Many people connect business process outsourcing (BPO) with its roots in call centers abroad. But since the 1980s, BPO has dramatically expanded, as companies see the benefit in reducing costs, improving efficiency and customer service, and enabling high growth while working with limited resources. Business process outsourcing, now a $26 billion industry, has expanded to include AP automation, mailroom outsourcing, document scanning, HR recruiting, IT services, and more. Here’s how the industry has grown over the last four decades:
BPO didn’t start with call centers, it was also used for data entry
Outsourcing call centers to foreign markets started predominantly in the early 1990s, when U.S. companies reduced labor costs by outsourcing to countries such as India and the Philippines. What is less known, however, is the story of how BPO was utilized in the 80s to help with data entry.
As early as 1988, outsourced data entry was being provided to law firms, microfilming companies, and businesses as a way to mitigate costs. At the forefront of this market shift, the founders of Digiscribe were providing offshore data entry services to U.S. based firms and establishing long-term relationships with BPO providers throughout the world.
Since then, the founders have remained on the cutting edge of digital technology and in 2001, they founded Digiscribe, a document processing outsourcing company tailoring AP processing, digital mailroom outsourcing, and other digital transformation solutions to help companies meet market demands in a cost effective way.
How the Internet Revolutionized BPO
As with most other industries, the internet was a game changer for BPO. It expanded the possibilities for BPO, enabling companies to outsource IT services, accounting, transcription, translation, mailrooms, AP processing, and many other processes that are critical to day-to-day operations.
While the modern-day internet dates back to 1983, digital transformation, or the changing of business and organization activities, processes, and capabilities from an analog backbone to digital, really started in the 1990s. Information and communication moved from physical paper to digital formats. From microfilm to floppy disks to CDs to the cloud, the internet has dramatically changed how companies capture, process, share, and store data. Since then, companies have been gaining a competitive advantage, reducing costs and improving customer service by outsourcing operations that are not central to their core offerings by partnering with business process outsourcing companies.
How companies use business process outsourcing today
From front-end customer service to back-end operations, today’s processes are being automated and outsourced across multiple departments and in companies of all sizes. BPO has made running a business easier, helped mitigate risk, increase quality assurance, reduce storage and operational costs, streamlined compliance efforts, and more. In fact, in a recent survey, 59% of business executives globally said they rely on outsourcing services to reduce costs.
For example, to meet tight turnaround times, reduce costs, and gain a competitive advantage, many companies are taking advantage of digital mailroom outsourcing to include receipt, digitization, processing, management, and e-storage of critical transactional documents.
A recent study on accounts payable firms found that best-in-class firms spend only $2.87 processing each invoice, compared to competitors who spend on average of $15.38. To decrease this huge discrepancy in pricing, many firms have outsourced AP processing to expedite review, approval, and processing, taking 3-5 days down to 24-48 hours.
The future of BPO
BPO in the future includes not only tasks that can be automated, but also highly technical operations. One area of growth is knowledge process outsourcing (KPO), a subset of BPO, which requires highly specialized expertise, in areas such as digital marketing, healthcare, and banking.
Today, leveraging business process outsourcing enables companies to outsource and optimize business critical tasks, so that they can focus on their core competencies. There are many companies, such as Digiscribe, who can tailor specific BPO services to your needs fitting into and improving your current process. To learn more about how to find a BPO service click here or call 888.294.1965 to speak to a Digiscribe specialist.