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March 2015 | Outsourcing Blog | BPO Industry Updates and Articles

Doing Things Right with Smartsourcing

by: Sarah Joson

Monday, March 30, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Outsourcing to Smartsourcing

Although a new concept, smartsourcing is rapidly becoming the trend and preferred method in the global outsourcing industry and the continuous progression of technology is propelling its growth. Technology, like the cloud, has provided a means for businesses to integrate smaller, flexible contracts that can be rolled out immediately, instead of the traditional bulk operations. However, choosing smartsourcing over outsourcing does not guarantee a better operation, nor will it solve all existing problems.

ComputerWorldUK.com shares basic steps of transitioning from outsourcing to smartsourcing:

Develop a strategy.
Like in most operations, strategy is always the backbone that will dictate if it will be a success or a total loss even before technology is brought into the picture. Once a strategy has been established, the IT department should be informed about the scale and requirements of the operation so that they can adjust accordingly, and figure out which areas need reinforcements.

The strategy should also depict possible scenarios in the future which could include scalability and project tenure, and analyze if the IT department can provide the requirements then they can map out and prepare for the future. But if they need to solve an issue in the process, they can rely on external service providers that can attend to the matter immediately. Once they are done fixing the issue or assisting the operation, they can leave and terminate the contract. This helps companies avoid large capital expenses, have faster turnaround time, and keep operations running smoothly.

Carry out the strategy.
Once you have decided that you will take the smartsourcing route, it is necessary to list down which processes need the extra help. For instance, it could be a department needing additional personnel to handle a ramp-up in production, assist in the expansion, and even align operations with the seasonal changes.  

Keep in mind, though, that there are things to take into account when scouting for the right provider. Look for a company that is true to their word. Perform due diligence. It also helps that you are on top of things when it comes to the operation, like knowing which parts are under your control, and which ones are transferred to the provider. Moreover, a plan B is sometimes necessary so you can minimize and control the damages once the operation goes south.

With the new set of revisions set to take place this year, healthcare organizations seem to have more on their plate as cost of operations continues to rise, and reimbursements are not as consistent as these are supposed to be. This then adds to the pressure within a medical organization, where everyone from the physician to the staff is affected, because instead of focusing on the needs of their patients, they also have to attend to administrative tasks to ensure proper work flow and finances.

Advantages of revenue cycle management outsourcing to healthcare providers

Outsourcing certain processes can be a great step towards streamlining operations. A post at HitConsultant.net lists down three advantages of revenue cycle management (RCM) outsourcing to healthcare providers:
Work out denied cases seamlessly.
From claims submission to payer collections, external providers can spot possible errors and problems that could lead to losses. One of these is denials management. In a report done by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), 50-65% of denials are not identified and addressed properly. This could then result to future occurrences and missed opportunities because they missed denials trends. As a matter of fact, the cost of modifying a misinterpreted claim is $25, and prevention is the only solution to these types of losses.

RCM outsourcing will lessen the admin work.
Healthcare providers went through a rigorous process of learning and preparing to care for patients, not to work on admin tasks brought on by billing procedures of an organization. The RCM provider will lessen the admin work for medical specialists so their time will be spent on what they are intended to do.   

Processes are attuned with the changes.
RCM outsourcing also enables healthcare organizations to keep up with major movements and updates in the industry, like the ICD-10 which is anticipated to produce more denials. RCM service providers are a step ahead on these changes, and they can help clients go through major changes in the industry - leading to an undisrupted setup.

3 Basic Principles of Content Marketing

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Content marketing, as defined by the Content Marketing Institute, is a marketing approach businesses use to create and distribute content that their customers deem valuable and relevant - with the objective of driving sales. Solid content marketing is what drives traffic to your website and eventually turns ordinary consumers into raving brand evangelists. Without it, your efforts to define yourselves online on various social media platforms would go to waste.

Basic principles of content marketing success

Here are three basic principles from Social Media Today that you should have nailed down in order to achieve content marketing success:
1. Choosing the right content
The key is to understand your audience. Knowing who your customers are will not only help in drafting your message, it will also give you an idea of the best type of content to meet their needs.

2. Identifying the right distribution option
Identify the best way to share content you’ve created. Consider everything from potential return on investment to content type, and incorporate a combination of traditional marketing methods with modern digital techniques. You can also study the successful marketing campaigns of your competitors.

