Finally! BPM is Being Used to Revolutionize BPO (Part 1)

In my role, I get the opportunity to visit with the world’s largest BPO service providers (BPOs).  During these visits, I am often astounded on how few BPOs leverage the full power of Business Process Management to differentiate and provision service offerings as a competitive advantage.  

However, recently I have seen a drastic change in the BPO industry.  All of a sudden there is this craze for BPM.  They all musthave it.  I have been asking my clients why BPM now?  Why haven’t you adopted it sooner?  The general answer to this question is that due to the economic downturn service receivers are demanding new ways to collaborate with BPOs more tightly; especially service receivers that are from the financial services and insurance industry.  Firms from these industries have gotten hit hard, they have to meet the demands of new government regulations, and they have few opportunities (if any) to mess up or take on more risk.  For many service receivers the stakes have never been higher. Hence, BPOs are seeking a new type of technology that can revolutionize its BPO service models for their customers.  It just so happens that the only software that can pull this off is BPM. So, in a three part series, I am going to share with you the three main reasons why BPOs are jazzed about BPM.  In short, BPM is enabling BPOs to offer a new value proposition based on trust.  The three ingredients needed to offer service receivers trust is visibility, transparency and control. In this blog entry I briefly define what I mean by visibility.  At the most basic level visibility entails enabling the BPO  to leverage graphical, business-friendly tools to define, document, and translate the business policies and procedures that are required to meet its customers’ outsourcing objectives. In the past, I have attended project transition meetings.  Many times, during these meetings,  I thought I somehow got in a time machine and have gone back to 1985 because often the service provider captures and documents the rules and processes by taping butcher paper to the walls of a conference room and having all day workshops where they draw out the business procedures.  Once they come to agreement on the workflows they roll up the paper and go home to code the procedural logic to conduct the work. Well, BPM brings us back to the 21st century.  With BPM, BPO providers are offering visibility to their service receivers by:

  • Using drag and drop modeling tools to visually capture, define, and communicate outsourcing objectives in real-time with their customers
  • Using English-based rule forms to write business logic and SLA rules so that all constituents can visibly see and understand the business logic that dictates the performance requirements that assures the BPO project will be a success…no longer are business rules hidden in code never to be seen again.
  • Having the system auto generate the documentation of the BPO service operation being performed  so that the service provider and receiver can visibly review at anytime all of the rules, processes, KPIs, etc. that run the operations so they can continuously improve how the work is being processed.

Next time I will discuss what transparency means in the realm of BPM for BPO.  Meanwhile, blog me back.  Are you using BPM to manage outsourcing?  What is your opinion about what I wrote?  Do you believe BPM is a new genre of software that is revolutionizing the BPO industry?