By: Vivek Naidu, Vice President -Information Management Kodak Alaris India
Have business process outsourcing (BPO) firms and service bureaus reached a make-or-break moment? If you listen to leading analysts, all signs point to “yes.”
Over the last two decades, outsourcing has revolutionized the way enterprises approach a range of functions, from document scanning to human resources to IT services. These relationships aren’t likely to end any time soon. In fact, outsourcing has become the new way of doing business. As industries face digital disruption, businesses will increasingly rely on their outsourcing partners to help them navigate this changing world.
More companies across industries are moving to cloud, mobile and similar technologies, and tools for managing big data are helping with analytics. With these changes comes the ability to capture more information electronically. In addition, more digital natives are entering the workforce. They want to interact with organizations digitally. With this type of transformation, communication between companies and customers is becoming multifaceted. All of this means companies need to change the way they interact with customers and manage the different forms of data entering their organization. As a result, it’s no longer enough for a BPO or service bureau to only manage paper processes. If these service providers are sticking to paper-based challenges alone, they’re not able to meet the complete requirements of their customers, which includes helping them navigate digital transformation. Having said that, although we say paper is declining, the paper challenge is not gone yet completely.Offering innovative services is key during this period of digital disruption.
Enter End-to-end Solutions
It’s no longer enough to offer an isolated service or take on unwanted, labour-intensive tasks. Today, businesses want strategic partners that can streamline entire processes. For example, a BPO that once focused on inputting invoices for a client now manages an entire accounts payable workflow. Leaving these processes to the professionals frees up the business to focus on its core mission—driving value and innovation.
Tapping into Analytics
Business analytics is another fast-growing arena. Market research firm Technavio predicts that the global BPO business analytics market will grow at a CAGR of 37.4 percent between 2016 and 2020. Increased regulatory compliance pressures and a focus on operational efficiency are driving the demand.
BPOs and service bureaus have always competed on their ability to complete processes faster and cheaper. Even as BPOs move into more strategic, consultative roles with their customers, speed and efficiency are still job one. Increasingly, leaders are turning to intelligent automation to give them an edge. Workflow automation helps outsourcing providers stay competitive in a landscape being reshaped by digital transformation.
This is particularly the case when it comes to the paper processes that—even in a digital-first world—remain the foundation of many outsourcing operations. In such a fast-paced environment, automating as many manual processes as possible is crucial. In addition to document preparation and scanning tasks, advanced information management technology such as scanners and software can speed up data extraction and classification, ultimately automating full workflows from start to finish. Kodak Alaris scanners help improve efficiency by creating high-quality images that can be easily processed via optical character recognition or barcode readers. As a result, BPOs and service bureaus automate processes by extracting data from scanned images. In a perfect world, service providers would have 100 percent of these images go through data extraction processes without being touched by a human. But most of the time, that rate is less than 50 percent because certain fields are not correctly OCR’ed or barcodes aren’t read correctly. Then a human has to go in and review the page and either verify or correct it.
High-quality information management solutions not only help BPOs and service bureaus deliver on their promise of speed, but they also free up internal resources to pursue new revenue-driving service offerings.