Over the past two decades, business process outsourcing (“BPO”) has become a core part of the global business landscape. David Highbloom, an entrepreneur and expert in corporate strategy, marketing, and operations, explains that while BPO appears to be a simple concept with simple benefits, the true breadth of BPO’s impact is often underestimated. Firms that effectively execute on a well-conceived BPO strategy will reap rewards that go well beyond cost savings – rewards that include a massively accelerated ability to scale, dramatic improvements in adaptability and responsiveness, and seamless 24×7 availability of core functions like customer service. Never has it been more crucial to grasp the potential of BPO to transform an organization at every level.
The global pandemic is driving increased interest in BPO, as organizations look for ways to navigate an exceptionally challenging business environment. While the most obvious benefit of BPO – cost savings – is clearly important during these tough times, other advantages of an outsourced model may actually be more impactful at this particular moment in history. Chief among these under-appreciated benefits of BPO are flexibility, adaptability, and quality.
When executed correctly, BPO provides companies with the ability to scale rapidly based on market demand. If a firm suddenly needs to expand its sales organization from 12 to 1200, high quality BPO firms offer the ability to achieve that scale in a fraction of the time that it would take to hire, train, and manage a team that large internally. While few businesses are interested in rapidly increasing headcount at this moment, that is likely to change in the coming months as the global pandemic begins to wind down. Businesses that are unprepared for a rapid return of demand will leave dollars on the table, while those that can rise to the challenge will capture share and win new customers. Partnering with a strong BPO provider can enable a level of staffing responsiveness that is impossible to achieve independently.
BPO can also enable client companies to achieve a level of adaptability that would be infeasible for the client on their own. In the modern business environment, customer demands evolve at the speed of light, and these rapid changes often necessitate equally rapid changes in staffing. Functions and roles that didn’t exist three months ago suddenly take on life-and-death importance for the organization – but how can senior leaders effectively recruit for roles that have never existed at that company before, let alone ensure that these new hires are performing well, design strategic goals for these new teams to achieve, or assess which new team members deserve advancement? This is one of BPO’s greatest advantages. No matter how new a given role may be to a particular company, there exists a BPO provider with many years of experience providing that function to clients at a world-class level. Companies that understand and embrace this powerful advantage of outsourced service providers will outmaneuver competitors who insist on scaling up new functions with internal hires.
Finally, BPO provides access to levels of quality that can be very difficult for companies to obtain on their own: experienced specialists, world-class technology, deep domain expertise, and more. Just as management consulting firms provide client companies with temporary access to the world’s best management expertise, so to do high quality BPO firms provide access to all the best operational tools a client might need. And by allowing client management teams to focus on what they do best (the core of their own business), BPO even indirectly boosts the quality of output from a client’s own internal personnel.
Of course, the cost-saving aspects of BPO are of great benefit to client companies and are an important reason why firms pursue outsourced delivery models. But an excessive focus on costs ignores some of the greatest advantages of BPO – advantages that are especially important today. Organizations that understand the full potential of BPO to enhance their competitive position will thrive, while those that see BPO solely as a way to cut costs will miss valuable opportunities.
David Highbloom has over 25 years of experience building and scaling businesses within the business process and knowledge industries – including K-12 education, real estate, health service and consulting. David currently leads OfficePartners360 (OP360), a top business process outsourcing provider focused on continually raising the bar for world class customer experience by combining incredible people, innovative technology, and progressive thought leadership. OP360 was founded in the USA in 2006 and is a fast-growing global workforce solutions provider to both small-medium sized businesses and large Fortune 500 companies. OP360 engages in 24/7/365 services that allow clients to refocus on their core business by offering support in customer service (i.e. calls, email, live chat, social media) to outbound sales (lead qualification, warm transfers) and back-office (content moderation, online merchandising, catalog/inventory management, graphic design, virtual assistant). The company’s primary purpose is to increase shareholder value for their clients by significantly reducing costs, improving service levels, and accelerating top line revenue performance.