The 21st-century world of business is marked with an energy of constant dynamism. Disruptive technologies, intense competition, and a hyper-focus on users have led to an environment in which all businesses require agility and efficiency to compete.
One method by which businesses can improve their productivity, focus, and agility is through BPO. BPO or business process outsourcing is the moving of business processes or operations to a different location than the home office. This can be done for a variety of different reasons. Most commonly, this is done to save costs on labor. Labor at offshore sites can be drastically cheaper than in the United States. Consequently, many businesses choose to move non-essential or easily managed operations overseas in return for savings in labor.
Will BPO Hurt my Business or Workers?
The process of exchanging labor across countries is not always popular. Both workers and decision-makers have criticized BPO as exchanging domestic employment for foreign labor. Sensationalist accounts of foreign labor conditions have also led to an unsavory image of BPO being ingrained in many people’s minds. This is unfortunate, as the reality is that BPO helps improve not only American businesses but American labor as well. When businesses save money through BPO, those resources can then be reinvested into home offices. This means improving infrastructure, hiring more staff, or expanding other business processes.
BPO doesn’t only save a business on labor costs. BPO can also help improve focus and productivity among home office workers. Businesses can focus on their core processes and goals once they outsource non-essential functions. This allows for a greater focus on the needs and goals that a business feels is more central to their vision. In a world, which increasingly revolves around users and consumers, it is critical for businesses to zero in on providing the best service or product possible. BPO helps enable that level of focus.
But Is It Too Risky?
This is not to say that BPO projects do not have their own drawbacks and disadvantages. Off-shore projects can run into myriad complications and difficulties. Differences in time zones, language, culture, and political or business stability can cause substantial problems. Luckily, proper planning and due diligence can remedy or at least minimize each of these risks.
Differences in time zones can be a significant handicap to overseas managed operations. For some of the most common off-shore destinations in India or China, the time difference can be as much as 12-13 hours. For home offices and off-shore offices to communicate directly, someone will need to be available outside of normal business hours. This lack of overlap between the two locations can be frustrating.
Off-shore sites in Asia also often lack populations fully fluent in English. English proficiency can vary greatly between individuals. And staffing must spend resources screening specifically for language skills. Wide gaps between time zones and language skills can cause miscommunications to arise over projects. Clearly, off-shore projects often encounter issues absent in home offices. However, there are solutions.
How to Resolve or Minimize BPO Risks
Decision-makers who balk at Asia’s distance, lack of English proficiency, lack of business stability or transparency can look to Europe for their BPO needs. While Europe cannot match the same cheap labor rates that Asia offers, Europe provides stability and infrastructure unmatched in South Asia.
Europe also offers a smaller time and geographic gap. Project managers who require close coordination and communication can find both in Europe. Countries such as Ireland, are only five hours ahead of the East Coast and boast native English-speaking populations. Ireland also rates highly in regards to infrastructure and logistics, as well as lack of corruption. For projects that require greater stability, Ireland is an excellent resource.
How Affirma Can Help
At Affirma Consulting, we realize that no two BPO projects are exactly alike. We know that some projects require more intense cooperation between home office and off-shore offices, while others are more cost-sensitive. That’s why we offer services in both Ireland and India.
A BPO project requires diligent planning and effort. At Affirma, we know what it takes to ensure that your business saves money while maintaining quality. Talk to our BPO experts today, and see how BPO can help improve your business.
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