Written by Allie Delos Santos
Gone are the days when outsourcing vendors provided only limited services and catered to selected clients. With globalization accelerating, business process outsourcing (BPO) has become more accessible to companies across different industries and sizes.
As the world embraces digital transformation, seeing where the outsourcing industry will go is fascinating. Here is a glimpse of the future of the BPO industry in this digital age and the trends that will shape the sector further.
BPO Trends to Lookout For
Before we begin, what is BPO? It is the process of delegating business processes to a third party.
The best infrastructure and systems, the latest technology, and top-tier workers will power the BPO sector of the future. BPO companies must be efficient enough to withstand future crises.
Disruptions and advancements cannot easily eradicate outsourcing services. Instead, they help improve its potential to deliver value-adding solutions. Here are different trends that can shape the future of the BPO industry in this digital age:
- Automation: We can expect the BPO industry to become more automated in the future through artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA). Automation will support agents instead of replacing them. With automation, workers can free up time from repetitive workloads and focus more on complex tasks.
- RPA and AI: The global BPO industry expects growth of up to $577 billion by 2030 at an 8.9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Using RPA and AI will accelerate the industry’s growth during the forecast period. Another driver is the rise in information technology (IT) investment in companies due to digital transformation.
- Conversational AI: Although BPO has been using conversational AI for a while, its use cases will expand. Voice bots or voice AI are good examples because they reduce customer complaints. Additionally, customers learn from prior interactions with AI regarding complex issues, further reducing complaints and improving customer service.
- Contact center as a service (CCaaS): Another factor that could shape the future of the BPO industry in this digital age is CCaaS, which combines cloud-based infrastructure and contact center hosting for a flexible, pay-as-you-go service model. As more businesses embrace cloud-based services, this technology is likely to gain traction.
- Self-service options: With bots and automation, self-support options in call center services will improve. New forecasts disprove the old belief that self-service would eventually replace human interaction. Self-service will handle most inquiry resolutions, letting agents focus on complex issues that need intervention.
- Training and upskilling: With more and more bots and AI programs taking over repetitive and simple work, agents must be ready to handle complex tasks. Enhanced training and upskilling are necessary to prepare them for value-adding functions and inform them of the latest technological changes.
- Remote work: Many BPO services have adapted to remote work to maximize resources. This allows for more flexible and productive setups, empowering agents to provide the best support to end users and improve customer satisfaction. Remote work prevents location dependency, enabling agents to serve clients regardless of time zone.
- Security standards: The rise of remote work highlights the need for better security standards. A distributed workforce requires BPO companies to add another layer of data security to retain their clients. This means incorporating multi-factor authentication and training employees on data protection.
- Value roles: As BPO companies keep up with the digital age, they will open up new roles. BPO providers project a spike in demand for programmers, data scientists, and analysts to process large amounts of data.
Challenges That the BPO Industry Is Facing in the Digital Age
Outsourcing providers face unique challenges nowadays, which they must overcome. This list gives you more insights into the common problems that arise when operating a BPO company, potentially shaping the future of the BPO industry in this digital age.
- Increase in self-service: Research from Gartner shows that 70% of buyers prefer to find answers to their questions on the brand’s website instead of calling an agent. BPO companies must provide easy access to self-service options to better serve their clients’ customers.
- Growing mobile use: Customers can reach brands in many ways using one device and expect to connect through their preferred channels. While this brings certain challenges, it also provides opportunities to reach customers quickly. Companies can keep brand knowledge in a central area so users can access it through various points.
- Increasing need for digital security: BPO companies work with confidential client data. BPO firms are very sensitive to this matter, as hackers or malicious employees can steal private data. Hence, they must process data over secure networks. They also require regulatory approval and buy-in from the clients.
- Shifting legislation and politics: Changing political situations can affect the BPO sector. Economic turmoil or protests affect offshore workers, while new legislation may prohibit outsourcing in some areas. Hence, BPO companies must remain current on relevant countries’ political situations to avoid breaking regulations.
- Disrupted communication: Most communications between BPO companies and their clients are through digital platforms, susceptible to disruptions from internet outages or poor connections. However, modern communication tools lessen disruptions. BPO providers also have backup plans to deal with these challenges.
Despite the challenges, the future of the BPO industry in this digital age is bright. Innovative technologies, such as RPA and AI tools, help BPO companies extend their services and compete in higher-value segments. It enables them to propose win-win pricing structures, save clients money, increase margins, and provide exceptional service.
The Future of the BPO Industry in this Digital Age
Now that you know the trends and current state of outsourcing, let us discuss the future of the BPO industry in this digital age.
How should your business leverage these advanced solutions in the future? With business process management (BPM), of course.
BPM is a discipline that measures, analyzes, optimizes, and improves business processes for a more effective and efficient organization. BPM providers manage full business processes for you, from generating ideas to making plans, augmenting staff, and managing operations.
According to McKinsey, the BPO industry must evolve from traditional outsourcing and basic automation to entirely digitized operations through BPM. Learn the most utilized BPO models and identify how to evolve from traditional outsourcing. Here are critical elements of next-gen outsourcing deals:
- The legacy approach was a straightforward transaction geared towards generating marginal efficiencies. The future should focus on radically transforming operations through digitalization.
- Client companies can leverage shared incentives aligned with innovation. Through gain-sharing arrangements, they can structure deals to incentivize innovation.
- Outsourcing a single, fragmented portion of a process and hoping to see better results will no longer be applicable. Service providers must own and transform the process from end to end by digitizing, optimizing, and eliminating manual work and processes.
The Bottom Line
Companies will always need to maximize resources to keep operations afloat and focus on growth, so it is safe to say that the future of the BPO industry in this digital age is bright. Outsourcing is a great solution to tap into the best teams and leverage automation technologies. It also allows businesses to expand without using much of their resources.
With our years of experience, Unity Communication has become a global leader in digital transformation, combining expertise, technology, and solutions that help you achieve your goals. Let’s connect to discuss how we can help.
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About The Author
Allie Delos Santos is an experienced content writer who graduated cum laude with a degree in mass communications. She specializes in writing blog posts and feature articles. Her passion is making drab blog articles sparkle.
Allie is an avid reader—with a strong interest in magical realism and contemporary fiction. When she is not working, she enjoys yoga and cooking.