The Role of IT Business Process Outsourcing

Is IT the same as ITES? IT is short for Information Technology, the ubiquitous activity that uses computing systems to create, store, process and exchange digital information, as well as the use of programs to process information. It is sometimes also referred to as a part of ICT, which stands for Information and Communications Technology which, together, have made sweeping changes to the world in the last few decades. ITES stands for Information Technology Enables Services, which is also used as an alternate name for the Business process Outsourcing (BPO) industry. Why is it referred to as ITES? Perhaps the reason is that the industry rides on the backbone of IT and Telecommunications. In other words, it has been enabled by IT, without which it may not exist in the shape and form that we know of it. There is even a term that brings telecommunications and information technologies together; it is referred to as ICT, or Information and Communications Technology. Hopefully, this clears the confusion, if any, between IT and ITES so that IT business process outsourcing does not end up being confused with or for ITES. If anything, for people who prefer to use ITES instead of BPO, as some tend to, it should be referred to as IT ITES. But as this again has the potential to create confusion, we will stick to the usage of IT BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) as the common term through this article. Leveraging developments in IT, oWorkers offers data and back-office services in the BPO space. Despite being a new entrant with about 8 years of delivery experience behind us, we are already counted as one of the top three providers in our chosen area of work.

IT Outsourcing and IT Business Process Outsourcing

Information technology has evolved in leaps and bounds in the last half a century. It had been evolving rapidly even before that. At each stage it has appeared that momentous changes are taking place, unlike any that have taken place in the past. And we are still saying the same thing, which means that the pace of development has only been accelerating. Many of the things we take for granted today, did not always exist. The pocket calculator is only about 50 years old. As is the Intel microprocessor that opened the floodgates of the computing industry. Video games started with Pong and birthed a technology-based industry larger than music and movies put together. The first cell phone call was also made in the seventies. TCP, Ethernet and fiber optics came into being as well. The eighties saw personal music taking off with the Sony Walkman introduced a year earlier. IBM introduced PCs. Lotus 1-2-3 came into being and became a hit as the PC’s killer application. People old enough to have used it still swear by it. Microsoft came into its own. The World Wide Web, that has revolutionized everything since, came into being at the start of the nineties. SMS messages were exchanged for the first time, and Amazon was born. Netflix and Google were also founded in the late nineties. The start of the 21st century brought forth more revolutions in technology. Social media became the thing with the launch of Facebook. YouTube and Twitter were also born a few years later. There is no saying where we will be in ten years hence, such is the pace of technological change. Companies have come to recognize the importance of technology in creating efficiencies and being competitive in the marketplace. This has given rise to IT business process outsourcing. The partnerships we have forged with leading IT companies, gives us an edge in delivering on client projects. We are able to leverage the latest technologies for their work which they would otherwise have no access to. 85% of our clients are technology companies themselves. Needless to add, we are ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) and operate with the highest standards of data security. We are also GDPR compliant.

IT business process outsourcing is one of many types

A company needs to run many processes, independent and inter connected, in its daily operations, whatever business it is in. There will, of course, be the core around which it has been created. Each industry will have a different core. Insurance, aerospace, hardware, software, construction, education, retail, banking, are alle examples of unique industries. Each will have its own unique work and business processes designed to create value. The software industry, for example, would be informed about developments in software coding and be staffed with people who are adept at it. The banking industry would be informed about lending money to interested parties and evaluating their creditworthiness. And so on. Each core business could have business processes that are outsourced for various reasons. At the same time, there are many processes the company has to run just because it is running a business in a competitive environment with external dependencies as well as being in a regulated jurisdiction. It needs to honor both these constituencies. It needs the support of a human resources management team that is able to locate and hire suitable people, provide these resources with required training, while compensating them in a manner that is aligned with the rules that normally exist regarding minimum wages, work hours, retiral benefits, etc. It needs accounting personnel to ensure that it is able to record the transactions being carried out and ongoing assessment of the profitability of the business. At the same time, it needs to pay taxes determined by the laws of the land, and file various reports and submissions as per the timelines specified. There are several other functions that may have similar dependencies and requirements. While traditionally most of these have been carried out with internal resources, the evolution of business processing options has provided companies with more options. The major advantage being that the vendor is likely to be an expert in the area and ensure the client stays efficient as well as compliant. This could be an advantage especially for small companies that may not have the volumes to hire experts in each of these functions. The ability to hire the best resources for all jobs sets oWorkers apart from its competitors. We are a preferred employer in all our delivery locations. This draws a steady stream of jobseekers to our offices, not only reducing our advertising cost but also giving us a choice in recruitment, which, often, BPOs do not have. This also positions us to offer resources for short-term, unforeseen peaks in volume clients sometimes face. We can hire an additional hundred resources within 48 hours. This saves clients the trouble of maintaining a bench for such eventualities.

