Simply put, Business Process Outsourcing is getting another company to handle some of your activities for a payment. The concept made its way into the corporate world in the 1980s. Initially, payroll functions were handed out for outsourcing. Then companies included the management of employee benefits for outsourcing. It is now common place for Call Center operations, Finance and Administration functions, Accounting, Customer Service related activities and Human Resources related activities to be outsourced. Presently, activities of a company which are considered as ‘non-core’ to the running of the business come under the gamut of activities which can be outsourced.
Business Process Outsourcing allows companies to invest their surplus manpower, time and money, freed by the process of outsourcing, in carrying out core business functions. This helps companies to grow fast, as precious resources are not tied up in non-productive activities. It is easier to identify jobs which can be outsourced. In the process of outsourcing non-core activities, a business becomes efficient and productive. It is seen that Business Process Outsourcing frees up capital of a business, which otherwise is tied up in carrying out non-core activities. This capital can be redeployed in the business.
At this juncture, it should be understood that Business Process Outsourcing and IT Outsourcing are different. The former involves outsourcing of activities which are not the core activities of the business. Development and management of applications, Data Center Management, quality control and testing are some of the activities which come under the umbrella of IT Outsourcing. These IT related activities can be handled by service providers or IT companies.
Outsourcing contracts normally run for a long period of time and involve huge amounts of money as contractual payment. Transfers of persons working in the company on the outsourced activities to the service provider can also happen. Some of the companies which have made a name for themselves in Business Process Outsourcing are Cap Gemini, Indian companies like Wipro, TCS and Infosys, and Companies like Accenture and IBM in the USA.
A number of the Business Process Outsourcing companies are based offshore. This means that the company doing the outsourced jobs for you, carries out these jobs in another country. India, China, Russian and Malaysia are some such offshore countries where Business Process Outsourcing companies are facing boom time. Business Processing Outsourcing companies are also synonymous with Information Technology enabled services or ITES. Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) is the latest concept in the business world. Those jobs which need education, knowledge and skill to be handled can be handed over to KPOs.
Some of the problems in the field of Business Process Outsourcing are the increasing reports of information on customers and internal processes of companies being sold in the open market by employees of the service providers. This creates security risks and has detrimental effects on the company which has outsourced.
With the growth in outsourcing activities, there is also a growing resentment in the USA and UK (countries which have done the maximum outsourcing) against the loss of white-collar jobs in these countries. These issues have to be sorted out along with the risks associated with Business Process Outsourcing.