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May 2015 | Outsourcing Blog | BPO Industry Updates and Articles

According to H Karthik, partner and leader of the global sourcing research practice of outsourcing consultancy and research firm Everest Group, the offshore captive center was deemed "dead" in the last 10 years, but this delivery model is seen thriving once again this year. Also, it is expected to post continuous growth, propelled by organizational preferences and not with the model failing to meet expectations.

Offshoring captive centers take up 25% of the global services market

Captive centers form 25 percent of the global services market worth $150 billion in 2014. The delivery model is suitable for processes that involve critical or complex tasks and/or those that deal with sensitive information. Karthik said since a captive center is in effect part of the business, it can work well in processes where context and familiarity of the business are necessary.

Based on an article published at www.cio.com, Everest Research said captive centers are being utilized by firms from industries such as technology and manufacturing, distribution, and retail (MDR). Social, mobile, analytics, and cloud computing are likewise adopting the captive center setup. According to Everest, Fortune 500 companies get the lion’s share of the market. More than half (61 percent) of captive center parent organizations posted revenues worth $10 billion or more. Also, 64 percent of these centers have more than 500 employees. Larger firms may be dominating the captive center space, but Karthik said a growing number of smaller firms are adopting the delivery model.

When it comes to locations firms prefer for offshore captive centers, India takes the lead. Half of global in-house centers choose the country for competitive costs and the volume and scope of work that it can handle, said Karthik. On the other hand, countries such as the Philippines, Poland, China, Malaysia, Costa Rica, and Romania are seen as potential options. Businesses choose these destinations for different reasons. For instance, companies go to the Philippines to set up contact centers. Poland is known for their banking and financial services. Malaysia is an expert in providing Asian language support, while Romania is a nearshoring destination for companies based in Western Europe. Karthik added that companies with presence in India set up in other locations as well to lower the concentration risk.

The captive center market shows signs of growth, and it continues to evolve from a way to reduce costs to a business solution that improves value and performance. Karthik said global in-house centers go beyond cost savings. They are leaning towards improving process effectiveness and efficiency, expansion of scope of their offerings, and transitioning to offer more complex tasks.

The Global Startup: 8 Things You Need to Do

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Thursday, May 21, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Startup tips for going global

Today, successful businesses, especially e-commerce-based startups, need to go the extra mile and translate across borders and languages. Other than translating all existing materials - which can be costly and time-consuming - one needs to know how and where to start to gain some (or more) traction. Mashable asked eight entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) to share tips on how to take your startup global:

Start blogging.
- Kyle Clayton, Set Jet

Blogging will help you rank well in other regions or languages. It takes a while for search engines to begin displaying your content, so getting something posted is key. Publish well-written content that uses keywords specific to that region or language. Blogging once a week is a good start to ranking well with search engines. Research about and get to know similar products or businesses on the market in that region and write about how your company or product applies and is useful to them.

Put your contact information in a prominent place.
- Lane Campbell, Syntress SCDT

Having your company's contact information in a prominent place on your website will help your site get discovered and build trust with visitors.

Use the Google Trends country filter.
- Randy Rayess, VenturePact

At google.com/trends, write out a few words that you usually rank for, then use the country filter to compare keywords in areas that you are looking to rank.

Get writers who speak the language of the region.
- Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

When expanding into a new region, most people make the biggest mistake of thinking they can just use Google Translate to convert English to the new language, and in most cases, the translation is inaccurate. Keep in mind that the Google algorithm can detect the language level and quality, so if there's a bad translation, the page will rank poorly. Worse yet, native language speakers will also be able to tell that you used a translator and be insulted that you didn't even bother to use the language properly. This is a sure-fire way to lose sales. Demonstrate cultural sensitivity by having a writer who knows the language.

Take different cultures into consideration.
- Mina Chang, Linking the World

Each region, country, and community has its own mannerisms, customs, etc. Dig deeper and take as much cultural information into consideration as possible.

Allow for and respond to customer feedback.
- Cody McLain, WireFuseMedia LLC

Use customer feedback as the foundation for new content. Be willing to hear how your customers feel about your product or service and what improvements they would like to see. Respond to their suggestions via multimedia so that they can put a person's face/voice to the message. Take what you've learned from that strategy and apply it to a new location (by hiring staff that would communicate in that language) with customers in that country.