The need for IT business process outsourcing

IT functions that a company needs to carry out are no different. With rapid digitization over the last few decades, digital technology has become an integral part of most businesses. Like someone said, today every business is a technology business, whether in the retail industry or manufacturing or banking or another. It follows, therefore, that all companies have a dependency on this function for the smooth operation of their business, of course some more and some less. Again, no different from their dependency of HR and Finance and Legal and other functions that support their company. Requirements could be many, starting from the simplest. Every business needs a website, for example. Even though it is not a legal requirement, it is considered to be a ‘proof of life’ of a business; that it exists. However, not every company or business is proficient at building and maintaining a website, even though hosting companies say that their tools make it easy to build one. Besides, there are ongoing adjustments that may need to be done because underlying technologies also keep upgrading and offering newer versions. And again, on many occasions, the company may not be in a position to employ suitable or expert personnel in the IT area. A company may well need the support of an expert in the area to ensure that they have a website that is suitable and current. This can be achieved in many different ways. The company could engage a task-based freelancer or time-based contractor. It could engage an IT staffing company for the resources or it could go to an IT company that delivers the services it requires. oWorkers operates 24×7 from all its centers for clients who need those hours. We are also able to provide support in 22 languages, often a requirement in supporting large, global corporations with staff members around the globe. Several global unicorn marketplaces already use our services to support their business.

IT services outsourced

Though it would vary with the needs of each outsourcer, there are a number of services that are selected by many companies for IT business process outsourcing. Some of the popular ones outsourced are:
  • Software (or application) development
  • Web hosting and development
  • Application management and support
  • IT helpdesk and technical support
  • Database development and management
  • Data Center management
  • Email services
  • Cloud services
  • Digital and logical security management
This is not an exhaustive list. It is more indicative. Each B2B arrangement is unique. With the guidance of a management team that has over 20 years of hands-on experience in the industry, oWorkers is constantly on the lookout for expanding our service portfolio. With the help of our employed staff, not contractors and freelancers preferred by a few competitors, we are able to upskill our employees for taking on newer roles. We pay social and local taxes for staff members. We are rated 4.6 (or more) on a 5-point scale, both by existing and former staff members.

IT business process outsourcing models

For achieving best results from any endeavour, such as outsourcing, arming oneself with knowledge about the possibilities could be a great starting point for eventual realization of the goals. This way, when one interacts with the external world, all players within which seeking to maximize value for themselves while serving you, one will start from a position of strength. There are several models that have gained acceptance in the world of IT outsourcing that seem to work well for both the outsourcer as well as the partner.

Dedicated Team

Based on the scope agreed, the vendor puts together a team of competent resources that, together, is able to meet the client requirements. This model is, perhaps, as close as one can get to an inhouse solution where you control the resources and what they do. They could be full-time or part-time resources depending on the requirement of the project. The key thing here is that the resources are identified and interact directly with the client. Since the team is individually identified, it lends continuity as the same people are involved day after day. It can also create a harmonious working relationship very similar to being in the same group or team. However, the effectiveness of this model increases over time and may not be suitable for short-term requirements.

Process Outsourcing

This could be considered as a purer form of outsourcing with the focus being on the tasks and outcomes and not on the team or people. The vendor takes over the complete responsibility for agreed deliverables for the in-scope products and services. This model has been mostly adopted for requirements pertaining to software development and implementation where the requirement to work with the client team is occasional and not frequent. Its efficacy for other IT requirements is not yet uniformly accepted. Hence, if the primary requirement is application or software development, this could be a good model to choose. The client perhaps has less control over the development process, but then, he needs only the finished product.

Staff Augmentation

As the name indicates, this model enables expansion of your capacity through the provision of suitable resources that can work with your team. It essentially presupposes your capability of carrying out IT related work on your own. It supports you by obviating the need for you to manage the non-work aspects of your resources through the Staffing model. The vendor hires resources as per your specifications, or provides you resources they already have on board, and does all administrative work like hiring and compensation related activities. Thus, while you own the executions of all tasks, you have flexibility in terms of resources and can add or subtract as per requirements. In this model, apart from ensuring the quality of the resources offered to you, the credentials of the vendor also become relevant as the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of people working on your projects could be impacted by their professionalism, or lack of it.

In summary

The net result of our capabilities and efficiencies is that clients get an extremely competitive price. Not only that, we usually offer a choice between output and input based pricing to clients. Clients remember and talk about it for a long time.

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