Business process outsourcing (BPO) has evolved with time and the rampant innovation in technology. The BPO trend is accelerating. It is a subset of outsourcing that involves the contracting of the operations and responsibilities of a specific business process to a third-party service provider. Originally, outsourcing was associated with manufacturing firms, such as Coca-Cola, that outsourced large segments of its supply chain.
BPO is typically categorized into back office outsourcing, which includes internal business functions such as human resources or finance and accounting, and front office outsourcing, which includes customer-related services such as contact center services. In addition, other outsourcing segments within the global industry include business services, energy, technology, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, retail, travel and transport, and telecom and media.
The revenue of the global outsourced services industry rose steadily year over year from $45 billion in 2000 to just under $100 billion in 2012.
India is a clear leader in this area, offering a highly skilled, educated, cost effective, English-speaking labor pool. Still, many organizations are understandably apprehensive about having people on the other side of the world support critical business functions. However, some of the best outsourcing providers have mitigated the risk and addresses the concerns that clients may have about placing their work offshore through their innovative project management strategies.
WNS Holdings (WNS) operates in two segments: WNS Global BPO and WNS Auto Claims BPO. Its clients are primarily in the travel, banking, financial services, insurance, healthcare and utilities, retail and consumer product industries. WNS Global is a global business process management company headquartered in Mumbai, India. It has more than 29,000 employees working in 37 “delivery centers” across the world, including India, the U.S., United Kingdom, China, Costa Rica, Philippines, Poland, Romania, South Africa, and Sri Lanka.
Another company that has embraced the BPO model is Accenture (ACN). One of the top multinational management consulting, technology services, and outsourcing company, ACN reported revenues of over $30.0 billion with approximately over 330,000 employees, serving clients in more than 200 cities in 56 countries. In 2012 Accenture had about 80,000 employees in India, more than in any other country, about 40,000 in the US, and about 35,000 in the Philippines.
While there has been push back from U.S. consumers regarding poor service at certain international call centers, it is clear to me that the more a company is willing to think globally, they open themselves to greater profits. The BPO model should be expected to grow for years to come.