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When you contact a BPO firm to inquire about services for your organization, you should expect to speak with an outsourcing management expert from the start.
Even if they are located offshore from your location, they should communicate with you in clear, fluent English.
Typically, they will ask you several questions to quickly learn about your business and the processes you want to (or should) outsource.
If they are a full-service BPO like LOGIN SERVICES™, they should be able to handle any business process you need to outsource.
If you are satisfied with their initial presentation, request a quote; they may create the quote based on the information you have given them, or you can require them to complete a formal request for proposal (RFP).
To learn about interviewing and selecting the right BPO for your company, click here.
The following eight steps give you a good overview of the outsourcing process – from first contact to implementing your outsourcing plan with ongoing service and support from your BPO.
*The evaluation consultation is provided at no charge by most BPO providers
To make an informed decision about your outsourcing needs, you should complete a Business Case Analysis (BCA).
This may be either an informal assessment or a full-blown BCA presentation – depending on your organizational practices.
Either way, it should include the components described in the sections below.
Make a list of the issues that involve administrative functions and may be stifling your business growth, reducing organizational productivity, and/or interfere with customer service and retention.
Examples may include:
Describe the ways that outsourcing can reduce or resolve the operational challenges you have listed.
This may include:
Once you have looked at your challenges and possible solutions through outsourcing, it is time to put your requirements and expectations in writing. Here are some things to consider:
1. What do you expect from this outsourcing project?
2. If you want to accomplish your objectives in phases, what is each step?
3. Are there regulatory requirements that dictate the project outcome?
4. Do any laws or regulations establish rigid completion dates?
5. Are there any internal or local events – such as a regulatory inspection, retreat, or community fundraiser – that should be considered when establishing milestone deadlines?
When establishing timelines, break the project down into manageable steps. Experts from your BPO-candidate companies can help you with this as part of the outsourcing evaluation consultation.
Generate or request reporting of your internal data for at least the last full calendar year plus year-to-date for the current year.
Conduct a financial analysis that shows:
Make your final recommendations based on the financial analysis. This should include processes to be outsourced, the proposed net change in in-house labor costs compared to outsourcing fees, risks and benefits, and the BPO provider recommended for sourcing the outsourcing labor.
Your decisions about outsourcing for your organization must be based on sound, reliable data. Otherwise, you may end up with the GIGO phenomenon – “Garbage In, Garbage Out”.
If it is not practical for you to produce accurate, reliable information in-house, ask your top-choice BPO to provide Business Data Analytics (BDA) consulting to guide you through this process. Paying a relatively low consulting fee can save you a lot of money down the road.
Not only will you get the data analysis you need, but you will also have the opportunity to see your top BPO firm at work on a consulting contract before signing an outsourcing agreement.
Make sure the firm you approach is experienced with BDA consulting and that it offers short, one-time consulting contracts independent of contracts for outsourcing services.
Create a list of the ways your outsourcing initiative may impact your organization and begin plans to address them.
Your top candidate for BPO provider should be able to assist you. After all, the impact on your organization will have the reverse effect on the BPO provider i.e. if you reduce your workforce, your BPO may need to increase theirs.
The BPO must scale their operation to meet your needs in terms of:
This is a simple step if you have reliable historical data available; if not, consider a BDA consultation – if you have not yet done so.
Break down the volume of work currently being completed by your in-house staff into daily, weekly, and monthly averages, as well as the average number of workers who complete the work.
Whether you are a retailer or a real estate agent, manufacturer or healthcare provider, seasons of the year and global, national, and local holidays and special events can affect your workload.
Retailers and manufacturers generally see a sizable increase in sales around gift-giving holidays, while real estate agents see a marked decrease in activity.
Medical providers often see a shift away from scheduled appointments around holidays to an uptick in emergency room visits, but they may also experience a drastic increase in scheduled appointments toward the end of the calendar year.
How many of your in-house workers will be made redundant when outsourcing is implemented?
Write out a plan of how you will handle these employees – whether you will reduce staff or reassign workers to other parts of the organization.
Think of the computer systems currently used to complete the work you are going to outsource. Will you give the BPO company access to your systems to carry out tasks exactly the same way your in-house staff do now?
For reasons of data security, you may decide to exchange work requests and completed work through a secure portal rather than giving the BPO the keys to your digital kingdom.
Top BPOs are rigorous about internet and database security and risk reduction, but you may opt for the use of a third party file-sharing platform such as Google Drive or Dropbox, and have someone in-house do the actual data validation and database updates.
