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What Does Next-Generation BPO Look Like?

Sense of place, or perhaps ‘sense of BPO place’ is important

This post is sponsored by The Business Value Exchange and HP Enterprise Services

Somewhere along the line in between the 1990s and the so-called post-2000 ‘naughties' a change occurred. This change was subtle but important if you took an interest in enterprise-level management theories, methodologies and delivery mechanisms.

Outsourcing, as we once knew it, became Business Process Outsourcing. With an extended name and an accompanying acronym to boot, BPO arrived.

Actually that's not strictly what happened; in between outsourcing and BPO we saw outsourcing become offshore outsourcing. Functions from finance and billing to admin and support started to migrate offshore, along with other non-core operations that could be ‘manageably compartmentalized,' so-to-speak.

BPO: The Choice of a New Generation
If this is a brief and somewhat incomplete history of outsourcing, what comes next for next-generation Business Process Outsourcing?

Sense of place, or perhaps ‘sense of BPO place' is important. Business users today work to a set of commercially driven imperatives and requirements that can change quarter-by-quarter... possibly even month-by-month. What more justification then do you need for locating BPO control in the cloud for maximum flexibility.

Cloud should be a natural home for BPO for two reasons. Reason 1 is that the applications should be delivered in a subscription-based Software-as-a-Service format down the Internet pipe. Reason 2 is that a connected cloud environment provides a perfect location for higher-level dashboard views of the total system status and the health of all outsourced services.

Digging a little deeper you can see what a sensitive flower BPO really is. That is to say, the BPO of tomorrow is being influenced and driven very clearly and directly by those wider trends that we see in computing and IT as a whole.

Data analytics is on the tip of everyone's tongues as it forms such a close relationship with Big Data stores - but equally, data analytics should also form an integral part of the next generation BPO practices that we approach. We will not push any function (or part of a business function) to an outsourced state until it has been through the appropriate level of analytics, so that we know more about its value in the total workflow.

BPO Trends Are Trending
There's also a ‘modern trend' lilt to the way next-gen BPO is bending. What business process or control isn't being affected by mobile device proliferation and social collaborative connections? The answer is none and the same ruling applies to BPO.

All of this means that the next iteration of BPO controls will need to be embedded into our software application development infrastructure at the initial design phase. In the near future (and today too if you can stomach it) BPO will have become a composite part of a process-centric software architecture.

Senior director of product marketing at OpenText Brian Wick says that these developments mean that the applications and services you need to be able to deliver rapidly don't have to be developed from scratch, "But rather, they are composites of a [BPO and/or BPM] solution that you can piece together to meet your immediate needs. Now you can have a richer and faster way to create a variety of complex solutions without having to wait months to build the basic foundation of process that you may already have."

For a similar concurring view, HP's BPO blog team has written specifically on this subject saying that BPO providers must be collaborative and embrace hybrid models for these processes - while other tasks remain at internal centers.

Ruthless Streamlining
The HP blog team writes on BPO futures as follows, "The explosion of data and new technologies will require organizations to ruthlessly look to streamline their processes to survive and prosper in an increasingly complex world. Through slashing non-value-added activities, companies can not only survive, but differentiate through accelerating throughput, reducing errors, enhancing data integrity, increasing transparency and reducing costs. The technology and process expertise needed by enterprises to survive with increasing proliferation of technology and data will be a severe challenge for most firms. We believe that standardization, eliminating duplicate or ineffective systems, reducing points of input and required outputs, digitization, and enabling new technologies will be the key elements to achieving process simplification and competitive differentiation."

We know that our dynamic newly social more-mobile business channels are reshaping virtually every key constituent in an organization's value chain and BPO change is part of that total process. BPO will never be the same again and it already isn't.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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