3. Defining goals and measuring success
Make sure you have a clearly defined content marketing strategy, what action you want your target audience to take. Map out your desired response. Breaking down the personas of each individual within the buying process will help create specific targets for your project, and it’s easier to gauge the initial investment needed.

Questions to address in optimizing digital engagement

It should go without saying that every cyber activity conducted by an organization should be strategic, tightly focused, and valuable. There are five key questions that need to be addressed before an organization sets out to engage and establish a presence on the digital space. Ideally, these questions are tackled by a small group of key players. Also, organizational leaders, albeit not that digitally sophisticated, can provide guidance to make sure those to whom they’ve delegated several digital engagement activities are as focused and efficient as possible and are maximizing the return on investment.

1. What are you trying to achieve?
This is where everything begins: a clear articulation of your organization’s goals and objectives in concrete terms. Are you doing this to generate revenue? If so, how do you want to do that? Or do you want to increase awareness of your company and/or your brand(s)? If this is the case, think about the main products/services you want to promote, which market segment(s) you want to focus on, who your customers are and their key characteristics, and given the typical sales cycle, whether or not your promotional focus is long-term. Or perhaps you’d like to demonstrate thought leadership? Then determine what kinds of thought leaders you want to be seen as, and by whom.

2. Who is your target market?
This requires comprehensive research, but should already be known just as with your organization’s goals and objectives, at least at a basic level. Who makes the buying decisions? What are their general demographic characteristics? Know how digitally literate your audience is, how engaged they are and where, their digital activities and interests, and types of content they prefer. While these can be hard to address in detail, it should still be possible to get a general sense based on historical information and knowledge. A great way to get more certain answers is by conducting research via focus groups and/or by surveying current/prospective customers.

3. How does digital engagement help you achieve your goals?
Once you’re armed with a set of strategic and tactical objectives and the profile of target audience in both general and digital terms, it’ll be fairly easy to assess which platforms and channels offer the best potential ROI. Compare readily available user information from established digital channels and platforms (like demographic data, communication styles, and engagement activities) against goals and audience profiles to determine the best fit and opportunities. You’ll find that some platforms are best for revenue generation, while others for brand awareness, and still others thought leadership; and that different channels/platforms are most appropriate for different market segments. The key is to realize that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and that a multi-channel, segmented, targeted approach to digital engagement is probably best.

Match each goal to its target audience and specific digital channels/platforms, adding the type of digital engagement that makes the most sense for each. Channels/platforms where you’ve established a strong presence will provide a foundation for assessing whether and how new channels/platforms fit into the overall digital engagement mix.

4. Can you do it right - and can you keep it up?
This is where the big challenge lies: being realistic about what you can do given resource constraints. Determine the required investment in terms of human resources, time, and money. Is it worth it in terms of the potential return? Make a digital competency assessment first by asking if you have the internal resources with the necessary digital literacy to establish a strong presence and represent your company and brand(s) well. If you don’t have the right internal resources, consider outsourcing your digital engagement and to whom.

Also, think of how you can ensure that assigned resources have the knowledge, skills and abilities needed, are effective as well as efficient, and have the judgment to questions things and look for better approaches. No matter how skilled someone is, establishing a strong presence in any digital channel is time-consuming and requires ongoing commitment. The demands are relentless and holiday breaks don’t exist in cyberspace. These are the required activities:

  • Regularly and consistently share relevant curated and/or created content.
  • Monitor activity and engage with others.
  • Keep up with software, feature, and design changes on various platforms/channels.
  • Maintain an accurate profile and related info.

5. Are you prepared to pull the plug if/when necessary?
Just as you have to give a decent amount of time to get started and take off, you should also set a deadline by which you’re going to make a “stay or go” call (and by what criteria). When that time comes, assess whether a continued investment of resources is warranted based on the results to date and in the context of other organizational priorities. Should you need to take a temporary break, let people know you’re on hiatus. Be realistic about whether you’re ever going to return to the digital property. If you’re not, it’s best to pull the plug officially and not look back.


Tech Solutions for BPO

With all the changes that outsourcing buyers are looking for, service providers are working double time to meet clients’ expectations which include improving operational efficiencies and outsourcing’s overall impact on business outcomes. This is according to the Everest Group report “Reinventing Business Process Services (BPS) - Leveraging Technology to Deliver on New Expectations”.

