Business Process Outsourcing is changing. For a long time, the focus of BPO has been delivering savings and efficiencies by outsourcing procurement tasks to lower-income countries. That is no longer the case.
In recent years, we have seen the evolution towards a more modern and sophisticated form of BPO.
New digital tools are creating exciting possibilities. What does the future of BPO look like?
The 2020s have the potential to be a fascinating decade. There is anticipation, especially in Silicon Valley, that this decade may be when we see advances in areas that have the potential to unlock huge productivity breakthroughs – such as autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, and genomics.
The recent artificial intelligence breakthrough from DeepMind shows we might be on the brink of something exciting. Specifically, major breakthroughs in areas like artificial intelligence have the potential to transform BPO, accelerating automation and procuring new solutions that will bring big benefits to businesses.
While this potential is incredibly exciting, the immediate benefits for businesses won’t come to fruition in the near-term. For most of us working in BPO day-to-day, the digital solutions in the marketplace are limited. Yes, many of them have value but none of them have a ‘one size fits all’ solution.
Instead, the best solutions offered today combine human expertise with digital techniques based on automation and artificial intelligence. It involves using human knowledge to identify the areas where BPO will deliver value and find the solutions that can optimize processes. This approach also makes BPO more viable for businesses with revenue in the $250 million to $1 billion region. By combining a human and digital approach, leaders can identify the areas where BPO will bring the most benefit and then select the right option for their businesses.
In the procurement space, this is particularly important to cope with these challenging times for businesses. Many CPOs are being asked to do more with less. BPO offers an opportunity to drive cost efficiency, as well as drive faster processes, achieve higher quality outcomes and centralize and mine truly insightful data.
The digital revolution may not have fully arrived yet, but for procurement leaders, a combined human and digital approach could offer the solution you are looking for.