I have lost count of how many times I have witnessed poorly executed business process outsourcing (BPO) initiatives. It seems many companies that embark on this process have an expectation that it will be “a simple relocation of a business function with minimal effort and management”.

In reality, it is rarely this straightforward and, in my opinion, this attitude or perception contributes to the failure of BPO initiatives. Like anything in business, you need to do the groundwork and put in effort to ensure a venture succeeds.

Establishing a BPO initiative takes research, planning and a measured return on investment.

There are a number of outsourcing options available and the pros and cons of offshore BPO should be weighed against individual organisational needs, KPIs and growth strategy.

Acumen Data recently embarked on this process and, as a result, has gleaned some useful insights and experience that other companies may find useful for informing their own BPO initiatives.

We started by researching a number of options:

  • Resourcing locally
  • Business Process Outsourcing providers
  • Building a team offshore ourselves
  • Building a team using an outsourced staffing solutions provider

It soon became clear, taking into account our business strategy, that local resourcing would be both costly and time consuming. We decided to focus on outsourcing key roles, to support our growth and customer engagement, while considering business functions that could be shared or relocated with a remote team.

Discussions with a number of offshore BPO providers in India, Philippines and Malaysia left us with a number of concerns and questions:

  1. The resource was positioned as a commodity
  2. There was a lack of transparency regarding the costs, remuneration structure and working conditions of BPO employees
  3. Were we willing to purely choose a BPO partner based on cost?
  4. Were we willing to accept that we wouldn’t know what our team was being paid or even the conditions that they were working under?

After a review of my personal and the corporate values, the short answer was – absolutely not!

Our next consideration was building our own offshore team, in this instance in Manila, however given our requirements this approach just didn’t make sense. So we continued our research into pros and cons of offshore-outsourced staffing solutions.

We finally found a partner in EMAPTA, an offshore business solutions company. It ticked all the boxes in terms of transparency, remuneration and fair working conditions. We were able to tailor the staffing solution and have complete control of staff management and workload, as well as establishing a mutual agreement regarding the investment and KPIs.

Importantly, our corporate values were aligned, and not only did they offer resources but an opportunity to be a part of something that could genuinely help the professionals we were hiring and their families.

My advice is to take the time to find the right outsourcing option and the right BPO partner and to consider the following when deciding on an outsourced staffing solutions provider:

Ensure your core corporate values align and look for similarities in your operational model

Transparency in cost breakdowns is essential

Staff presentation, office culture and working conditions are important

More questions? Feel free to email Richard at richard.bates@acumendata.com