Think about all of the things you will not need if you reduce staff in-house. Consider such infrastructure items as parking, paid vacations and coverage for absences, office space, equipment, and furnishings, and risk reduction through decreasing the number of people you employ.
Make a list of these items and start planning any necessary action items, such as notifying your risk manager, ending office leases or repurposing the space, and streamlining HR services for your remaining employees.
Sit back and relax – this step will be completed by the BPO(s) you are considering and described in their contract proposal(s).
Your involvement: Answering any questions that arise, so each BPO can give you the best solution for your organization’s unique needs.
BPOs will look at your project from the standpoint of seamlessly performing your work within the operational framework of your business, and theirs.
Great BPOs will also look at all of the current and potential automation needs to perform the work securely and accurately, and build the best IT-related services into the solution.
You should expect each BPO proposal to contain a thorough listing of the services to be provided. Detailed notes should be included that describe the processes that are and are not included in the proposal.
They will also likely give you a quick list of additional services you may wish to consider now or in the future.
Top BPO companies will assign your dedicated project manager at some point in the process.
This outsourcing management expert should be involved from the beginning, and fully knowledgeable about your firm’s unique characteristics and the components of your proposed outsourcing project.
You may be introduced to them right away when you first make contact with the BPO, but you should definitely meet them before the contract is signed.
For a discussion of the role of the project manager in the delivery of various BPO processes, browse our outsourcing services articles and look for the “project manager” section.
When you have reviewed the proposals you have received and chosen the best BPO for your organization, it is time to sign and execute the contract.
Once this is complete, the real work begins for your BPO provider.
Soon after the contract is signed, your BPO should send you an implementation plan. Your project manager/outsourcing management expert will go over the plan with you and – with your input – finalize the transition plan.
A top BPO will document the expected outcomes for each of your deliverables in detail.
Typical process maps include frequency of the work, turnaround times, daily deadlines and other unique characteristics of the project, and procedures for handling workload fluctuations.
The process map should also include appropriate metrics to be monitored and analytics reporting the BPO will use to optimize your project.
Your implementation plan will include a list of important events during the transition process. These activities should be broken into small milestones.
For example, instead of having a due date for “Milestone 4: Assign, orient, and train BPO workers for your project”, the milestones for staffing may look like this:
Scheduling the final implementation and go-live for your project is critical.
The day your BPO takes over your processes completely and your outsourcing project goes live should be chosen with care and scheduled.
For most companies, there are a lot of key projects and initiatives going on at any given time. The trick is to schedule interim milestone due dates to coincide with your company’s major events.
Your project manager will work with you to be sure an important step in the outsourcing management process does not happen on the same day your senior leadership goes on a management retreat, or the same week you have open house events for customers and suppliers.
If needed, your BPO will staff up be sure they can provide workers without interruption.
Top BPOs allow you to conduct remote interviews with the BPO workers assigned to your project, and approve/reject each team member.
Your BPO will need the following information to thoroughly train your project team:
Once the BPO has this information, they will orient and train their workers by the deadline
Your BPO will conduct all IT activities necessary to have the systems in place to receive information from you and to return completed deliverables.
If they will log into your existing system, they will get the necessary login credentials and do all of the set up and testing to be sure they are ready for the go-live date.
Top BPOs will encourage you to run parallel systems: Your in-house staff complete the tasks as usual, while the BPO staff complete the same tasks.
By beginning to provide services ahead of the go-live date, the BPO can test all of the systems and personnel training to be sure your project can hit the ground running – with reliable, accurate processing.
During the testing period, the BPO may suggest slight changes in the way your outsourced functions are handled to optimize the success of your project.
When you and your BPO are satisfied that all systems are in place and tested, your project is ready to go live.
Your BPO will take over the outsourced processes completely on go-live day, and provide all of the contracted services.
A few days after go-live, a meeting will be scheduled with you by your project manager to sign off on the implementation and begin full service delivery.
When the implementation is complete, your BPO will conduct ongoing quality control testing, performance monitoring, and process improvement activities.
Your project manager will give you periodic status reports, and recommend tweaks to the process where appropriate.
These activities help the BPO ensure that they provide the best possible service, with the best possible quality outcomes.
With over 15 years of full-service outsourcing experience, our founders are happy to answer any questions you have.
Murthy and Suresh can show you the value and opportunity that come with expert outsourcing management and support you can expect from LOGIN SERVICES™, and they would be happy to brainstorm with you about your current needs and future plans.
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