Do in-depth research.
- Miles Jennings, Recruiter.com

To make a positive impact in other regions/languages, do some in-depth preliminary research about the area - demographics, trends, consumer behavior, existing businesses in the area, etc. See what your market reacts well to already in this new region and see where there is room for innovation. Find out if the popular websites for those who speak this language are using a similar content strategy. This detailed research will give a direction to the next actions you will take.

Use SEM to test the waters.
- Joe Apfelbaum, Ajax Union

Are people even searching in other languages for your keywords? The search volume might be so low that your entire effort would be a waste. Try a Google Adwords for a few weeks and measure the impressions and the impression-share to get an idea. After that, you can decide where you want to focus your content strategy for your website.

5 Risks of IT Infrastructure Outsourcing

by: Sarah Joson

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

IT Infrastructure Outsourcing

Organizations have different motivations for outsourcing. For some, they see it as a platform to reduce costs, while others consider it as a pivot point in becoming more flexible. But, outsourcing should be well communicated across the board. They have to figure out which functions can be outsourced, and which ones are best left in-house.

ITProPortal.com lists down five risks that can affect your outsourced IT infrastructure operation:
Standards are not the same for both parties.
Any business executive looking to save on operational costs can be easily swayed by the promising sales pitches of third party service providers. But what they need to consider is the level of standards that the provider is willing to uphold and adopt. They get too excited and overlook some parts of the process such as research, and because outsourcing IT infrastructure is not a one-size-fits-all model, they would need to take the time and analyze which processes can be outsourced, which provider has the resource that they need, and if their provider is following the required standards in terms of security and quality of service.   

Control and management issues
IT functions require a certain level of security that is usually more sophisticated than other departments. By keeping IT functions in-house, companies are able to keep an eye on their IT processes. For companies that outsource to third party service providers, some partnerships may be deemed questionable, but the real issue arises when business owners can’t implement updates and software changes because they have to wait for the provider or the provider simply doesn’t have the necessary tools to do it themselves.

Keep your expectations in check.
IT outsourcing brings a lot to the table, one of which is the ability to be flexible and agile in a fast-paced industry. In some cases, providers offer tempting deals that are hard to resist, but becomes very limiting in the long run. Moreover, it could restrict your ideas to innovate because you are already predisposed to adapt to only what the provider can offer. Having a lackluster outsourcing partner that can’t deliver could make you regret your decision to outsource.

Cost-cutting becomes your priority.
It is one of the most common pitfalls in outsourcing. Once executives realize how much money they could save from outsourcing, they soon become obsessed to the point that it’s all they care and think about. Before you get too excited, make sure that you have a solid integration plan and your internal team is ready for the changes, and the outsourced partner is properly briefed on the standards and limitations of your company.

It could affect employee morale.
Outsourcing could also have a negative impact on your in-house team’s morale, especially when it means letting go of current workers. Keep in mind that outsourcing is a tool used to boost operations, not a last resort to salvage a company.

Healthcare and medical facilities are in some ways similar when it comes to how they function, but their main difference is the scale of their operation and the type of medical service they carry out.

For instance, running a doctor’s practice is much like running a small business. The owner in this case is the doctor who has to wear several for things to run smoothly. His/Her attention is divided into several functions even if there are additional administrative staff to assist on the tasks which can take considerable amount of time.

Like most business owners, doctors who operate their own medical facility would need to balance everything while providing the best possible care to patients. But, they also need to balance their books properly to pay for their resources.

Healthcareglobal.com pointed out that healthcare facilities need to manage their revenue properly and medical services are being coded correctly and in a timely manner to avoid a pile-up and financial woes.

When to consider outsourcing medical billing and coding processes

As you go on with your day-to-day operations, it might be helpful to check these telltale signs that you should strongly consider outsourcing medical billing and coding processes:

In-house staff is beating around the bush.
When you notice that your in-house staff is unable to answer questions such as to why bills and invoices are not sent out, maybe it’s time to rethink your strategy or you could end up with a bottleneck in your cash flow. Every account that is not processed or coded properly and is marked as “pending payment” is intangible money.

