industry they work for
- Based on borders
- Based on distance (or shore) of delivery from source of work
- Based on ownership of the delivery unit
- Based on channel of service
- Based on the development index of the provider location