Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is a subset of outsourcing that involves the contracting of the operations and responsibilities of specific business related functions, typically IT related, to a third party service provider. This process usually involves multi-year, lucrative contracts between the client firm and service provider firm. Often, the employees of the service provider firm working for the client firm are incorporated in the client firm. Off-shoring, which is delegating work to a company based in another country is widely carried out by many global companies. Another similar outsourcing activity called Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) functions on similar lines with the exception that highly critical tasks that involve skill, knowledge, education and expertise are outsourced to third party service providers. Types of services carried out by BPOs include administration, finance and accounting, human resources, payment services, logistics and distribution, customer support, etc. Types of services carried out by KPO include intellectual property research for patent applications, legal and medical services, training, market research, business research, consultancy, research and development, etc. BPO finds applications in many verticals such as manufacturing, telecommunications, technology, banking, insurance and finance services, retail and healthcare among others.
Human labor is required in most business processes for productive delivery. Resorting to BPO which provides human labor at a lower cost helps companies maximize their ROI in such a situation. Growing competition also demands continuous innovation. By outsourcing some tasks, companies can focus more on their core activities to bring about innovation in their products as well as services. Furthermore, developments in IT and telecommunications infrastructure have enabled companies to transfer data to any place in the world. One of the major restraints to the growth of this market is the issue of security of valuable data. The client firm provides sensitive data to the service provider firm, which if misused can prove to be harmful to the interests of the client firm. Other factors such as loss of control of operations of processes, financial instability of the vendors, loss of expertise, etc. are some of the restraints to the growth of the BPO market. Problem of high attrition rates amongst workers is also one of the challenges faced by the BPO industry as the workers show a tendency of not pursuing BPO as a full time career.
Key BPO service providers include Accenture, Infosys, HCL, CBRE, ISS, NCR, Wipro, Capgemini, CSC, Teletech, Sodexo, Amdocs, Genpact, Aegis and CGI Group among others.
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