Operations are expanding.
As your operation grows, you will need more people to integrate each administrative task properly so the business not disrupted. This might be a good time to outsource medical billing process so that you are guaranteed that no fund or receipt is left unturned. Like they always say, you have to impress your customers for you to grow, so you need to have a seamless operation will expanding.
Mitigate mistakes properly.
Mistakes are one more thing to worry about. It could cost you more money. It could also hamper your operations and derail you from your core purpose which is to help those who need medical attention. Making a smart decision of delegating processes to third party service providers might just be the solution to help you and your patients in establishing a smooth transaction.

7 Common Social Media Mistakes of Startups

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Brands use social media to reach out to customers and hold the interest of their target market. For startup companies with a small budget, using social media can be an effective marketing idea. It can drive referrals and leads, as well as increase brand recognition and loyalty, but falling victim to any of the common mistakes can damage your business' reputation.

Common social media mistakes of startups

Make sure you steer clear of these common mistakes that companies, especially startups, make while defining and executing their social media strategy.

Not having a clearly defined target audience
While it is true that Facebook has over a billion monthly active users (as of March 31, 2015), you can’t have the whole universe as your target audience. In these modern times when everyone is spoilt for choice, the most important marketing decision you need to make is defining your target audience. Target marketing is the key of the game. Having a clearly defined audience helps identify the platforms on which your target market is active.

B2B companies will want to consider using LinkedIn, as the platform allows for connecting with professionals and establishing thought leadership within a group of homogeneously targeted audience. Facebook is a good platform for brands that have highly visual content and want to leverage the community effect. However, be prepared to spend on ads as latest changes in Facebook’s algorithm had made it very difficult to reach out to fans organically. Twitter will help you connect with thought leaders and join the ongoing conversations. Some brands use Google+ to help them with their SEO efforts. Google communities connect you with like-minded people.

Doing too much, or too little
Commit to the social platform you've chosen. An inactive presence on any of the platforms creates a bad impression. Show activity on the social platforms and consistency. To gain more impressions, post relevant content and find out when most of your target audience is online so you don’t end up bombarding your followers’ feeds with 10 updates a day.

Ignoring content marketing
Content marketing is the fuel of your social media efforts. It’s responsible for drawing in your audience. Showcase your expertise by having good blog articles. Share interesting infographics. eBooks are perfect as free giveaways. You can also establish your thought leadership through white papers.

Pushing the same content on all platforms
It’s important to note that each platform requires a different tone of messaging and type of content. Have a proper plan in place and schedule your posts. Also, keep an eye on the type of content you share. Too much self-promotion is a big turn-off. Have a good balance of educational posts, industry insights, engagement, and self-promotion in your content sharing.

Not having personal branding
You need a face for your company. That people relate to other people is especially true for startups, where consumers are buying services from founders more than from the company. It is for this reason that startups should include the personal branding of their founders in their social media planning and strategy.

Posting canned responses to negative comments
There are companies that shy away from social media because of the fear of negative comments. Bear in mind that negative comments are good opportunities for you to build trust in the minds of your readers. One of the first things to remember while handling negative comments on social platforms is that you should never give a canned response. Be personal and show genuine interest in solving the problem. Acknowledge the issue, and take immediate action to resolve it.

Not aligning with the target audience in terms of tone and messaging
Introduce some quirkiness in your overall messaging if you are targeting the youth. Maintain a professional tone if you are targeting CXOs. Make sure that your marketing tone matches your company culture. Today, marketing is no longer confined to the marketing department - it’s the job of each and every person representing the company.


15 Ways to Improve Company Updates

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Thursday, May 7, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Ways to raise your content marketing game

Are you looking for more ways to raise your content marketing game? Sharing relevant content from your company page is a powerful way to reach and build relationships with potential customers. Here are 15 ways to drive better results from your company updates:

