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Top BPO Trends to Watch in 2012

by: Karen Cayamanda

Monday, December 5, 2011 |

2012 BPO Trends

US-based research and solutions firm DATAMARK, Inc. recently released a projected list of upcoming trends for business process outsourcing. The article highlights not only the latest in technology but also the state of global economy. It also sheds some light to the buzz in cloud computing. So without further ado, below are the top trends that may reshape the BPO industry.  
What is the “Cloud” exactly?
A lot of service providers and clients will still be clueless as to what the “cloud” and other IT-related terminologies (Caas, PaaS, IaaS) mean. In a nutshell, the “cloud” simply means the internet. So if ever service providers present you a business plan highlighting their proposed “cloud solution”, be sure to ask them these questions: how susceptible is it to security attacks? Is it consistent? What are the key performance indicators? If you think that they have given you a concrete solution, then by all means go for the cloud. 
Lack of local talent will stimulate BPO and ITO.
Cutting costs effectively has always been the primary reason for outsourcing, although a report from Duke University contradicts the statement.  According to a survey of managers done by the Fuqua School of Business, lack of local talent is the main reason domestic businesses outsource.  Majority of the survey participants stated most of the functions that they were outsourcing didn’t alter the volume of jobs locally. Also, high-end services are starting to proliferate and if this trend continues, the US will fall behind by 14 million post-secondary educated skilled workers come 2020. 
Unstable economy will increase outsourcing demand. 
With the second coming of the recession looming over business owners, they are still searching ways to minimize costs. In fact, one fourth of the organizations in the survey by industry expert Horses for Sources stated they are more likely to outsource in case the second recession comes. The experience of buyers from the previous financial crisis will definitely come in handy and they will start to look for major improvements from existing service providers. 
Latin America is a gem in the rough. 
Latin America, armed with a highly skilled BPO workforce, can provide services which can be done in both English and Spanish languages. Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, and other Latin American countries also have similar cultures with neighbouring countries where time zones are not much of an issue. What buyers should do is to gauge the pros and cons of each country to get a better understanding of the service provider the best suited for the processes that they need to be done. 
New BPO technology should undergo rigorous testing.
BPO companies can either find groundbreaking IT solutions and present them to clients or make them into a reality by shelling out their funds and employ the services of third party IT contractors. Other than being innovative, they should also be able to provide clients with the highest level of data security and find the best IT supplier in the market. This will enable them to test each IT solution effectively to find out which will work best for future clients. 
The US will focus on bringing jobs home.
Companies that doubt their contracts with service providers will definitely look into finding a service provider locally. Various government bodies will definitely look into what competing countries are doing and ask chambers of commerce and service providers to open those commonly outsourced work positions locally. 
Public-private initiatives worldwide will stimulate BPO growth.
Industry analyst Ovum stated that since the BPO market has projected an annual growth rate of 5.4 percent to $93.4 billion by 2015, numerous countries are now vying into getting their hands in on the movement. Since outsourcing to India has become more costly, buyers are now looking into outsourcing to countries such as the Philippines, China, Africa, and Latin America.
Get more social. 
Social networking sites have become one of the main avenues of communication - there’s no question why it should be one of the most used platforms to communicate concerns and receive proper customer service. A good PR team should be available whenever and wherever because social networking customer support is a 24/7 operation.
Gaming will revive the BPO industry.
The BPO industry is delving into a world that would give life to not just itself, but business process engineers as well.  This is what you call game theory application, or gamification. It has gained its silent prominence over the past year, although it has been around practically since time immemorial.  It is slowly gaining ground as more business tycoons are using this concept to boost profit and revenue.  
Companies which have this underlying theory in place are those which offer frequent-flier miles, and those which give out gifts to reward loyal customers in a point accumulation scheme.  In the game world, this is called “levelling up”.  Rules applied to games make repetitive processes a whole lot more enjoyable without going off trail, and rewards players based on merit, rather than connections and tenure.
Mobile apps are not only for games.
A lot of you will see executives totting handheld devices, and with that, you will see them tinkering with their mobile apps and you’d think that they’re playing but they are actually checking updates and reports from their BPO providers. It will become the direct line of the service provider to reach clients and easily show them what they have achieved and what still needs to be done. 

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