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To some companies, especially startups and scrappy small businesses, "outsourcing" is a bit of a dirty word. To others, it's a practice to be avoided at all costs. Given the proven benefits and advantages that business process outsourcing can provide organizations, this is a fascinating viewpoint — one that we were very interested to dive into and learn about!
In this article, we'll examine why business process outsourcing has a bad reputation and why modern BPO services have started to change the story around it for the better.
Before we dive in, let's make sure we're on the same page:
Business process outsourcing, also known as BPO, is the practice of outsourcing business processes to external service providers and vendors. These processes can include anything from sales lead generation to the vetting of applications to menial tasks like data entry.
In general, though, only secondary processes are outsourced. Core business functions are usually kept in house and completed by internal team members.
Whether you agree or disagree with the practice, you can't deny that it's become much more popular in recent years. But to truly understand why outsourcing has a bad reputation, we need to look at how it started.
It's hard to imagine business process outsourcing without computers and the world wide web. After all, modern technology connect us with the rest of the world and make it easy to hire qualified professionals to complete tasks for us. Were companies really able to outsource work before telephones and email?
While it may be hard to believe, organizations have been outsourcing business processes for nearly a century. Coca-Cola was one of the first companies to embrace it on a large scale.
In 1921, Coke decided to partner with a corporation in the Philippines in order to outsource its bottling processes. This led to lower costs for Coke and a greater international presence for its brand — both major wins for the company.
Business process outsourcing has continued to grow in popularity since then. Now that most people have access to the internet, more and more companies are beginning to embrace the practice. But there are still those who view BPO in a bad light.
Let's talk about why business process outsourcing has a bad reputation.
If business process outsourcing has been helping companies save money for nearly a century, why does it have a bad reputation? Why do some business owners and professionals look upon it with disgust? There are a couple of reasons:
To some people, business outsourcing means giving perfectly good jobs away to other countries and supporting other economies before their own. Why would they give foreigners a job when there are so many of their own countrymen in need of work?
If you've ever felt this way before, we admire your patriotism. But we also feel like there may be a misunderstanding that we need to clear up:
Let us be clear, not every BPO outsourcing vendor utilizes offshore workers, at least not exclusively. Many do, it's true. The reason why is because the work can get done so much cheaper, resulting in significant cost savings for small businesses everywhere.
But if outsourcing business processes to people in your own country is important to you, you should be able to find a vendor that can accommodate your request.
For some people, the fact that work will be completed by foreigners isn't the issue. The quality of the work they receive back is.
There's definitely a widely-held belief that business tasks completed in developing countries will be of a lesser quality due to a reduction in trained workers and less access to needed resources. But modern technology has changed this as well.
Because of the internet — a tool that many people in developing countries now have access to — outsourcing companies are able to adequately train their workers. And workers are able to get their jobs done well and on time using modern technology.
It can no longer be assumed that just because work is completed in a developing country that it will be of a lower quality.
What can be assumed, though, is that BPO outsourcing vendors who employ professionals in developing countries will be able to provide small businesses with lower rates in an ethical way! This is obviously a huge win for small businesses.
Finally, many small business owners have what we call a Type A personality, which often leads to control issues. They want to make every decision regarding their business and have a hard time letting others influence outcomes. This is understandable.
It's true that business process outsourcing results in less control. When you allow outside vendors to complete tasks for you, you naturally relinquish some influence in how the tasks are completed — even if you provide strict instructions and regular oversight. But in most circumstances, this loss of control is made up for in an affordable boost in efficiency.
We now have a solid understanding of why outsourcing has a bad reputation is some people's minds. Let's take a look at how modern BPO services are changing the narrative! Here are a few distinct advantages that business outsourcing provides companies:
By outsourcing tasks to qualified professionals, you'll undoubtedly become more productive. It's simple math. If you can work on two projects simultaneously — one being handled by you and another by a contracted vendor — more work will get done in less time.
Imagine being able to completely focus on core business initiatives. You know, the tasks that really matter and move the needle for your company.
By outsourcing menial activities such as data entry, application vetting, and lead generation — tasks that any low-wage worker can complete — you can gain this focus and propel your company forward faster than ever before.
Assuming you don't mind working with professionals in developing countries (as long as they're properly trained, of course, and able to turn in quality work), you can get your business processes accomplished much more cost-effectively via BPO services.
This isn't a hard concept to understand. In the United States, the minimum wage has risen to $15 an hour in many areas. That's the minimum. Depending on the job you ask your internal employees to complete, you may have to pay even more than this.
Not with business process outsourcing. Tasks such as the ones previously mentioned in this blog can routinely be accomplished for about $15 an hour.
But it doesn't stop there…
By outsourcing business tasks, you'll also save yourself from having to pay normal employee "perks" like insurance, bonuses, and more, and remove the costs of additional office space and equipment. All of these expenses will be handled by the vendor and the workers they hire. Win!
To some, outsourcing has a bad reputation because it results in subpar work. But modern BPO services are changing the narrative in this regard as well. In fact, often times the work completed via outsourcing is better than anything a company could do in-house.
Think about it, when a company focuses on one kind of task, or a small group of related tasks, they're probably going to get good at them really quickly, right? So rather than asking your current employees to learn new skills, why not trust your business processes to the experts and outsource these activities?
Finally, a business that outsources secondary functions to BPO services will be able to stay more agile than a business that insists on handling every task in-house.
What happens if your industry changes and a current business process becomes obsolete? Or what if the economy takes an unexpected downturn and your company has to tighten its budget? If you employ a stable of full-time employees, these changes become more difficult to manage. But if you outsource business tasks, you can remain much more agile.
When a process is no longer need, you simply terminate your working relationship with the BPO services that helped you accomplish it. If the economy suddenly tanks, you'll be in a better position because your expenses will be lower due to outsourcing.
So far, we've talked a lot about business process outsourcing. We've covered why outsourcing has a bad reputation and how modern BPO services are changing the narrative. Now we want to dive deeper into one of those services.
Meet Invisible Tech, the absolute best way to outsource menial business tasks like sales lead generation, vetting new employee applications, handling standard business operations such as scheduling meetings and booking travel accommodations, and more.
If you have a repeatable business process that needs doing on a regular basis, Invisible can likely do it for you much quicker and cheaper than you could do it in-house.
Here's how it works:
The power of Invisible lies in its approach to business process outsourcing. By combining powerful technology with a team of highly-trained, low-wage human workers, Invisible clients get access to incredible speed and efficiency and a personal touch to all completed tasks.
Contact our team today for a free demo.
So, is outsourcing right for your organization? Only you can answer that question. But hopefully, after reading this article, you'll be able to make a much more informed decision. Outsourcing may have once had a bad reputation. But BPO services like Invisible are changing the narrative.
By partnering with the right vendor, you can boost productivity, save money, give your company access to great expertise, and stay more agile.
Whether you work in sales and need help generating quality leads, or are an HR professional and want assistance as you vet hundreds of new hire applications, or would like an affordable "sidekick" of sorts to schedule your meetings and travel plans, a BPO service can help.
Contact our team today to learn more about the Invisible business process outsourcing solution!