The bar in outsourcing is being raised.
Though reducing costs and contracting out non-primary activities remainthe dominant causes of outsourcing, what’s expected of BPO firms is changing. And so are the industry’s expectations of BPO professionals.
Earlier companies expected greater efficiency, lower costs and streamlined operations. The demands are becoming more complex now. Companies arelooking for value-addition alongside. Leading BPOs are blurring the boundaries by providing consulting services viabusiness insights, driving innovation, providing customized solutions, and making a commitment to continuous improvement par with new age.
Central to the transformation of BPO industry is the digital age and emerging technologies. Clutch 2019 statistics show,
Despite slight dips in previous years, outsourcing remains a dominant market force. Other than large corporations, BPO servicesare also being sought by small businesses. At present over one-third of small businesses have outsourced at least one of their business functions.Many moreare to join their league.
The expected 2020 BPO trends depict that the outsourcing industry (BPOs, KPOs, LPOs combined)will be on its maximum growth verge, and innovative technologies will direct the frequency of thisgrowth.
Here are top five 2020 trendsthat will come forth in the outsourcinglandscape, and how they will impact the professionals entering or working in the industry.
Five big 2020 trends for BPOs
1. Automation – Less on errors, more on precision
Minimal errors, better compliance, and superior job satisfaction are three features of efficient BPO firms. These are also three assurances given by automation. BPO industry can significantly benefit from automation, and this is what is also in cards. Automation will be used for:
· Automating tedious business processes.
· Increasing the precision and efficiency of services.
· Spare time for improved decision-making for professionals.
· Expand the reach and root of BPOs to remote markets.
What it implies for professionals? Though good news for the industry as it will get a fresh breath of life with automation, it is rather scary news for BPO professionals. This wave will show the doors to unskilled and inexperienced professionals. On the other side, it will give way to many skilled professionals. You can brace yourself for this change by keeping pulse of changes in the industry, and opting for continuous education by getting certified in specialized functions.
2. Social media – Surpassing the age of call centers
Call centers will soon become table stakes. In 2020, companies will begin to take their operations on social media as that is where they will find their customers.
Several reports suggest social media is the third most popular online activity.
A business that won’t use social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter,WhatsApp, Instagram,WeChat,TikTok, LinkedIn, among several others) will be missing out on a lot.This will be the real game changer trend for the BPO industry as it sheds its age old call center image and go social. BPOs will use social media because:
· Consumers will expect companies to be as invested in social media as they are.
· Managing dozens of social media accounts is a full-time job, and will require specialized manpower and time.
· It will become pertinent to quickly address consumer concerns and put out fires before they get out of hands.
· Connect to diverse and scattered online audiences on one platform.
· Identify and convert potential sales target.
What it implies for professionals? This will create a demand for BPO professionals who can monitor sales and bring best of data – from online social world. Those in digital marketing, content development, sales and PR will be apt for these positions.
3. Cloud – The age of software as a service
Not so long ago, BPO industry used to host its own applications for business. This entailed purchasing large and expensive servers and employing on-site IT staff to maintain them. In 2020, this is changing, and businesses are becoming leaner. There is a shift toward using cloud products and concept of software as a service. A survey by Flexera shows,
Around 95% of outsourcing firms that were surveyed say that have already adopted cloud technology.
BPO firms are not only adopting cloud technology, but also offering those sevices– on-demand access to networks, servers, applications and storage through internet. BPOs are making a shift to cloud as:
· This would help them respond quickly to changing business needs.
· It is almost always cheaper than in-house solutions.
· It streamlines the processes and make them more efficient.
· It’s beneficial tax-wise. Cloud services are considered operational expense than capital expenditure in accounting that helps them get their tax write-offs soon.
· There is a high demand for cloud in even small businesses, who get access to larger computing resources as a result.
What it implies for professionals? For BPO professionals this means having a know-how of working on cloud. Those in IT side of BPOs, this means adapting themselves with cloud tools, software and other operational intricacies. Professionals working or looking to work for BPO firms outsourcing cloud services, they would need an inside out knowledge of taking the processes on cloud and managing them.
4. Tailored solutions– Smart, fitted, and well-cut
You might wonder how automation and customization can go together. But it can and this is another shift outsourcing industry is witnessing. Call centers allow a customer or client to give a human touch to conversation by addressing individual needs. Though the processes are being automated, the real challenge is to maintain the human touch and personalization. The shift in BPO industry to providing customized solutions is because:
· This would give businesses better business insights.
· Tailor-fit solutions are customers’ favorite. They expect that their pain points be addressed specifically, not in generic format.
· Generating engagement around products or services requirescustomization.
What it implies for professionals?This entails professionals to become flexible and multitaskers in their approach. Further, the challenge for BPO professionals is to bring about ideas to automate at the same time keeping important parts of the pipeline customized.
5. Rounded employees – From single hand skills to multitasking
The functions and services that can now be outsourced have spurred. Companies are outsourcing almost anything and looking for BPOs that can do it all. From customer service, social media solutions, design, IT, and much more. This would call for the need for more rounded employees who can multitask. The shift in BPOs’ preferences from specialized to rounded employees is because:
· BPOs are diversifying their services.
· They are facing a shortfall of employees who can multitask.
· This makes their processes more efficient, while reducing costs.
What it implies for professionals? Well, this brings us to the biggest takeaway for BPO Professionals. From taking calls to switching between social media engagement would be commonplace. The role of professionals in BPOs will extend from providing services, to making sure value is added to them. Basically, be a go-getter!
For professionals working or aspiring to work in the outsourcing industry, these changes though would rearrange the landscape, but it is not necessarily that bad. It could be a saving grace for professionals who can now shift their focus to creative tasks and important decision making that machinesand software can’t simply do.
A highly dependable route is gaining certifications to prove your mettle in different BPO functions andjump from a fresher to an operations leader. They will keep you relevant and make you future-proof!