Enterprises may consider business process outsourcing (BPO) as a means of reducing costs, improving efficiency, and gaining immediate access to specialized talent. It’s not uncommon for large enterprises to outsource key back and front office functions, like customer service or finance and accounting, to realize these benefits.
Interestingly, just as these benefits can be realized through services, enterprises may also see cost reduction, productivity gains, and process improvement with the help of robotic process automation (RPA). In some cases, RPA can complement a BPO initiative, while in others, digital RPA bots may act as an alternative to service-based BPO.
Thus, in this article, we will explore the potential of combining RPA and BPO – including its benefits to enterprises engaging in outsourcing and the outsourcing services providers themselves.
BPO – Outsourcing business processes to a 3rd party
Business process outsourcing (BPO) mainly concentrates on supplying back-end business tasks to organizations, aiding in the cost- and time-saving of operations. The procedures that make up these back-end operations include those in human resources, finance, advertising, and customer relationship management.
A retailer may, for example, depend on a BPO to maintain item catalogues, price data, and stock levels, making sure that clients have easy access to the latest details. While concentrating on their main advantages and long-term objectives, such collaborations enable organizations to boost productivity, reduce expenses and simplify processes.
BPOs may offer both back-office and front-office services. For example, consider a BPO services provider being engaged by healthcare providers to manage registration and set up appointments – over the phone. For the service provider’s clients, this guarantees a quick and well-organized procedure, while also delivering exceptional service to their customers.
Benefits of BPO
- Enhanced service delivery (Quality and speed): Since BPO service providers specialize in specific business functions, they have the resources and expertise to deliver exceptional services at scale. Moreover, the BPO provider will oversee training, onboarding, upskilling, internal IT and HR management, etc. This means enterprises that hire experienced BPO providers can expect fast and efficient services for a reasonable investment.
- Reduced Operating costs: Some BPO providers offer offshore and nearshore services, which helps them reduce labor costs by hiring employees in areas with a lower cost of living, resulting in lower service costs. Additionally, enterprises will also save on recruiting, onboarding, training, and HR management costs, further reducing their expenses.
- Scalability: When you work with a BPO provider, you’ll have the flexibility to scale your operations without having to permanently increase your headcount. This proves invaluable to many enterprises.
- Enhanced customer experience (CX): Companies can concentrate on their primary expertise and tactical goals by exporting extraneous operations to technical experts. Technical experts have the knowledge, experience, and infrastructure to handle specific operations more effectively than the company itself.
- Risk Mitigation: Employing external contractors to handle some of your business operations can reduce the potential risks involved. Contractors can use industry guidelines to mitigate vulnerabilities since they have technical expertise in handling such tasks.
RPA – Outsourcing business processes to digital workers
Robotic process automation possesses a unique advantage over traditional systems integration that makes it a strong contender for BPO – namely, the existence of RPA bots. These bots can mimic human actions, such as scrolling, clicks, copy-pasting, typing responses, and more. Thus, RPA can be deployed independently – or in combination with other technologies – to perform routine tasks without human intervention.
For example, a combination of RPA with a chatbot can deliver a self-service customer experience for simple queries. An RPA bot can also automate call routing to connect customers with more complex queries to human agents. These “digital workers” can assume the role of business process outsourcing.
Additionally, RPA bots can deliver value to business process outsourcing services providers by helping them manage demand better. These RPA bots can work alongside human workers to improve service delivery and efficiency. For example, a customer service provider might use an RPA bot similar to the one we mentioned above to help its team manage larger contact volumes.
Thus, RPA can benefit both enterprises and third-party service providers. In some cases, it can act as a business process outsourcing service, while in others, it can augment BPO services.
RPA or BPO? Which is better for you?
Ultimately, the effectiveness of RPA and BPO varies across business functions and processes. Some processes, such as those that are repeatable, rule-based, and entail a large volume of actions, are primed for automation. However, other processes – such as handling complex customer queries – are better managed by human services, and thus BPO is the superior choice.
Businesses must carefully assess their needs, processes, business goals, and regulatory requirements when deciding between them. Alternatively, you might want to consider combining the two…
RPA BPO – Combine RPA and BPO for maximum output
Ultimately, both BPO and RPA boost productivity by reducing the amount of work an organisation has, leading to productivity gains and improved efficiency. Using RPA in BPO has emerged as the new standard across almost all sectors, including healthcare, telecommunications, real estate, finance and banking, and more.
However, many businesses – including those that outsource and BPO services providers themselves – have yet to realize the potential of combining BPO with RPA. Augmenting your human workforce with a digital one can help you improve productivity, reduce stress on employees, and manage surges in demand.