How to choose a business process outsourcing provider
Business process outsourcing (BPO) is rapidly becoming a lifeline for many companies, regardless of their size and the industry in which they operate.
Investopedia defines business process outsourcing as the utilisation of third-party vendors or sub-contractors to carry out certain parts of business operations.
Simply put, business process outsourcing enables companies to focus on the primary business offering that is critical to their success, rather than activities that are not directly related to their core business. Owing to the numerous benefits it offers, BPO has become an essential function for many businesses.
But with so many BPO providers available on the market, it’s important to ensure that you partner with one that has the requisite expertise and experience for your specific requirements and can produce the success stories and references to prove it. Because choosing the wrong BPO provider can have serious consequences for your business.
Before appointing your BPO provider, you need to identify which business processes you wish to outsource. Some companies outsource a complete function, such as the entire human resources department, while others prefer to only outsource specific processes within the company, such as the management of payroll.
When choosing your BPO partner
Interestingly, according to Deloitte’s 2021 Global Shared Services and Outsourcing Survey Report, “finance, human resources and IT are the top three functions performed in shared services centres across industries”.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing your BPO partner:
When reviewing possible BPO providers, be prepared to tell them as much about your business as possible, because the more they understand about what you do, how you operate and what your goals and expectations are, the better they will be able to service your business and contribute to its growth.
Equally important is how the BPO provider treats its clients. Are they in the business just to make money, or do they really care about your organisation’s success and are willing to go the extra mile to help you thrive and grow?
The answers to these questions will help you determine whether the BPO provider you’re considering is truly the best fit for your business needs and whether you will be able to develop a long-standing mutually beneficial relationship.
A BPO provider worth its salt will utilise the latest available technologies relevant to the outsourced business process they provide. Without the correct infrastructure and accompanying software they will be unable to deliver the outsourced service efficiently, which will ultimately negatively impact your business.
Request a comprehensive specification breakdown of the technology that will be used for your required outsourcing services and also make sure that it is able to seamlessly integrate with your existing platforms.
The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) makes it abundantly clear that failure to adequately safeguard the data you hold could result in heavy fines and even prison time.
But choosing to go the outsourcing route also means sharing sensitive information with the BPO provider you partner with. Consequently, it’s vitally important to ensure that the provider you hire not only has excellent data security policies and procedures in place, but also the relevant technological infrastructure to protect your information. Ask for a detailed brief on how your information will be handled and stored, and what emergency procedures are in place should a data breach occur. Remember, the integrity of your business is at stake.
Equally important as data security is quality assurance. Deciding to go the outsourcing route means relinquishing control of certain processes. They may not be core activities, but they are still integral to the performance of your business. Make sure your chosen business process outsourcing provider has established quality assurance practices which they are willing to discuss. Aspects such as automation, innovation, standardisation, integration and flexibility should form part of the conversation.
Flexibility and the ability to scale are key considerations in the search for a BPO partner. A basic package may suit your current business needs, but keep in mind that your outsourcing requirements will increase as your business evolves. You don’t want a BPO provider that will outgrow your business over time, especially if you intend to eventually expand globally. Consequently, it’s important to choose a partner that offers a comprehensive range of services that are customisable to your specific business needs, and can be adapted as your company grows.
Value for money
As stated above, it’s not uncommon for companies to outsource processes that aren’t core to the business but are still essential, such as payroll. The reason for this is that payroll can be costly and complex to manage in-house, especially when it comes to legislative compliance. A BPO provider can provide these services far more competently and at an affordable rate.
This being said, your selected BPO partner should be completely transparent about the cost of their services. The well-known saying “you get what you pay for” is certainly true when it comes to outsourcing, as cheap services almost never go hand in hand with quality.
Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as possible before signing any contracts. This will also help to avoid any hidden costs surfacing further down the line. Anything unclear or vague should immediately be viewed as a red flag.
There is no “quick fix” to choosing a business process outsourcing provider. Once you have a shortlist of potential partners, it’s important to take your time and carefully review all their strengths and weaknesses before making your final decision.
CRS Technologies is a highly experienced, reputable human resources and payroll BPO provider. Give us a call and we’ll show you how we can help you take your business to the next level.