The business process services (BPS) market has been divided into two broad groups based on one’s tech maturity. You have the early adopters, or the experienced organizations, and there are the first-time tech adopters. Basically, providers are designing their strategies around these two categories. However, since their strategies will evolve around other factors such as development, deployment, pricing, and other characteristics, the “DNA” of each solution will positively vary.

Moreover, new trends such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and digital technologies are also changing the way buyers make their outsourcing decisions.

Here are some of the highlights, as posted at Research.EverestGrp.com:

• BPS contracts and strategies are now rapidly focusing more on technology.
• Technology solutions have been gaining traction in the BPS space, and outlook for the coming months remains positive.
• Digital solutions have picked the interest of other buyers; in fact, solutions that anchor on digital components continue to grow.
• Technology solutions are often divided into two categories: augmentation solutions and platform-based solutions.
• More buyers are leaning towards augmenting their operations rather than opting for a platform-based operation.
• Even with the rise of analytics and data management solutions under the augmentation category, RPA solutions are showing a promising growth.
• RPA solutions are also cited as the game-changer in the BPS segment.

When should you Outsource IT Processes?

by: Sarah Joson

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Know when IT outsourcing is good for your business

ITWorldCanada.com listed down some signs which will tell you that outsourcing IT processes may be good for your business:

Movements and developments within the organization
As companies continue to expand, managers should consider the essential tools that their employees need to move forward, as well as the availability of IT staff who will assist and implement the changes during the transition and expansion. Businesses that grow at a rapid rate face challenges such as failing to establish an IT team that will help the rising volume of employees with their tech problems.

You are not up-to-date when it comes to IT trends.
Companies are struggling to keep up with the tech changes and trends that could either help in the expansion, or simply drive innovation throughout the organizations. Constantly training a growing IT team can be redundant, which is why contracting a service provider that has a pool of candidates with varying skills could be more suitable for an organization.

Never-ending budget hurdles
There are many reasons why businesses are outsourcing their IT processes, and the most popular and longstanding one is the tight budget. For instance, covering the benefits and retirement obligations can be too much for a company. In some cases, the company could afford the latest in technology, but doesn’t have funds to hire an expert to carry out the changes.

You need data to be accessible at all times.
Cloud hosting helps organizations gain remote access to vital information, but let’s face it, you need someone to work on the equipment and monitor the software applications that you will be using. You also need to address preventive maintenance issues and respond to urgent problems. However, it may not be economical for some companies to hire a team of full-time IT experts to monitor all the activities. It may be better to tap an IT service provider, and only pay for the services they have carried out.

You don’t have a stable IT environment.
If your IT environment is outdated and unstable, don’t be too quick in hiring full-time IT experts. You might want to classify your IT needs as short-term since you can hire a service provider that will fix and upgrade your system. In addition to that, your outsourced team can address troubleshooting problems, power outages, and equipment failure.

Nowadays, companies have taken a different approach when outsourcing IT processes. They are now more welcoming when it comes to the delivery models, processes, and approaches of IT outsourcing. For instance, there’s the multisourcing approach in which a company deals with several different providers. Also, they are more willing to sign shorter-term deals, or have taken the initiative to pull back parts of their IT processes.

Rise of insourcing in the global IT sector

ChannelWorld.in shares the article written by Stephanie Overby which covers the rapid rise of insourcing in the global IT sector.

Mike Slavin, Managing Director of outsourcing consultancy Alsbridge, said innovation is linked to the movements in insourcing. He said these changes become more noticeable in second and third generation renewals.

It was then discovered that more and more businesses are seeking innovation in their processes, and with outsourcing, innovation efforts are just not enough. Outsourcing providers, on the other hand, are protesting, saying clients do not fully understand what innovation entails. Also, innovation has no place in traditional outsourcing models.

Slavin also pointed out that whatever cost issues faced by providers, they address those by updating the budget of their internal operations, or their costing/propositions, just so they could win deals. This could be beneficial for them at first, but it leaves account managers helpless when it comes to designing groundbreaking ideas and projects. Also, it is very unlikely for a deal to have an innovation committee or even a separate budget to drive innovation.

Slavin cited what traditional tech giants such as IBM and HP did - both transferred human and physical assets to the provider. This is said to thwart innovation. Indian providers, on the other hand, designed business models on labor arbitrage and competitive price points, but it also resulted to foiled innovation.

Cloud played a major role in shaping the tech world to what it is today. Even veterans who survived many layoffs are dubbed as cloud or mobility experts, when in reality, clients need to meet fresh faces who are well acquainted with the latest in technology.

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