If you had been outsourcing in the past or are planning to start soon, and are somewhat unsure of its future, well you may put all those worries to rest. Outsourcing has survived over the years and will most definitely survive in the future. But to understand what the future holds for the BPO industry, let me first reflect on the past year.
Last year has been nothing less than a rollercoaster ride for the BPO industry, all thanks to the technological innovation, the rising global political instability and the return of the protectionist sentiment in the western economies, which combined, has been the continuous source of disrupt in the industry. And the result?
1. The global delivery system has gone under tons of pressure as the clients are demanding more and more from labor and digital arbitrage propositions.
2. BPO firms, as well as multi-service companies, are focussing on acquiring more digital and automation capabilities.
3. All this and various other factors have lead to more severe competition between the global multi-national companies and other in-house shared services and IT companies.
BPO industry has always provided businesses with cost-effective solutions. And the trending technologies of 2018 such as social media, cloud computing, software, and automation have served well to reduce costs and to accelerate growth. This trend will continue well in 2019 as well.
Earlier BPO was synonymous only with call centers. This outdated notion has been replaced with web design, human resources, accounting, coding, and various other tasks. That’s why a huge chunk of outsourcing companies have been investing in offering multiple services such as mobile applications, cloud computing, digital technology etc. in their supplying countries, a trend which will go well in 2019.
The past few years have seen a significant surge in startup growth with many startups succeeding under a lot of pressure with time constraints and limited resources. These startups with a small budget often look overseas for cost-effective labor. And where they find it? In BPOs that excel at providing talent at lower costs, thus help complete tedious tasks such as recruitment and trading. Another trend in continuation.
Earlier, when only large multinational BPO companies were actively involved in the industry, it became really difficult to gain information on the policies and contracts. Even the employees were kept in the dark. But the transparency has most certainly increased recently. In 2019 too, many more organizations are expected to adjust their policies so as to avoid losing business to more trustworthy organizations.
Remember how the new administrative power emerging after the 2016 US Presidential elections directly impacted the rules and regulations affecting the BPO sector. The more Trump focussed on “America’s First” policy, the more it encouraged the return of anti-outsourcing bills in Congress. But things aren’t that bad. Despite Trump’s policy claims, the outsourcing industry can continue to expect unstoppable growth in 2019.
The established outsourcing destinations such as India, Malaysia, Philippines etc. will continue to see growth this year and many more years to come. And we are not only talking of BPO, this year will see an emergence of KPO (Knowledge Process Outsourcing) sector that will further help cater to the new demands besides offering more specialized roles such as web design, market research, equity research etc.
Oversaturation and reduction in business growth have left businesses to search for alternate outsourcing destinations apart from the already established ones (India, Malaysia, Philippines). The five countries that will emerge as new destinations for outsourcing in 2019 are-
And lastly, comes the AI technology customization which will also have a major impact on the outsourcing industry in 2019. How? As more and more customers are inquiring about the AI capabilities or how AI can help improve their products or services or what role AI plays in helping us achieve our goals, it becomes imperative for outsourcing firms to hire AI experts to meet these growing client demands.
In the end, nobody can argue that today’s disruptive outsourcing environment is filled with remarkable opportunities so as to enhance innovation and market competitiveness for forward-thinking organizations. And as you have already seen, 2019 is going to be an exciting year for outsourcing as it is filled with new technologies that continue to unravel and paradigms that continue to change.