  1. Think like a journalist. When it comes to communicating your message, time is of the essence. Get to the point and capture your readers' attention with strong, snappy headlines and concise intros.
  2. Always include a clear call to action. Compared to updates without links, including a link can drive twice the engagement.
  3. Ask thoughtful questions to involve your audience. Questions that are relevant to your target audience are the ultimate conversation starters. 
  4. Always include an image or some type of rich media. An update that includes an eye-catching image or some form of rich media automatically stands out in news feeds. Also, images generally result in a 98% higher comment rate.
  5. Before posting, double check that an image appears. Attach an image that is appropriate to the external content you’re linking to. And make sure that it appears on your update.
  6. Post YouTube videos to encourage sharing. LinkedIn lets links to YouTube videos play directly in the feed. Video links usually result in a 75% higher share rate.
  7. Make your content valuable. Again, the modern audience has a short attention span. For them to share your posts with their networks, create high quality content that is quick to consume.
  8. Avoid hypertargeting. You only end up excluding potential audiences by adding so many targeting filters. 
  9. Test to understand your audience. Experiment to find the right balance. This means mixing entertaining and inspirational posts with informative and insightful updates.
  10. Create an editorial calendar, but react timely to events. Rely on your editorial calendar as a guide, but also be pliant enough to respond to relevant news, topics, and trends.
  11. Engage with members through comments. Always keep the conversation going, but remember to settle sensitive issues through email or private messages. Develop a plan for proactively handling any customer service issues that may surface. Keep close watch over discussions and remove inappropriate comments.
  12. Monitor, analyze, and refine your content. Take advantage of available analytics and insights - LinkedIn and Facebook offer this feature for free. Pay attention to the audience targeting, types of content, time of day and frequency that drive the highest engagement - and do more of that.
  13. Sponsor your best content. Sponsored posts allow you to reach your target audience beyond your existing followers. Identify your top-performing content and sponsor it.
  14. Evaluate and optimize your Sponsored Updates and/or boosted posts. Detailed reporting tools let you monitor the performance of your Sponsored Updates and/or boosted posts and make the adjustments to make them more effective.
  15. Don’t be tied to just the work week. People are on social media virtually 24/7 and engage with Sponsored Updates and boosted posts across devices throughout the week, with strong engagement through the weekend. Consider adopting an always-on approach.


Create a Solid IT Outsourcing Strategy

In outsourcing, business owners and executives tend to focus more on short-term results which often include attaining a certain goal and reducing costs. However, some factors are often overlooked - causing a domino effect in most outsourcing strategies. A post at CIO.com discusses seven steps executives can follow to attain a successful IT outsourcing operation:

1. Create a solid plan.
In the world of commerce, there are three types of strategies: corporate, business unit, and implementation. Each strategy serves a specific purpose, designed for a specific group.  If outsourcing is integrated properly in each category, everything is bound to make more sense.

2. Create and target mini goals and checkpoints.
In video games where players are assigned a mission, checkpoints are plotted throughout the entire gameplay. These serve as a campsite where they can recuperate and save their progress. It is also a where players respawn when their characters die, and a mini goal that they have to reach to successfully finish the game. This is similar to business strategies, well, save for the respawning part.

3. Take mistakes to heart.
Outsourcing can be a complex subject at the beginning and mistakes are inevitable. Instead of pointing fingers and fixating on what happened, why not turn it to a positive experience by taking note of the key problems and making sure that these won’t happen again in the future. It also unifies the team and makes relationships stronger as you fall and stand together.

4. Be more flexible.
As the operation continues, there will come a time when the original plan must be revised so it will remain effective. For instance, is the timeline still applicable even if other segments are delayed? Or will the original budget be enough even though suppliers changed their pricing schemes? These types of issues will definitely come up and leaders need to prepare for the possible changes and modifications brought about by external factors.

5. Determine if the objective will contribute to the organization’s growth.
Of course, before an outsourcing strategy is carried out, you would have to make sure that the objective is aligned with the company’s vision/values. Ask yourself: does my outsourcing strategy properly represent the organization? Will it add value rather than increase risks and challenges? These are the questions you have to figure out first before rolling out your plans.

6. Look beyond the border.
As the global economy continues to evolve and fluctuate, organizations must see the bigger picture and take note of factors that could affect their internal strategies - including their plans to outsource. Some factors are currency risks, inflation levels in outsourcing destinations, political stability, among others. External factors can also impact the reputation of the company, which is why these things should be monitored regularly.

7. Brace for change.
Outsourcing is bound to disrupt the current day-to-day operations of an organization, and having a solid implementation strategy will help absorb the impact of these changes. Some may consider these changes as disconcerting and scrap the entire outsourcing plan, but if you focus on the long-term goal and consider designing an implementation strategy, everything will fall into place in due time.